Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I don't know how it happened.
I am thankful for the young lady she is growing into.
And I am even more thankful for God's grace as I continue to figure out how best to raise her up as she refuses to stop getting older.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


 This sweet girl is a serious thinker.
 She also has a silly side.
 She is compassionate,
 a chatter box,
 a happy little one,
and very animated.
She makes building a tower out of blocks into a time of worship for this momma as I am grateful to God for the gift of her.  I can't believe how much she is growing and how different she is than just four short months ago!  Unbelievable.  Truly the difference a family can make in the life of a child is so evident in my baby girl and I am the luckiest momma in the world to have her as mine.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Just a Packing..and Packing..and Packing

 This moving thing is so much work.  Add in two babies, a hubby, and a teen to guide through the process as well and you might just have a nervous breakdown.  I am being a bit dramatic of course, but it is some serious work and a big mess.  We are trying to have some fun together along the way though and we are thrilled, excited, over joyed to get settled in our new life.
 This little lady of mine LOVES helping her momma.  It is usually a whole lot harder to let her help than to just do it myself, but she enjoys being in my shadow right next to me so I have tried to be very, very patient with her.  She loves moving boxes, sitting in boxes, stuffing newspaper in boxes, and playing with the peanuts.  Jillian usually carries the peanuts around dropping them everywhere so little Mei Mei can be found following her shouting "NO Jill!  Momma PEE (aka peanuts) Jill!"  Anna's language skills are exploding.  She is saying lots and lots of words and is definitely a chatter box.  She is constantly, constantly telling on her sister Jill. She regularly reports to momma all that Jillian is up to and where she is currently located.  I love that she is so interested in keeping an eye on her big sis. 
I have been telling the girls as we have been packing that we are getting a new house.  Well, until last Wednesday when we started loading up a truck I am not sure that Jillian had any understanding.  When she saw the boys all here and the fridge from the basement going up the stairs, she began to understand that something was up.  She quietly escaped down the other staircase and came up behind the boys watching their every move.  I am praying that God is preparing her heart for this move as she is the one who is going to be most out of sorts with all the change.  I know God's got complete control of this and I am resting in knowing He has everything planned.  Friday night is the biggest loading party with the 26 ft. truck coming then.  We need some serious help and lots of prayers as we are about to turn these babies' lives upside down.  They have experienced so much loss in their short little lives already and I pray they will transition smoothly.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Our Sheep

Our sheep, the youth that we have been blessed to minister to, are just about the most amazing kids I have ever known.  I love them deeply and they love me, and my sweet babies, so well.  They are a HUGE part of our lives.  In fact, there aren't many days that go by that at least a few of them aren't sitting in our living room or around our table.  Saying goodbye to them..This part of leaving this place in our lives is HARD.  We are excited to go into the future and know that we are in God's will, but OH we love these kids and the thought of not seeing them every week is enough to make me want to cry my eyes out.  They love my babies.  Oh they love my babies.
 They saw our Jillian at 15 pounds, neglected, broken, sick, and loved her anyway.  They have pursued her with a relentless passion doing all that they could to connect with her.  They have modeled Christ's love to her, learned her sign language, wrestled with her, and prayed for her healing.  She is a tough one to connect with, but my sheep they have, without counting the cost, given completely of themselves to love her.
 Many, many of these beautiful kids have given to our fundraising efforts and have actually been a part of bringing these treasures home to our fold.  They have volunteered for and ministered to our family again and again for the cause of the orphan.  These two treasures, our daughters, have been loved well by our sheep and this momma is touched again and again as I watch these kids interact with my girls.  I am grateful to them for all that they have done to help heal the hearts of my babies by loving them with a Christ like love that is just so beautiful and pure.
Honestly, I know that I am the one who was supposed to "give" something to these kids, but truly they have done so much more for me than I could ever do for them.  They have touched the deepest places of my heart.  They have shown me what it is to live out your faith and how to love others even when it is hard.  They each have changed a little piece of me for the better.  I now am leaving this place changed because of them and leaving them just makes me sad, but I know that God has great plans for where we are going.  I am doing my best to keep my watery eyes on the road ahead, but giving thanks for the many, many that God has given to love us as we have walked this road we are leaving behind.  I never dreamed I would experience the richness of love that God has allowed us to feel as we have ministered to these kids.  I am grateful to Him for it and I rest in knowing that He has the future in His hands.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Enjoying My Babies

I have had my babies all to myself this week as Daddy and Big Sis have been on a mission trip.  I was worried that it may be really hard having both of them by myself for a whole week, but it has been a joy.  There have been very few moments that I haven't been really thankful to have this time with them to myself.  Of course, I miss Daddy and Sis.  I am glad they will be pulling in soon, but with only the three of us we have been able to take things slow and enjoy ourselves.  There has been less mess to clean up, less laundry to do, and less food to make as only three of us just require less.  I also have been able to do whatever I want when I want because these two are too little to protest too awful much.  This morning we went to the riverfront area to visit (you guessed it-water) the splash fountain and hang at the park there.  It was a beautiful morning and I had plenty of time to give thanks for these two amazing girls as I watched them enjoying just being.  I know I say this far too often, but truly, truly I am grateful to God today for giving these treasures to me.  They have taught me so much about true joy and real happiness. 
 You can just see her genuine smile through the water.
Oh My heart I love this kid!
She would scream with the biggest delight each time the water would turn on.
 Anna was not feeling the love of the water right away.
Isn't she so cute?
 This one would splash for hours.
 Look at that it came on again!
 I'm sticking close to mom because it is safer here, but when she asks me to smile..I'm going to look away because that is so funny.
 She just sat over watching the water a bit.
How this momma wishes will all her heart that I could read her mind.
 By the end, Anna decided this was pretty fun too.
She was up and running as fast as she could away from the water when it turned on because she did not want to be caught in.
 A little playing at the park always makes her smile.
My babies I love you more each day!
What a beautiful week of memories we have had as we have done a whole lot of nothing.  It is so good to be with you and I cherish you both beyond words.

Friday, July 19, 2013

We LOVE the Pool

Have I ever mentioned we LOVE the pool?
I am pretty sure I have, but it can't really be said enough.
Water play is number one in our book.
My babies' tans can testify to the amount of time we spend outside.
I love watching them in the water.
They are so happy.
My Jillian seems to come alive in the water!
I just can't get enough of her!
  This little sweetie tries so hard to swim just like her big sis!
Her arms are so short that she can't quite crawl through the water though.
The smiles.
I never get tired of the big, genuine smiles that my girls display the whole time we are swimming.
Truly, it is worth the $3.50 because watching Jillian in the water is priceless.
 I bought this swimsuit for Anna long before I held her in my arms. 
I dreamed of her wearing it many months before she was home.
She is just as cute in it as I imagined she would be.
I could eat her up with those chubby little toddler legs.
This little one is growing up so fast and  she has no fear.
Her face goes in the water and she loves it!
What a different baby she is than the one that I was handed two years ago.
I praise God for her and truly love watching her enjoying herself so much!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Her First Time Out

This morning little miss decided to throw her raisins on the floor.  Momma promptly asked that she  pick up said raisins and not throw them on the floor again. Mei Mei was quick to say "No" and go about her business.  To which Momma replied, you are not obeying momma.  I asked you to pick up your raisins.  We do not throw raisins on the floor.  You can pick up your raisins or sit in time out.  (At this point, I totally expected her to pick up the raisins.  I never thought she would sit in time out.  She has never had a time out before as we are mostly just redirecting her and giving her time ins because of bonding.)  Well, little miss marched her self to the corner (where she has seen our sweet Jillian serve a few time outs) and sat right down with a smile on her face.  She even moved the little toy chair out of the corner that was taking up space there before sitting on the floor with a sheepish grin.  I had to look away because I was laughing so hard at her and that is not the best disciple mind set.  I let her serve her time out and then gathered my best stern face to discuss her trouble with her.

She then decided that she would obey momma and go pick up those pesky raisins, but she did it with a smile on her face.  She is full of ornery this one.  She has a strong will and a strong sense of wanting what she wants.  She obeys in her time under her terms so parenting her is quite an adventure, but I love every minute.  I think she will be no stranger to the corner.  I hope the new house has a good time-in spot.  I think we are going to be needing it.

Just a Packing..

 Our house is filling up with a lot of these..
and so the girls are doing a lot of this..
 and this..
 and since it has been so hot outside I am kinda thankful for this indoor, air conditioned entertainment.  We have so much stuff so I think this box climbing thing could keep them busy for hours on end.  We are excited  for this move and hoping to nail down a rental next week when we visit Cedar Rapids again.  Until then, we pack knowing that God has the perfect plan and home in mind for us. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Oh My Sweet Anna Mei

My Jillian has very few things that provide her true joy.  Even if she has been to an environment and enjoyed being there one time, the next time we go she may see, smell, or hear something that brings her great anxiety and in turn causes her to not be able to engage in anything she has enjoyed there in the past.  This is one of the things about her that is so heartbreaking for this momma.  She battles intense fear and while she used to just shut down and scream I am thankful that she can now communicate and work through it, but she is almost never able to let that anxiety go and truly enjoy herself.  It breaks my heart and at the same time it makes the times that she is able to experience true joy all the more miraculous.  We definitely had one of those times this morning.  I took the girls to the baby pool play area in a nearby town.  It was the first time this season that we have visited and Oh My Word did Jillian LOVE being there.  We were there alone for the first twenty minutes which was perfect for her so that she could acclimate to her surroundings and get settled before the crowd came.  When other children came in to play, Jillian was well on her way to being fully connected even in this newer environment.  She watched all the other children around her and imitated (another miraculous feat for her) all their movements.  Soon, she was jumping off the side into my arms like the other children, floating on her back, and trying with all her might to figure out how those kids could swim underwater.  My heart was full to watch her.  She smiled. She signed. She imitated.  She dumped cups of water on the other children (her form of playing a game with them).  She even waved to me from across the pool when I was getting Anna Mei a drink from the water bottle.  She looked me right in the eye and waved at me as if to say look at me mom!

And then, we had to leave.  She puckered a bit and obediently put on her own shoes, walked out to the car holding my hand, and got into her car seat.  She didn't have a fit or a meltdown, but sweet thing was very, very sad.  (If we hadn't already been there for two hours, I would have never left, but it was closing soon and we had to eat lunch.)  She made it home though she looked just pitiful in the backseat.  Despite my assuring her that we would go back again (though there is never any guarantee that she won't be terrified of something when we head back), she was filled with some serious sadness.  When we got home and got her wet clothes off, she sobbed.  Truly sobbed.  It broke my heart.  She signed for me to rock her and so I sat on her bed with her naked little diapered self wrapped in her weighted blanket like a newborn and I rocked her against my chest.  It is during these times when she is able to let me intimately comfort her that I give abundant thanks to God for her healing because it took us so long to get here.  I rocked her and sang to her and counted 1..2..3 breaths while she sobbed heartbroken.  I told her I knew how sad she was feeling.  I wiped her nose and the tears away from her eyes.  I kissed her head and I just took time to love her.

I am flying solo today and so Anna Mei was on the bed with us the whole time.  She was so concerned for Jillian sitting next to me taking in this whole scene.  Then sweet, compassionate little baby girl, who has only known this momma and her dear sister-who at this moment was completely heartbroken-for less than three months, took a kleenex and began to wipe away Jillian's tears.  Then she kissed Jillian's sweet head just as she had seen momma do.  She patted her back and kept wiping and kissing.  And then, this momma sobbed herself because this beautiful, little child whom we have only had three months is just the most caring and compassionate little being.  I think all the time that God has given Anna Mei to us to care for Jillian when we physically can't any longer.  I literally marvel at His plan and how beautiful Anna's heart is.  She has every reason to be shut down, bitter, and heartless.  Yet, she has so much love and gives it so freely.  I am amazed at her and amazed at her capacity to love us.

I continually am reminding myself that I could have missed this.  I could have missed this beautiful moment (honestly one of the most beautiful I have ever experienced in my life) had I not said yes to God's plan and brought these babies home.  Today, I just want to bring home more and clearly God is saying wait.  With the move and our new job it seems that we may be in a season of waiting to see where and how God will bring us our next treasure.  Waiting is hard for this momma as I know there are so many children who need a family, but this is where God has us and I know His timing is perfect.  So, in the waiting I will praise Him for the two amazing treasures He has allowed us to add to our family and that I get to be the one to hold them in my arms, wipe away their tears, fold their hands in prayer, and teach them His ways.  Truly, many days I think this is just simply too good because y'all it is too good!  I am beyond blessed to be walking here and that God has filled me with such a purpose for Him. 

Monday, July 15, 2013


Just eleven weeks ago, this little treasure met her daddy for the first time.
She didn't know the meaning of the word before then.
She didn't understand the love behind it or all that having a Daddy means.
These days, just eleven short weeks later, she begs to talk to her daddy on the phone all day long.
She loves to hear his voice and report about her day.
She loves to call out Dadeeee in the loudest voice possible while running to him when he comes through the door at lunch time.  She watches him from the window while he mows the lawn blowing kisses and screaming Dadeeee the entire time he works.

It has been so natural for her to accept her Daddy's love because God created us to be in families.  God set our very hearts to respond to the love of a mother and father.  Particularly a father who mirrors a love like His own.  I hope I never get over the gut wrenching tears that I cried the first time I heard Anna Mei call for her Daddy.  I hope I never forget that while Anna is home with a Godly man to love her like Christ and call her daughter there are millions more least of these waiting..waiting for just one momma and one daddy to say yes to bringing them home.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Iowa Here We Come

Sorry for the impersonal blog post to share our family news with you, but as much as I wish I could tell each and everyone of you in person the next month will likely be crazy for us.  The Lord has called us on in ministry and today Sean accepted a new position with Cedar Valley Bible Church in Cedar Rapids, IA.  We have made several trips over the last few weeks and met with everyone.  It seems that this is a perfect fit for our family and we are so excited to face new challenges as God leads us on to the next phase of our lives.  At the same time, we are so sad to leave you all and thank you so much for your love, support, and prayers over the last six years (or even longer for some of you) here at Grace.  We love you, each and every one of you, and are grateful to God for the role that you have each played in our lives.  We have shared much with you over the years and we are so sad to think that we have to say goodbye though we are sure this is God's will for us.  We appreciate your prayers in the next month as we wrap up here and transition to a completely new home.  We are hoping to be around for another month at least and hope to see as many of you as possible to say a proper goodbye. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

So Much to Share..

I have so much to share, but nothing that I can say.  It has been over a week since I last posted and it may be a few more before I can really come up with the words for all that is happening in our lives.  It is a beautiful season for us and God is at work in mighty ways.  I woke this morning to read a beautiful post from Babe of my Heart.  In light of my silence, I will share this beautiful post with you hoping that it will touch your heart as much as it has touched mine.  I am grateful this morning for believers who share their journeys with me as they minister to me so much.  Blessings to you today!