Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Savoring Every Momment

There are so many things that Satan uses to try to steal our joy this time of year.  There is just never enough time and often not enough money.  We so easily loose our focus at Christmas and forget the very reason we celebrate..a tiny babe, God, coming to earth so that we might have eternal life.  This season I am not loosing focus and so far the battle is being won because I feel especially blessed this year.  There are so many reasons to be thankful and I am not hurrying, not stressing..this year I am savoring and taking time to share Jesus with my children first!
Cookie Making....
 I have made close to 53 dozen cookies by this time, but these cookies are special.
 I remember the year my mom found these cookies in a magazine when I was a child.  I remember sitting at my kitchen table with the refrigerated dough tube cutting away and creating these very shapes to frost and decorate.
 We have been making them forever.
 Of course because she LOVES frosting, Anna Mei is a fan of this variety of cookie too.
 Em is so nostalgic this year.  She is remembering all the years and all that we have done.  Funny how in her old age, she is the one who cherishes the sameness of our seasons through the years.
 Precious Life!
 Uncle A decorated too!  It is such a gift to have family living in the same town we are as we can see them everyday.  We have never lived in the same town before so we are enjoying it!
 Em wanted to watch a holiday movie together so we baked a pizza, ate dinner in the family room, and watched Veggie Tales "The Toy Who Saved Christmas".  It was fabulous!
 Then, Daddy and Em watched an old, classic Ernest Saves Christmas.  It was funny to hear Em ask what year this was made.
 Today, I took the girls to a nursing home to "perform" the nativity.  I had a shepherd and a sheep. 
The children dressed up, looked so very cute, and shared their joy with some elderly today.  My heart was full.  Why do I spend so little time serving others alongside my small children?  They are such a gift and have such open, sharing hearts.  They don't always say or behave the way we like, but they are such a tremendous blessing to those they are around.  I will take them again as it was delightful! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Sweet Sheep

My dear baby girl,
With everything in me, I praise God for you!  This morning as you were on the stage dressed as a sheep as part of the children's nativity at our church, I couldn't help but choke back tears.  You have come so far in the three and half years we have been blessed to have you.  I wonder if you know how you have changed my heart?  I wonder if you understand how God has used you in my life?  I watched you signing "Away In a Manger" and I thought about all that you have taught me about the Lord as I have mothered you.  You have taught me that life is better taken slow.  You have taught me what truly matters and how victorious one can feel when the smallest things are accomplished.  You have shown me courage and made me understand just what it is like to overcome even the most unthinkable circumstances.  You are a tangible reminder in my life that God can do the impossible!  You are living proof that miracles do still happen.  You are a precious treasure and I am so beyond grateful to God for the gift of you.  I will never understand why the Lord thought I was worthy of being your momma, but I am so thankful, in all my brokenness, that I am the one who gets to lead you (and force you to wear sheep ears) in this life!  Here's to many more Christmases celebrating the Savior's birth together!  I love you my little sheep and am praising the one true shepherd for leading me to you nearly four years ago.  I can't imagine life without you!

All my Love,

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Card Crafting

 I have finally unpacked my craft room, affixed labels to bins, and it is officially up and running which makes me so very happy.  Anna and I occupy this project space in our unfinished  laundry room  many, many days.  Most of our creations are not Pintrest worthy, but Anna loves creating and I love having this space for her.
She made these cards for her teachers complete with finger painted paper and glitter.  It was so fun to make these with her.  I must be the luckiest person in the world that caring for this treasure is my full time job.

 Jilly got in on the action a bit later in the week.  She hasn't always loved crafting so having her with me and able to tolerate it is a dream come true!
 She does love her some glitter!  She would much rather sprinkle it on the floor than on the paper though so Momma helps to maintain some order.  Still, much found its way to the floor, but that is just fine by me.
It has been one of the most blessed Christmas seasons we have ever had here.  We are savoring every moment and I am beyond grateful to have my family here in our new home celebrating the birth of the savior.

Here is Anna showing off her cards.

Friday, December 19, 2014

My Third Christmas

This is the third Christmas I have celebrated while a piece of my heart lays waiting in an orphan's crib halfway around the world. You would think, having done this twice before, that I would get better at handling the waiting, but it is heartbreaking especially at Christmas.  I have shed tears for my sweet Molly Kate everyday this week.  Sometimes, they hit unexpectedly while I am driving or in the shower alone, but they can't be avoided because a part of me is missing this Christmas.  A part of me lays waiting for a momma and daddy to claim her as their own alone in a little China town in an orphanage a world away.  I will never understand the agony of this wait and why it can't be that we can just go and get our girl, but everything is in God's timing and His hands.  While I can't really say that the waiting is good, I can hold on to the promises in God's word and believe that He uses all things for the good of those who love him.  Until, Molly Kate is home I rest in that knowledge and keep buying kleenex.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

And We Have An Adorable...

 donkey.  The preschool teacher at the christian school where my girls attend decided to dress the preschoolers up as barnyard animals for the Christmas program.  I thought it was adorable.
 Anna Mei was pretty awe struck by the crowd and didn't sing too much, but she could bow.

The high school choir, including our Em, also sang some beautiful songs of Christmas.  (She would kill me for posting a picture of her so please don't tell her.:)  She is growing up so.  She gets college material almost every. single. day.  Really college admissions counselors, do you have to remind me how little time I have left with her?
 My little princess was thrilled that momma gave her a pearl necklace from our China trip to wear.  She told everyone "my momma give me necklace from China".
Absolutely adorable and radiating JOY is this special, special girl of mine.  Sunday both Jillian and Anna are sheep in our Christmas program at church.  Stay tuned for more adorable in the days to come!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Her First Dance Recital

 Anna Mei was able to participate in her first recital at the Christmas Show.  Her little dance class wore white leotards and "performed" an Olaf dance.  I use the word perform loosely as the little peanuts mostly just stood on the stage looking adorable and trying to find a teacher to follow as they don't memorize the dances too well yet. :)  I am so extremely grateful this morning for my amazing friend and her family who have given Anna Mei her dance classes.  She was beyond adorable though I am quite bias.  She waited with her little class backstage and then paraded out front on that huge platform like a pro.  She didn't dance too much and after the show she told me how scary that big stage was for her.
I stand in awe as I watch her thinking about her life and fate just eighteen short months ago.  How things have changed as this beauty is now cherished standing on an auditorium stage amidst lights, music, and costumes.  She has been given every opportunity, is cherished, and adored as a orphan no longer.  I have to admit that I mostly just bawled my eyes out as Anna was up there thinking about Molly Kate still lying in a crib amongst many who will never be given the chance to know the love and opportunity of a forever family.  As I hurry through this holiday season, I pray that I will stop and remember that there are so many children around the world who don't have a momma and daddy to call them son or daughter, to teach them about Jesus, to meet their basic needs, and to photograph and video each of these milestones.  It breaks my heart to the core.  Oh that somehow all could be home is a prayer I whisper daily.

Here she is dancing her heart out before one very proud momma who absolutely adores her!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Magic for Molly Kate..Fundraiser

Several months ago, a member of our congregation, who happens to be a magician, was looking for someone to cater a magic dinner theater for his group of performers.  The event was to be held at our church and a caterer was needed.  About this same time, I was praying about fundraisers so I approached him about my catering as I love to cook and thought this would be an amazing way to raise funds for our adoption.  This kind man then said he would make this entire event about bringing home our Molly Kate and would donate all of the funds raised to our family.  He printed posters for the event with our logo on it and a picture of our treasure.  He publicized it in our church and community.  The response and the crowd were incredible.  I spent two days cooking the meal.  The night of the event an army of about twenty teens and a few moms served, cleaned up, and served some more to help make the event a huge success.  We sold 140 dinner tickets and, because I LOVE cooking, the two days spent preparing the food were pure bliss.  Truly God is so good to allow me to do something I enjoy so much and raise funds for our daughter's adoption.  In addition to the dinner tickets, nearly fifty more people just attended the show!  I crept in the back of the auditorium after cleaning up dinner to catch a glimpse of the show and I couldn't believe the crowd.  I was in awe of the love and support for our family as I stood looking out over the nearly 200 people who attended.  Each time I do this adoption thing, I simply can't believe how God just brings together so many people from so many places to provide for one precious child.  As I stood looking out on the event, I was reminded of the verse..The one who calls you is faithful and he will surely do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24) because this event wasn't even on my radar.  I didn't dream it up.  I didn't plan it.  I didn't have it on my "spreadsheet plan" color coded as an event to raise money for a certain fee.  It just came up at the right time and was such a tremendous blessing!  That night alone, we were able raise nearly $2,000 after expenses for our adoption fund!  In fact, in the last three months, we have been given almost $15,000!  We have been able to pay for half of our adoption in just three months.  Each time I have the pleasure of bringing home a treasure through the miracle of adoption, I am in awe and so humbled that so many join us!  We started this adoption with absolutely no way to pay for any part of it on our own and yet here we are half way funded already!  God has such a plan for this little lady's life.  I wish I could share the details of all that Molly Kate has overcome already as it seems impossible that she has survived, but her story isn't mine to share.  One day, when the time is right, I hope my dear, newest daughter will recognize all that God has done and give her life to Him.  He must have such a tremendous plan for her!  I can't wait to hold her and to hear her say momma!  What an incredible blessing it is to be able to call one more beautiful, Chinese treasure daughter! 

Friday, December 12, 2014


 It was a little too quiet for too long in the bathroom the other afternoon.  Anna Mei is finally able to reach the potty on her own using a taller stool so she can take care of her business by herself.  Can I get a Halleluiah?  Anyway, she had been in their quite a while, but Daddy had just gotten home so he and I were taking a few minutes to connect after his morning at work.  Daddy began to be suspicious that she was up to something as she was so quiet and that is very, very rare.  When I went in to check on her I found her in the make-up drawer looking like this!  She was proud as peaches of herself.  She loves make-up and will watch her sister applying it each morning saying you look buteful (beautiful) emwee.  Oh my heart this girl is gonna be trouble!  She was happy to poise for the camera and has been happy to follow my new rule that she can't put on make-up without asking momma for permission first.  She did a stellar job of applying her lip color without getting it on her clothes or teeth.  Pretty impressive if you ask me.  This sweet , sweet girl is something.  I am certainly guaranteed that my days are never, never dull.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Girl and Her Gingerbread House

This girl is something.  She has a passion for life and zest that just keeps me on my toes.  She is so thrilled about everything Christmas.  She can't wait for Jesus' birthday, giving gifts, and loves decorating!

She often says "you yittle pihol". little pistol because she hears it often said about herself.
She couldn't wait to eat the gingerbread, but spit it out.  She didn't like it at all, but she loved decorating the house and cookies with momma.  It is proudly displayed on the table and she loves looking at it!  It is so much fun having little ones!  My heart, I am beyond blessed to call these treasures mine.  Everything is so much fun with these little girls beside me. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

In Awe

Dearest Anna Mei,

I crept into your room the other night just to watch you sleeping in the glow of your tiny Christmas tree that sits next to your bed.  As I watched you, I was overcome with emotion because it still baffles me that it is my roof you are sleeping under.   Dear baby, you are such a precious treasure.  You are growing so much and yet, at times, you still seem so little.  You love everything about playing babies and love watching mommas caring for their little ones out in public.  You ask tough questions for three.  Questions about your past, your China momma, and you share your emotions so openly.  I love that you can talk to me so freely and I am amazed that you remember so much about your life before coming home.  When sharing how you are feeling, you often say my heart is yittle bit angry or frustrated.  You are also always concerned about how I am feeling and you say.."Are you happy?" a million times a day.  You have taught us much about faith as your favorite phrase is "it gonna be fiiiine".  We have taken it on as our motto in the family often saying it again and again as we smile.  I love that you are learning so much about God and this world.  You are a little sponge taking in all that we are reading to you.  The other day you saw a toy perfume bottle that was in the toy box and retold the story of the woman who poured perfume on Jesus feet as we sat there.  You said, "I do that for Jesus too".  Your laugh and passion are infectious.  It is rare that we are out and you don't draw excessive amounts of attention.  You seem to just draw people to you.  You have such an open heart for others too as you rarely turn people away.  As I walk holding your hand or listen to you singing "rejoice" at the top of your lungs, I always remember to give thanks for who you are and all that you are becoming.  You have held the baby sister role well for the last eighteen months and I can't wait to see you as a big sister holding our newest babe and loving her as only you can.  The months to come will be full of change for you and yet I know that God will give you all you need to thrive through it as He has continued to do this last year.  I am grateful for you and can't wait to see where you go in this life.  You are the child I have that is most exactly like I am and, while at times you can be more than a bit challenging, I rest in knowing God will use you in mighty ways.  I love you baby girl and am beyond thrilled to be your momma.  As I sit and listen to your soft voice singing from your bed, even now at 5:00 AM while I type, I am thankful for who you are because you have changed my life and helped me to see Jesus more. 

All my love to you my precious baby girl!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Celebrating Daddy

 For 24 years, I have had the pleasure of celebrating birthdays with this man.  Each year, I give thanks that God has put me with Sean who our lovely ladies are blessed to call Daddy.  He is wise, faithful, and serves us each day before he even begins to think of himself.  He is Jillian's climbing pole, Anna's snuggler, and Emily's "coach".  He is a Godly man who leads us in knowledge of His word and prays faithfully for each of us.  He also loves Spiderman.  So for his forty-first birthday, I made him a Spiderman cake.

Twenty-four years ago when we celebrated his seventeenth birthday together, I bet he never dreamed he would have four daughters.  I know for certain he never imagined these Chinese beauties would be in his lap and call him Daddy.
How very blessed indeed we are to have such a miraculous family and wonderful life together in ministry. 
These are his gifts.  Anna picked out his mug and she was so extremely proud of it.  Silly Daddy!  I tease him that he could never really get a grown up job because only a youth pastor can wear a Spiderman jacket at 41.