Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Over Come By Her Loss

We have headed to the beach the last two Saturdays.  It has been wonderful on so many levels.  One reason, in particular, is that the last two weeks there has been a sweet grandfather and his granddaughter there.  The first Saturday when Anna Mei spotted them she came to me and said that girl looks Chinese just like me.  Indeed, the grandfather and granddaughter were full blood, mandarin speaking Chinese.  My Anna Mei was so drawn to them.  She spent a bit of that first Saturday playing with them, and enjoying their company.  On the way home, she was full of questions about her past. Questions that I will never be able to fully answer, but that I am always willing to talk through with her.

The next Saturday, much to our surprise, the grandfather and his granddaughter were at the beach again!  They smiled warmly at us, and Anna Mei instantly began playing with them.  As I watched from my chair on the shore while rocking Molly Kate, I cried softly, because out there somewhere is a Chinese grandfather who will never know my  Anna Mei as his granddaughter.  It was just too much for my heart that Saturday to contain, and so quietly, under my glasses, I let a few tears spill as happiness surrounded me.  The loss that my babies have experienced is sometimes much more than my heart can bear.  Seeing my baby girl expressing her frustration over not understanding mandarin, and discovering that some Chinese children still live with their Chinese families was a blatant reminder that this great loss will always be lurking.  It is a part of who my children are, and, while it doesn't define them, it does shape who they are as well as who they are becoming.

It is so hard to grasp the brokenness of it all, and the fact that, because of my children's devastating loss, I have gained so much.  My children are some of the greatest blessings God has allowed me in this temporal life.  I rest in knowing that God is completely in control, has never left my babies, and will use all of their moments for His good.   I am so thankful for these interactions in this life to remind me of this, and to bring about precious conversation with my treasured girl.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


In the summer, we live in the water around here.  Our nonverbal, seven year old treasure is at peace in the water.  Thankfully, our entire family enjoys it so much too.  This summer our beloved beach announced it would be closed this year because they had drained it last fall, and we just didn't receive enough precipitation to get the water level back up where it needed to be.  This was devastating news until we found another beach 30 minutes in another direction.  We LOVE, LOVE this beach, and will likely keep coming here even when Palo reopens.  It has never been crowded, and has a beautiful backdrop surrounding it.  Truly our days spent on these shores have been some of the most memorable to the summer.  Last Saturday, the house was falling down around us as it was in need of a good cleaning, but we packed up and headed to the beach anyway.  We spent a wonderful five hours swimming, relaxing, and just enjoying our time.  Oh that these summer days could last forever...
 This babe is swimming all over in the deepest of water with a life jacket on.
 Smiles abound whenever we even mention the beach!
 Our special babe is truly talented in that she can store water in her cupped hands, and then squirt it when you least expect it.  She has impeccable aim, and amazes those around her with her ability to shoot.
 This littlest babe has turned into quite the beach bum too.
 She doesn't even leave the water to eat her lunch.  As I watch her full of smiles, I can't help, but marvel at God's goodness to relocate us to this area with five..yes FIVE..beautiful beaches within driving distance.  This baby needs her some beach time, and she gets here.
 Digging for hours is a JOY!
 Baby toes in the sand.
 More digging for these two brings smiles their faces.
Counting the days until we are here again!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


(I began writing this days ago, and left the title yesterday because frankly you all God is so very close to me in this season, but recording it in a timely manner not so much as each day is filled to over flowing.  The house is out of order.  I never sit down unless I am on the floor playing with a child.  Despite this, I feel as if I am on top of the world.  This summer has been so, so good.  The beach, the swimming pool, and filling my moments with all the little memories that make life worth living has been my main goal.  God is good, and life is FULL.)

Yesterday, I was driving across town with my littles in toe.  They were buckled in their seats with their swimsuits on as we were on our way to a dear friend's home to swim.  This wasn't just any old night swim though.  We were on our way to a fundraiser to help raise funds to bring home their son whom they hope to be matched with soon as they just finished up their dossier.  My emotions were all over the place as I drove across town looking in my rear view mirror to catch a glimpse at my three beautiful, Chinese daughters.  Fundraising memories flooded into my heart, and I just took a quiet moment  to praise God with my thoughts as I drove.  So many events, so many contributors, such little faith on my part, but what an incredible blessing each of my three adoption journeys was as I have these three amazing little ones in the back of my minivan because of the incredible people who shared what they had with us so that these girls could be called mine.  The faces of those who gave flooded my mind's eye.  I saw each card given, each donation, every moment that we worked, every need met was revisited during this short trip across town, and I just rejoiced for all that God has done.  He has been more than faithful!  What an incredible, faith building journey this has been.  What an incredible support system we have, and what an immeasurable blessing has been bestowed on us!  It is my prayer that I walk as one worthy of such a blessing as these beautiful girls, and that as we seek God's will for our family in the coming months I will be bold as one who has seen miracles and believes the Lord can do the impossible because I have seen time and time again!  Thank you dear friends for sharing this journey with us!  Mere words will never express how grateful we are to you for helping us along this road to our girls.  They are priceless.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Gull Lake Ministries Theme Nights

One of our favorite parts of Gull Lake Ministries are the theme nights.  Four of the nights are family dinner nights where we all dress up, and enjoy themed entertainment.  The girls love it!  In fact each year in the spring when the theme nights are released for the coming summer, we begin to anticipate the fun of it all!
This year there was Olympic night.
We wore our USA gear, Olympic medals, and ring glasses.

 Our very special girl has never eaten with a metal spoon.  Because of her oral defensiveness, even eating with a plastic spoon has been a big challenge at times.  Well this week the first night at dinner, this girl picked up a metal spoon, and ate with it!  Miracles never cease here in this special place!

Western Boot Scootin, Belt Buckle Ball was also a theme this year.
We were cows.

There was a fun filled Safari night too.
Anna Mei wanted to be a lion.
They weren't too fierce though.

 The last night was the annual Stars and Stripes carnival.
 There are always so many fun activities like face painting, snow cones, carnival games, and patriot games.  It is always the girls favorite night. This year, they opened a new activity.  This giant jumping pillow!  The girls LOVED it!
Jilly loved it so much that she and Daddy spent nearly two hours jumping here on the last night.  If you are looking for an amazing family vacation that is centered in the Lord, I can't encourage you enough to check out Gull Lake Ministries.  For eight years, we have been enjoying amazing weeks here each summer, and it never disappoints.  Our kids can't wait to go back! 

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Wonder of This Place..Gull Lake Ministries

It happened again!  We got to spend another amazing, summer week at Gull Lake Ministries.  Every summer, we think it may be our last, but God continues to provide this rest for our souls through this place.  It holds so many special memories for our family.  Committing our lives to the Lord, surrendering to adopting again, experiencing first vacations with those babes who are newly home with us, reconnecting with dear friends, and baptism have all happened at this place. There have been so many moments here that have taken my breath away.  The teaching from God's word, the hearts of those who serve us, the beautiful setting..each and every year I leave this week so renewed!  Grateful doesn't even begin to convey my feeling for this incredible ministry.

If you know my babes, you know the beach was their favorite afternoon spot.  It never disappoints.  Eight years ago, our Emily would sit on these very shores eating ice cream too.  I am so very thankful to have this place to be with my babes as time goes so very quickly.

 Superman Ice Cream Everyday..What could be better?
 Jilly likes her snuggles with Daddy.
 My two littlest swam in the ten feet deep water to get out to the water trampoline.  Molly is so small that she had to wear an infant life jacket, but nothing slows her down.
 There is no place in this world where this treasure is happier.  It is priceless.
 Boats with Momma.
 All my girls together makes this momma's heart so full.
 There isn't anywhere on this earth that I would rather be.
 This place is so incredible!
Next year can't come soon enough!