Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Monday, August 26, 2013

Chocolate Goodness

This little lady is my shadow.  She does everything that I do.  Anytime that I am cooking, you can find her perched up on the counter right next to me.  She is so much like me.  She is crazy verbal, loves people, loves to be in the center of everything, loves to eat, and did I mention she is crazy verbal?!  Sometimes she seriously exhausts me and it makes me think that I must really tire my sweet hubby and darling daughters who are not at all as verbal as I am.  I love this lady to bits and couldn't resist getting these early morning pictures of her making some yummy chocolate cake with me.
 Happy, happy girl!
 She needed two spoons for this stuff!
 Yum! Yum!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Our Morning..

We made scrambled eggs together.  I even got Jillian to touch the shredded cheese and add it to the bowl.  I was chuckling because as I was taking the pictures I said without even thinking "say cheese".  I saw Jillian signing cheese and because I didn't think about what I said, I thought why is she signing cheese.  Then I remembered I had said "say cheese" as I was taking the picture.  You can see that Jillian is looking right at me and Anna is the one choosing to ignore the fact that I am trying to get a photo.  These two have to tag team I tell you!

We got some new water color paints and Anna enjoyed painting very. very. much!
 Look at this beautiful smile!
Her hair is growing and she even asked to wear a hairbow.  Isn't she just darling?  You got to love a beautiful baby whose eyes disappear when they smile.  She is a treasure this girl! 

Who Was With Her Then

My precious four year old had a major meltdown this morning.  It lasted nearly two and half hours and I had to call Daddy for reinforcement as my littlest was scared out of her wits watching her sis so sad.  I have to admit it was exhausting working through this one.  I often think about how in the world I will take care of this precious child as she ages and gets bigger.  I often contemplate just how inadequate I am for this job and just how crazy it is for me to think I can do more (though it doesn't discourage me from praying to do more).  This morning though I was just overcome with sadness as I was remembering the faces of those precious children from Annie's post yesterday.  Those faces in Annie's photos live in one of the very places that my daughters lived.  And so all I could think this morning was who was with my precious Jillian when I wasn't?  Who was it that held her flailing little body while the sensory craziness passed?  Who sang to her?  Who reassured her that she was safe and that she was loved?  The truth is there was probably no one to do those things while she waited for us and typing those words, with those fresh images of this morning still raw in my heart, brings tears to my eyes because God never intended for these babies to be alone.  Parenting my special treasure is the hardest thing I have ever been called to do and yet I would do it again and again if it meant I would receive the blessing of her.  She popped right up after the crazy passed and has gone about the day as if nothing happened.  For me, the thought..Who was with her then? seared in my heart after those two and half long hours this morning and leaves me praying that God would use me more because children are meant to have a family alongside them.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bawling My Eyes Out

After a beautiful morning with my precious littles making scrambled eggs, experimenting with watercolor paints, and playing at yet another beautiful new park here in our new city, I was planning on sharing a post about our amazing and wonderful little life.  Then I opened my blogs and saw this .  (Just click over and look for yourself.)  These faces haunt me at night.  The faces of girls and boys as valuable to the Lord as my beautiful littles with no hope of ever having a morning with a momma cooking, painting, and playing.  How do I even begin to let go of the deep sorrow I have over the thought of just one child living this life of hopelessness?  I don't have all the answers.  In fact, I don't have many at all as I have been in the throws of doing hard with my newest little treasure as we continue to graft her in to our family, but I know that God has given me such a tremendous burden for these children.  I honestly feel shame that I sat for so long doing nothing about the orphan crisis.  I praise God today for breaking my heart for these children as I see Him in each of them.  I also praise God for His promises and rest in knowing that He has a plan for each and every valuable life He creates.  Trusting Him in that today!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The First Weekend of Our New Life..

The first weekend of our new life..
was wonderful!  
I missed having daddy here the last week with us so we were all super happy to be together enjoying the last few lazy days of sunshiny summer.  The splash pad was calling our name by Saturday night as Em and I spent the entire day Saturday shopping at the mecca mall in IA city.  We needed some rest and relaxation after the marathon school shopping trip.
 The free splash pads all over the city are one of my favorite things about our new home.  Anna loves to point to the water and ask "where did it go?" when it turns off.
 Both of the girls run to the sensor to turn it on again when it turns off. 
 They race to see who can get there first.
 The playground is close to the water and the girls enjoy playing there too.
 It always brings big smiles.
 Emily LOVES the park too.
(OK so this may be an exaggeration, but she tolerates it well.)
Daddy ran the trails in the park while we played.  Then Sunday, we enjoyed our first worship at CVBC.  We have felt so loved and welcomed by this special group of people who we are lucky enough to begin serving alongside.  It has been a great week and we are so thrilled to be settled and get started.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Trip to DQ

My girls are so happy here.  I was trying to be optimistic about this move in the days leading up to it.  I have done my best to prepare these ladies by talking about our new home and using pictures and praying..lots of praying, but I never dreamed Jillian would be so happy so fast.  My word she has grown so much in the last two years.  It is hard to believe, even though the images of her first fifteen months with us are deeply imbedded in my heart, that this is the same child who came home with us from China.  Would you just look at Jillian clapping and smiling?  We walked in the wagon to the neighborhood DQ.  Jill would NOT eat any ice cream, but enjoyed teasing me.  She would open her mouth just until a bite got close and then she would close it up.  Anna Mei on the other hand ate lots and lots of brownie delight.  She was delighted with our evening activities and the hot fudge.
 I made Em pose because now I have proof that she is indeed here with us too.  She didn't want to, but a mother's I say so is very powerful some days.  She got to play a little 3 on 3 with her daddy, some of her new bball teammates, and her coach informally today.  It was great for her, but left her pretty tired because after an hour of bball, she had two hours of volleyball to practice.  Good times!  She is so busy.  This high school schedule is very, very full.  I suppose we will adjust.
Here is a picture of my little sweetie sporting some Iowa goodness.  She is growing up so much!  Notice Jillian in the back of the cart.  She is indeed already even comfortable enough to be shopping here.  I never dreamed she would adjust so quickly.  I am visiting the school program at the end of next week for her.  I need wisdom..lots of wisdom.   This is one special treasure I have and I really need God's guidance in deciding what is best for her as far as schooling goes. Until then, I am enjoying my babies and settling into this new life with JOY! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Time Out on 32nd Street

 We had out first time out here at 32nd street.
Our Jillian just loves to watch her beans from her bin drop on the hardwood.
It brings her great joy and causes momma much duress.
Of course, Anna had to get her two cents in and sounds just like momma scolding her big sis saying "No No Jill. Beans!".  Look at those little lips and her momma stance.  
Then, Anna Mei began to feel compassion and joined Jillian in the corner just for the heck of it.
Seriously, they are too too cute!
My girls are so happy here.
Jillian is roaming around and comfortable as can be here.  Truly, I never dreamed she would have such an easy time in a new place. Their adjustment has been a dream!
Anna Mei loves to cook with Momma in our new kitchen and is thrilled to help carry things to the table for dinner.  She is proud as a peacock and reports to daddy all that she has done when he gets home.

Em is doing great too, but is not interested in posing for any pictures.  The nerve of a teenager!  Really very thankful that God has gone before us here and for all that my girls are experiencing.

Friday, August 9, 2013

God's Miraculous Provision

I wish with all my heart that I could record every detail of the last week.  It has been so good in so many ways, but I know that I will never do it justice or remember all that has been on my heart.  We had an amazing crew of friends who came on Friday in Pekin to pack us up and send us off.  Many of them even gave up their Saturday to drive here and help us transport all of our stuff.  Thank you Eric, Rebecca, Chris, and Chris!  Sean's mom came up with us and helped us get settled in as well. We love you!

The girls did amazingly well and played in the water in the backyard all day here at the new house while we settled in.  We had lunch provided for us on Saturday by our new church family and many, many who stayed well into the afternoon setting up beds, unpacking, cleaning, and helping us get settled.  We felt loved and were overwhelmed by the way everyone served us.  Saturday night we had dinner delivered by another sweet church member who even went as far as finding out what my Jillian eats.  She brought Jill's yogurt and applesauce as well as yummy homemade pizza with delicious cake.  I cried sweet tears of joy because she thought of my baby girl's needs and met them without even knowing us.

The week has continued on much like this.  We have had visits by many with cookies, hugs, and welcomes.  We have attended a staff cookout where we spent time together with the school and church staff swimming, eating, and visiting.  This is an amazing place and while we are sad to leave the many that we love in Pekin, we are excited to get settled here and to start doing life with this incredible congregation.

Thursday we spent the day with some of the church families at a local beach.  You all know my Jillian LOVES water and sand! This beach is beautiful, free, and very close to our house.  Many may just see this as a lake, but as I looked across the crystal blue water I just thought of God's miraculous provision!  A crystal clear lake, much like the beautiful Gull Lake where we happily spend a week at family camp every summer, only twenty minutes from our new home.  This is a place that we will be spending many happy summer days with our new family of friends.  I heard one of the moms say that she likes to spend time together with other ladies of the church because she is never leaving Cedar Valley and so if we are going to raise up our kids together, we should know and love each other.  Music to this mommas heart!  Walking alongside these friends and doing life together is going to be a true pleasure.

My sweet babies have also found open arms already and this momma is thrilled.  Em seems to have found a wonderful young lady who is in her class and shares her name.  EF seems like a great girl and is delightful to talk to.  She is an answer to prayer indeed.  Anna Mei has already learned to say Abby and looks for her whenever we are with our group.  She likes to be held and Abby is amazing with her.  She has ministered to this momma so much with how very willing she is to help me take care of the girls while Sean is back wrapping things up in Pekin.  Abby walked carrying Anna Mei to the car from the beach yesterday which was a HUGE blessing and she was in the pool the entire time I was on Tuesday helping with the girls.  A little lady named Jesse has taken a liken to my Jillian too and watched me signing to her yesterday so she could pick some up.  Jesse is a tiny fourth grader, but still let Jillian climb all over her in the water.  Jillian kept signing sit and Jesse wasn't sure what it meant so she asked and then sat every time Jillian told her.  Both of these girls are from the same family and they have beautiful hearts.  I can't wait to get to know them more!

Truly, I can't believe how seamless this move has been.  My Jillian hasn't missed a beat.  She even seems more comfortable in this strange, new house than she did in our familiar one in Pekin.  I can't explain it.  I have no words, but what I do have is a God who holds us each in His hands.  How I love the Lord who has written this entire story for us and who knows every detail before it is revealed to us.  To God be much glory for the way that we have been loved by these beautiful people in the last week.  I hope that I have the opportunity to show God's love to them many times as we walk beside each other in the years to come.  Cedar Valley Bible Church seems so very special and I am grateful to be able to call it home!