Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

In the Light of the Tree

I hate to think of taking down my tree as my sweet baby's face is so lovely in its glow.  I may be the only one on the street with it still up into January, but I am enjoying every minute of her exploration.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Exercise Ball..Lessons Learned

A few hours ago, I was in the laundry room tackling the mountains of dirty clothes that come with a family of seven.  Outside the door is our family and playroom.  The door was open as I tediously complained in my mind about all this work, and outside the door as I was folding I could hear my Jillian.  I could hear her laughing, and bouncing the giant exercise ball.  I could hear her drumming the same huge ball with her favorite sticks, and my heart stopped complaining because I couldn't help praising Him for the miracle this girl is to us.  Seven years ago when I was handed this baby girl, she could not be near a ball.  Before entering any therapy room, gym, or classroom, I would have to make sure that all balls were well hidden because they TERRIFIED her.  She would refuse to go into any room at Easter Seals for therapy if those balls were hanging on the wall, and, not only that, she would often meltdown for hours..heck the entire day.. at just the sight of a ball.  Hear this fellow adoptive mommas, some of you are walking this hard right now.  Life is so upside down with so many circumstances out of your control, and you're weary.  Sometimes, it seems hopeless.  You love and love..give and give.. and yet you can't fix it.  You hold bodies in the night of your children as they revolt against you with no promise that they will ever allow you to comfort them...that they will ever love you back.  You walk down medical corridors everyday giving up time with your others while you sacrifice for this one that you have chosen to love from hard places.  You can't remember who you were before this started, and you honestly don't know who you will be when this all settles.  I get it so much, and, if I could sit across from you right now sharing hot tea, I would say miracles happen.  Love grows, and one day you will look back at this time seeing the work of God so clearly that you might just be thankful for it.  Thankful that God walked you through this hard, and for the love that grows through it.  Back then, I would have never dreamed that seven years later my little girl would play basketball with her Daddy, love PE, or tell us how much she loves us.  Heck, I couldn't let myself hope that she would ever communicate at all back then. Yet, here she is standing outside my laundry room door..whole..healed beyond my wildest dreams living life to the fullest, and bringing so much glory to the God who created her that I can't help, but praise.  Don't lose hope.  God knows you if you trust Him.  He sees your trouble, and He is good.

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who trust him.  Nahum 1:7

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Cut Out Cookies

It wouldn't be Christmas without cut out cookies.
Cut out cookies are an essential element according to my biggest.
We began making these very cookies as soon as Emily was physically able. 
They hold so many precious memories,
and having my babies creating them together again this year is just so sweet.
The first few Christmases, Jillian couldn't bring herself to join in,
and so it means so much that she is now able to fully enjoy it!
Here are to sweet memories of Christmas 2017
as it has almost come and gone.

Friday, December 22, 2017

It’s Gloriously Good

After a very, very long week of medical appointments every single day, it is gloriously good to have all my babes home in their pajamas today!  We are doing nothing at all, but enjoying the good that is called HOME!
Jillian is digging in the rice tent.
Molly is doing some writing while listening to her Jolly phonics songs.
My artist is at her easel...and my heart is full of JOY.  Home never felt so good!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Her Hearing Loss Test Results

At 4:00 AM this morning, I dragged myself out of bed to face the still dark day.  Starting a load of towels, and brewing a strong cup of green tea from my daughter's birth country, I prepared to wake my little one for a trip to the U to have a sedated procedure in an attempt to gauge the progression of her hearing loss.  Progressive Hearing Loss..those words sting as I type them.  They have caused me sleepless nights, worry, and tears over the last few months.  They have haunted me..causing me to take my eyes off the cross, and forget just how faithful my God has been.  How could I let mere words have such power over me?  Today, I was a bit nervous, but couldn't wait to face the results of this test head on.  At least, after today, I could be sure what we were up against.  I could be armed with information used to get the next ball rolling if need be.  If, indeed, her loss had progressed to a severe..almost deaf status as her behavioral booth results had been suggesting..I would know and could walk on clinging to the HOPE that I have in Christ.  I held her as she was poked, and the IV was inserted.  I walked beside her bed, and then settled her in the sound booth.  I stroked her while she was given the sleeping meds, and I watched her go to sleep so quickly that I wished we could give her some of those meds at home when I was particularly anxious to get her to sleep so I could  watch the next episode of This is Us.  ☺  Then, I waited with a wonderful friend from church as Daddy had home duty.  She prayed over Molly asking for Him to perform a miracle and heal her.  Then our little princess came back to me an hour later, and close behind her were those ABR results I had been anticipating all these months.  Her hearing has not changed!!  Her loss is still mostly moderate with a pocket of severe in some tones and a few moderate in others.  This is unbelievable news!  I am absolutely praising God for this great news!  God does not change because this good is what I had hoped for.  He isn't any better or worse because of it, because either way He will be glorified.  Either way He has a plan for good, but what a relief to this momma that our merciful God has spared Molly at this time from loosing more of her hearing!  We are grateful for so much after today.  Grateful for a day spent with a church friend, and the many who have been praying for her.  Grateful for the dozens of wonderful medical professionals who so compassionately cared for my baby girl, and for the state of the art facility that she was treated in.  Beyond grateful that our dear audiologist met us at her office @ Wendel and reprogrammed Molly's aids saving us another trip to the U, and making sure that her aids match her need perfectly!  Above all, I am grateful for Molly's life and the future that lies ahead of her as I anxiously anticipate all that God could use her to do!  Thank you to those who have been praying!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Friday Night Fun

We have been flying solo most nights as Daddy is in the thick of bball season, but we have tried to make the most of it.  My Anna Mei is always, always happy to create, and after 18 years as a momma I have a pretty stocked craft room so it is easy to throw together just about anything.  These ornaments were so fun to make, and kept my girls busy (and not fighting) for a good part of the night.
(You can get the free ornament printable here.)
While we created at the table, Ellie played happily in her wrapping sensory bin.
She is still a HUGE fan of dumping, and loves to squish each of the shiny bows while also tearing up the wrapping paper. 
After the ornaments were complete, the girls proceeded to use the entire shoe box of craft sticks to make random creations with glue.  My craft sticks supply is totally depleted, but what fun to watch their hands create for so long!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Today I cradled my youngest in my arms as she slept, and I took a minute to breath.  I watched the sun pouring in my huge front window, and, as I took it all in, I caught a glimpse of our family gallery wall to my left.  In that moment, I looked at the beautiful pictures of my Chinese daughters hanging there on the wall, and it was completely ordinary, as many families hang their children's pictures, and completely miraculous at the same time. These daughters with Ch*nese eyes hanging on the wall next to us.  It is such a juxtaposition with which we live.  Our sweet, precious babes going about life in an absolutely ordinary way yet each with a path to us that is beyond miraculous.  Living simultaneously between the ordinary and the miraculous is such a place to be.  I can be so overcome with emotion so quickly as I watch my girls living out this life.  I am struck by how God has orchestrated it all, and what an incredible miracle it is that my eight year just hopped in her Daddy's truck to head to a Special Olympics sports day with him by her side.  An eight year old, that at two was literally dying while waiting for a family, walking so strong, and so full of life as she touches so many.  I can watch my six and four year old (sisters and the best friends) playing soccer together in the backyard..completely ordinary..and be moved to tears.  Girls, with very different stories, from very different parts of China..sisters in this life..miraculous.  I hold and comfort my smallest babe singing "This is the Day the Lord Has Made" while she endures another medical procedure..Ordinary and So Unbelievably Miraculous all at once.  These miracles are something I could have so easily missed if I had gotten too caught up in the ordinary that was my life before my girls came home.  I could have listed a million reasons why I could never do this that God has me now living.  I would have looked at others doing this and thought they must be special or super spiritual or possess some great powers that I never could.  For years, I pushed away the longing in my heart to welcome more into our family as we were too ordinary to do anything this miraculous. One thing that I now know is that  God can make my ordinary miraculous if I just let Him.  Now, because my girls are in them, each and every ordinary moment contains a good dose of miraculous, and I can't imagine living any other way.  Beyond grateful that each and every ordinary moment I have includes these incredible, amazing babies because sharing life with them is the greatest blessing I have ever received.  That God would entrust me with such a precious gift is, often times, so beyond my reasoning, but I am grateful to Him for it.  This Christmas is it my deepest desire that other babies get to experience the same ordinary life that mine are as I pray earnestly that each and every orphan will be welcomed home.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Ellie’s Glasses

So adorable..Now if I can just get her to keep them on.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Christmas in the Barn

We headed to the country last weekend for an autism event called Christmas in the Barn.
It was held at Miracles in Motion where many children have therapeutic riding sessions.
We enjoyed crafts, homemade cookies, the horses dressed in their holiday best, and a visit with..
Santa Claus. 
You can't avoid this guy this time of year,
and, while my girls know the truth about this guy,
sometimes it is fun just to play along.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Painting Salt Dough

After making the dough, we pressed our little hands in, cut out a mitten shape, and baked it to harden it up.
Then we painted them and added glitter.
We also used permanent markers to decorate a manger scene in these snowglobe shaped ornaments that we made out of the dough. 
These turned out great and I loved their sweet little drawings of baby Jesus!
Like I said before Jillian's shapes were a bit unconventional, but they turned out beautiful.
She may have gone a bit overboard with glitter, but a girl's got to sparkle.
Here is our sweet Ellie's ornament painted by Momma as I was sure she would put the paint in her mouth.  Maybe next year, she will be ready to paint with something other than edible ingredients.

Making Salt Dough Ornaments..

I have seen salt dough ornaments everywhere..
and I love making ornaments with the girls each year.
Because we hadn't attempted a salt dough hand print mitten in the past,

we went for it, and making them was so much fun!
This girl has loved all my crafts, but she really liked this one.  The shapes she cut out were completely unconventional and totally unique just like she is.
You can see the trail of destruction in the background and our little tornado sitting on the floor in the middle of it all!  What a blessed morning this was to have my girls with me!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

We had our first dusting of snow, and the girls were anxious to get out and play.
There wasn't near enough snow to build a snowman so we did the next best thing and built these guys out of craft foam on our glass door.
I cut out lots of pieces, set out a paint brush, and water..
and these ladies got busy. 
Anna's completed masterpiece was completely unique.
So was my sweet little peanut's man.  She is so petite that she had to use a stool to place her foam pieces.  This activity was super inexpensive, kept them busy for a good while, and has endless possibilities for many seasonal connections. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Our Tree 2017

Seeing my babies together never gets old though the light in this corner of our basement is terrible.  What JOY these babies have brought me!
Every single year that she enjoys decorating I remember how hard the first few Christmases were for her.  Praise God Jillian loves our tree these days!
Anna Mei takes decorating very, very seriously!
My biggest girl loves her some Molly.  Emily traveled with me to get her, and she unashamedly declares Miss Molly her favorite!  Only one more week until our biggest girl is home with us!  Counting down the days to celebrating Jesus birth together!