Friday, December 28, 2012

Psalm 68:6 God sets the lonely in families...

Right now, in Taiwan, a little girl is asleep for the night and she doesn't know it, but she's not an orphan anymore.

Introducing
Avalyn Xin Nian信念 Edwards
 
Born in Taiwan
 December 14, 2009
 
Court Approval with Final Decree
December, 2012
 
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
 
Xin Nian信念 (ssheen nee-ANN) n. 1. Faith 2. Belief 3. Conviction
 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

court rulings and EEGs

Well, there's been a court ruling.  We have no idea what it says, but once the papers get to the orphanage we'll have our answer.  I've been anxious today despite the Bible telling me not to be anxious.  I just keep quoting Psalm 68:6  GOD sets the lonely in families.  This is His thing!

Now about the EEG thing.  Several years ago around 6 in the morning my son, Brett, came to me and said that Josh was having one of "those dreams" again. Kyle and I went upstairs and saw Josh having a grand mal seizure (on the top bunk of the bunkbed, no less).  All we could do was watch and pray.  Over the course of what seemed like an eternity, we went through 1 MRI, 3 EEGs, and too many seizures to count. Each of them happening in Josh's sleep early in the morning.  It was horrible.  You sit and watch and pray and pray and pray. The first 2 EEGs didn't show anything and they couldn't trigger a seizure.  Finally, during the 3rd EEG, they hit pay dirt and Josh gave them a seizure.  He had to go a whole night without sleep to finally catch one.  I stayed up with him and Kyle slept so that he could drive him to the appointment and be with him during the test. We were blessed with an awesome Dr. and she prescribed some meds that have kept Josh seizure-free since November 3, 2010.  At his appointment 1 year ago, her goal for him was to gain 20 pounds so that his weight would exceed the dosage and start a sort of natural tapering off of the medication.  She thinks these are the type of seizures that can be outgrown.  Well, he had a visit back in September and had gained 22 pounds.  He had done exactly what she wanted and remained seizure-free in the process.  He has gained 7 more pounds since then and YEP! he's still seizure-free!  So we find ourselves up tonight (all night) because Josh has another EEG tomorrow to see if we can trigger a seizure.  He is still on the meds, so we're not expecting a seizure, but I'm feeling a little stressed as we head into this part of this particular journey. It would be okay with me if I never EVER had to watch him have another seizure.

In this process, Josh has shown me what's it's like to really have childlike faith.  That boy has never once worried.  He just rolls with the punches and trusts us to do what we need to do.  If I could master this skill with my Heavenly Father and really have that childlike faith, I wouldn't be up tonight worried about 2 of my munchkins (both Josh and our Taiwanese treasure).  I'd just walk this out and trust and relax and play Fruit Ninja.  Actually, I think I will play Fruit Ninja.  We've turned tonight into a slumber party. Only Kyle and Savannah will sleep.  Kyle because he gets the job of driver/watchman and Savannah because if anyone needs their sleep, it's her.

If you're checking in and want to pray that Josh's EEG will give us enough information to make some decisions that are ahead of us and also for our complete trust in God's plan as we know we will hear the judge's decision very soon now, we'd appreciate it so very much.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The shooting in Newtown

I have tried to write this post over and over again and I've come to the conclusion that I just don't have the right words.  Yesterday I cried as I watched the news report and I prayed.  I'm still praying and I'm still sad for the loss.  It really is tragic.  The picture above is the list of victims that was just released.  Each name a reminder of how delicate life is and how quickly things can change.  The oldest child victims are only 7.  I'm praying for each of these families represented here, all of the children and adults that were witnesses to the event, and for everyone that was hurt by such a devastating act. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Avalyn!

Well, she's 3 today.  It's December 14 in Taiwan.  I know what I want her to get this year. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Conviction

A friend sent me this excerpt from a book.  I keep reading it.  The challenge is great, the conviction greater. 

If...

  • If I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting "Who made thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou hast not received?" then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  •  
  • If I find myself taking lapses for granted, "Oh, that's what they always do," "Oh, of course she talks like that, he acts like that," then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I do not feel far more for the grieved Savior than for my worried self when troublesome things occur, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I can rebuke without a pang, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If my attitude be one of fear, not faith, about one who has disappointed me; if I say, "Just what I expected" if a fall occurs, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, "You do not understand," or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other's highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I am content to heal a hurt slightly, saying "Peace, peace," where there is no peace; if I forget the poignant word "Let love be without dissimulation" and blunt the edge of truth, speaking not right things but smooth things, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I hold on to choices of any kind, just because they are my choice, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I am soft to myself and slide comfortably into self-pity and self-sympathy; If I do not by the grace of God practice fortitude, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I myself dominate myself, if my thoughts revolve round myself, if I am so occupied with myself I rarely have "a heart at leisure from itself," then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If, the moment I am conscious of the shadow of self crossing my threshold, I do not shut the door, and keep that door shut, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or the twentieth); if I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I take offense easily, if I am content to continue in a cool unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I feel injured when another lays to my charge things that I know not, forgetting that my sinless Savior trod this path to the end, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I feel bitter toward those who condemn me, as it seems to me, unjustly, forgetting that if they knew me as I know myself they would condemn me much more, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If the praise of others elates me and their blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I crave hungrily to be used to show the way of liberty to a soul in bondage, instead of caring only that it be delivered; if I nurse my disappointment when I fail, instead of asking that to another the word of release may be given, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I do not forget about such a trifle as personal success, so that it never crosses my mind, or if it does, is never given room there; if the cup of flattery tastes sweet to me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If in the fellowship of service I seek to attach a friend to myself, so that others are caused to feel unwanted; if my friendships do not draw others deeper in, but are ungenerous (to myself, for myself), then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I refuse to allow one who is dear to me to suffer for the sake of Christ, if I do not see such suffering as the greatest honor that can be offered to any follower of the Crucified, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I slip into the place that can be filled by Christ alone, making myself the first necessity to a soul instead of leading it to fasten upon Him, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If my interest in the work of others is cool; if I think in terms of my own special work; if the burdens of others are not my burdens too, and their joys mine, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I wonder why something trying is allowed, and press for prayer that it may be removed; if I cannot be trusted with any disappointment, and cannot go on in peace under any mystery, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
  • If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the Cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
That which I know not, teach Thou me, O Lord, my God.
Amy Carmichael, "Calvary Love," from If, by Dohnavur Fellowship

Monday, December 10, 2012

Basketball Season---year 17 (or is it 18?)

My husband is a coach.  He coaches many sports, but his love is basketball.  For years I've told him that the players "live" here.  You may not see them, but they are here.  Their abilities and growth permeate conversations.  The scores and accomplishments are huge topics around here.  They are prayed for and loved. This year, well, this year is special.  My husband stepped down from high school public school coaching to do 8th grade girls (which he's really enjoying!) so that he could coach our boys' homeschool team.  So, three of the players really do live here. :)  It's an interesting mix to watch the switch from dad/son to coach/player and then back again.  They've done it as if it's always been this way.  Given, the basketball talk has almost taken over around here (Anyone wanna swing by and talk about NOT basketball for a few months?) but it's been so neat to watch them all have this experience. 

I've learned a little something this season.  This team is new to really being coached.  You can see them improve with each game.  They are starting to understand Coach E and run the plays and use solid defense and...  It's a process.  It made me think of our walk with God. I know sometimes I want instant everything.  I don't want a process and I don't want to have to learn new things.  I want instant streaming and immediate gratification.  Well, it just doesn't work that way.  My oldest son, Ryan, got into foul trouble this last game.  He had 4 fouls in the 1st quarter.  Seriously.  So Coach had to bench him until after halftime.  It gave Ryan a chance to just watch.  He gained some perspective and came out even better.  He had his highest scoring game yet.  Instead of trying to make the system work, he learned to just trust. 

It's been a struggle to just trust during this adoption process.  So often I find myself  trying to get to the basket without running the play the way God wants me to.  I get blocked, tripped up, and frustrated. I can't force my way through for anything.  So, I'm learning.

Oh, yeah, we Skyped with Avalyn in Taiwan last night!  It was so much fun!  She leaned in close to the screen when Savannah got on.  It was precious.  We learned a bit more about her and our case.  We are without a timeline because our case was appealed.  Sadly, many cases have been delayed.  It's not just ours.  Pray for the judges in Taiwan.  Pray for all of these precious children who have families, but are waiting for the judges to make decisions, and pray for all the children who don't have families, yet. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Twenty for Taiwan

Well, we're in the final stretch and we're only lacking about $4000 in funds to complete our process.  Not bad, right?  I am still amazed at God's provision!

There are currently 3 ways you can help us.  The first and most important is through prayer.  Prayer for us, the judge and Avalyn.  One of my favorite quotes is by Oswald Chambers.  He says, "Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work."  It really is.


The second way is by donating directly to us using our paypal link on the right. We need about 200 families to donate $20 and then we are completely covered financially. 

200 families x $20 = adoption process completely paid for!
 

The third way is for anyone wanting to donate, but is wanting it to be tax deductable.  You can go to our Reece's Rainbow page.  We're at http://reecesrainbow.org/38259/sponsoredwards-3.  We don't get to see who donates this way and I'd like to be able to say thank you.  Would you shoot me an email if you us our RR link?

Oh, and by the way, we got an update email on Friday and we're Skypin' on Sunday!  We're making progress. 




Friday, November 16, 2012

Psalm 103: 1-2

"Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—" Psalm 103:1-2 (NIV)

I love lyrics.  I can hear a song and the music can be complete genius, but I want to know the words.  Several months back, my Cindymom told me about a song.  It was called 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman.  It's now become my kinda "give myself a kick in the pants and thank God no matter what I'm feeling" theme song.  We've had some rough times.  Not only is there this WAIT hanging over our heads, but we lost a great furbaby, our oven broke, our microwave door broke, etc...  There's more, but I'll spare you the pity party.  It's so easy for me to wrap those thoughts around myself and let them take over.  As I type this out, I'm hoping for the phone to ring.  If there's going to be news today, we'll know pretty soon.  If not, there's a whole weekend of the not-knowing ahead of us and more of the WAIT.  This is the month of Thanksgiving and as Christians we are to give thanks in all situations even when we don't feel like it. Sometimes I think I have to make myself walk out what my heart isn't feeling. The thing is, no matter what today looks like there really are at least 10,000 Reasons for my heart to find.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oh, and by the way, my Ryan turned 17 last month



Well, I've been meaning to post this one for a little while now.  My oldest is on the brink of adulthood.  It's so bittersweet.  I am happy--really, but I'm a little sad, too.  I could so hang on forever.  I'm so proud of the man he's becoming.  One of my friends (since the 3rd grade!) asked me the other day what Ryan's plans were for after High School.  I wrote back, "Ummm...Ryan's never leaving home."  I even forwarded her part of the song that I'm putting down below. Teehee, yes I'll let him go and I'll be his biggest fan, but I sometimes wish we could just freeze time. This letting go thing is so much harder than I expected---and I expected it to be hard.  Now, however, it's upon us and I don't even really want to think about it.  So, on that note, I'll post a picture that Josh (one of my 14 year-olds) took and the lyrics to a song by Michael W Smith.

I like this picture.  It's missing his smile, but I like that Josh is on the other side of the
lens and you can see his artistic side.  He was working on the rule of thirds and backgrounds and Ryan's just standing there waiting.  Funny how a picture really can tell a whole story.
 
Fly to the Moon
 
Fly to the moon
Well, you could do it if you wanted to
Try flying high
The only limit is the endless sky
So, go on and fly to the moon

Live in the sun
You know your living has just begun
So much ahead
Don't let the night leave you for dead
So, come on, live in the sun

Fly to the moon
And when you find your wings I will celebrate with you
Watch you as you soar
Take the wishes that are yours
And let them fly you to the moon

Dream on a star
You can let it take you near or far
Feet on the ground
Don't let anybody hold you down
So, go on and dream on a star

Fly to the moon
And when you find your wings
I will celebrate with you
Watch you as you soar
Take the wishes that are yours
I know you can fly to the moon
You can do all things
I will celebrate with you
It's hard to let you go
Still, you have to go,
I know

So go on, fly to the moon
And as you spread your wings
I will celebrate with you
Hope we taught you good
Hope you know that if I could
I would fly away with you

I would fly away with you
I would fly away with you
I would fly away with you
I would fly away with you
I would fly away with you

Gotta take it all the way
When you follow dreams
Follow far
Flying high and away
You're flying all the way
To the moon

Friday, November 9, 2012

I know it's GREEN, but what else is about it?

About a month or so ago, a friend introduced me to these Kid History videos on Youtube.  They are my new favorite entertainment.  We all walk around quoting things from them.  Anyway, life's been a little serious around here lately and I needed a good belly laugh, so I thought you might enjoy a belly laugh, too.  Don't you love that God made us capable of having so many emotions and that joy and laughter are actually good for you? 

 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Upside-down headband cutie

It's been a full year since we first saw her picture.  A friend of mine forwarded me a photolisting of some waiting children at an orphanage in Taiwan.  There were 2 precious little girls with Down Syndrome on that list as well as several others and we began to pray about both of the girls.  If you have followed my blog from the beginning, you already know this story.  Anyway, over the course of a few months, we began to answer a series of questions from that orphanage.  Time went on and we still didn't know which little girl we would pursue an adoption of.  I would walk around our backyard and pray and cry.  I didn't want to be wrong and I didn't want to not choose one.  In the middle of December last year, I emailed a question about both girls and our caseworker wrote back, "Not your child."  In that moment I knew who our child was.  I turned around to tell Kyle, "It's Ling!"  I knew her.  She was meant to be ours.  It's an amazing thing to have everything click right into place and to know you've been looking at the face of your next child.

Here's the first picture we saw of her.  I called her the upside-down headband cutie
for a few months. :)  The girl can rock the upside-side down headband, no?



This is one of our most recent pictures.  She's grown a smidge from that first picture. 
Why do all kids seem to do that whether you want them to or not?  
 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

a·dopt (a-dopt)
tr.v. a·dopt·ed, a·dopt·ing, a·dopts
To take into one's family through legal means and raise as one's own child.
 
a·dop'tion  proc·ess 1 (pros'es, pro'ses) n. A series of actions, changes, or functions hopefully bringing about a finalized adoption that will involve multiple persons and organizations knowing every single thing about you.  It will probably be the biggest series of ups and downs you've ever experienced and you may be subjected to long waits leading into even longer waits.  You will check your email continually hoping for some news or some update.  Your arms may begin to feel empty and when you count your other children you keep coming up short---someone's missing.  Part of your heart seems to be in two different places all at once.  The question "when?" will be asked more times than you can count and you wish, I mean really wish, you had an answer. *sigh*
 
 
 
Okay, my adoption process definition is a little raw.  I'm really missing Avalyn today.  I can't really explain how I can miss someone I've only seen pictures of, read about, and met on Skype, but I do.  We're missing a little someone a great big bunch. 
 
So, all of that to say that we have no real update.  We're trapped somewhere in the Final Decree part waiting, waiting, waiting...
 
 
Isaiah 40:31
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
 
 
 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another question for our homework

As we have talked about questions that we think we might be asked, every now and then I'll throw one out to my kids to field.  Ryan's answer to one of my questions cracked me up, so I thought I'd share it.

Me:  What will you say if people ask why she looks different than us?
 
 
Ryan (16 year-old):  I'll just tell them that our whole family is Asian!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ranger 11/12/2004-10/14/2012

We had to say goodbye to one of our much loved furbabies on Sunday night.  I don't want to share the details, but I will say it was completely unexpected and we are very sad.  It's been a few days and we're starting to feel better.  The kids want to put together a memory box and I thought I'd list some of my favorite memories of our boy.

1.  Every morning he would get in bed with me when Kyle would get out. He would make this little excited squeeky sound and try to kiss me to wake me up. Kyle called him "the other man" on occasion.

2.  The boy absolutely LOVED bubbles!  He would try to catch them in his mouth.

3.  For years, I thought that he had stumpy ears.  It turns out that his ears were normal, but his body was a little extra big. 

4.  He also loved ice from the ice maker.

5.  He never met another living thing that he didn't try to befriend.

6.  For such and oversized dog, he had the wimpiest bark.

7.  He thought he was a lap dog.

8.  There was a game he would play.  We would call him in from the backyard and he would just look at us.  We would go out to get him and as soon as we got close, he would come bounding in all goofy and crooked.

9.  He was my cooking buddy and always laid in my way as I made dinner.

10.  He was completely made out of sweetness and love.

11.  Pixar may not claim it, but I secretly (and now not so secretly) believe that he was the inspiration for Dug in the movie Up.

12.  He would lay there and watch something and his eyebrows would take turns being raised.

13.  He loved hugs.

14.  There was a game he would play with Ryan.  It would go something like this:
      Ryan:  Rangerrrr
      Ranger: RRRRRR
      Ryan:  Rangerrrr
      Ranger:  RRRRRR
           etc...... They both loved it.

15.  We loved him as much as you can love a furbaby and we will miss him deeply.



 
This was from several years ago, but I LOVE his grin. 
He's sitting with Cailey and one of his fursiblings, Sophie.
 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Who will love me for me?

A friend sent me this video and I wanted to share it with you all.  They hosted one of the girls in the video this past summer. 

Something happened to us when we started our adoption process.  We really began to want to see other families adopt.  Every child deserves the love of a mommy and daddy and, while we can't adopt them all and we'd only be another orphanage if we did, we can tell other people and (hopefully) encourage them to pray and ask God what His plan is for them in the lives of these orphans we're called to love.  It's so easy to limit ourselves based on what we think a good adoptive parent should look like.  I'll warn you, too, other people may possibly tell you these things.  Let me tell you, though, God doesn't use perfect people!  He uses the flawed ones, like us.  So, if you're reading this, pray and seek God's will for your life.  You may not be called to adopt, but maybe by sharing this video, you'll reach someone who is.



I love the lyrics to this song.  When I watched it the first time, my youngest recognized the song and crawled into my lap while we watched it together.  She smelled like the soap and shampoo from her bath and she was wearing her most favorite princess nightgown and eating her breakfast.  The stark difference of her life and the lives of these orphans hit me hard!  My heart breaks for them.  In pictures that my mind really didn't want to grasp I began to wonder about those details for them.  I think part of me wants to turn off those emotions and not cry, but as I saw those faces in the crowded room with the beds I cried and cried.  I guess this is what "Break my heart for what breaks Yours" means.

 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

It's Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Since I'm no expert on the subject of Down syndrome and I'm 7 days late to the party, I'll do homestudy homework instead.  When we had our family homestudy visit, our caseworker asked us to make a list of questions and answers to have ready when people wanted to know things about our adoption--especially those awkward questions.

                                    


So, this blog post will be question #1.

Why would you adopt a child when you already have 5, especially one with Down syndrome that you may have to parent your whole life?  You did know that didn't you?

I think I'll answer the first part of the question with a quote.  I've heard that Mother Theresa didn't actually say these words, but she's the only one to whom I can give due credit,
"Saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers."
 
Yep, you caught us!  We really love being parents.  The thought of more brings us happiness, not stress. The other answer to that first part of the question is simple.  God called us to this. 

Now, for the "Down syndrome parenting our whole life" question.  Yes, we knew that when we started considering a special needs adoption.  You know what?  We're okay with that!  I want to be careful here with my words, so be patient while I stumble over myself.  We want the absolute best for her and our other children.  If that means she will live independently as an adult, great!  If that means that we get the honor of parenting our whole life, awesome!  Love never gives up! 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Savannah is 6!!!!



Well, my little redheaded spunky girl is 6 as of today.  It's always bittersweet for me.  I love watching them get older, but I want each year to last longer.  The years really do zoom right on by.  Savannah just wanted a quiet family night with some Chick-fil-A and turtle pie.  The kids are upstairs playing with all the new treasures so I have a few quiet moments to post some pictures.

Oh, on her very last day of being 5 she read her very first book!  Sorry if you got that same message in an email.  I'm only clever in random spurts. :)




officially 6







 

Happy Birthday, sweet Savannah!  We love you right up to the moon and back!  I love Josh in the background blowing out the candles with her.  Nothing like a little moral support.







Monday, October 1, 2012

A Letter for Future Spouses

When we first had Ryan back in 1995 we read some wonderful books.  One of the best bits of advice we ever read was that, in parenthood, you start with the "full on" parenting and then slowly let go.  You let them begin to make their own decisions as you watch from the sidelines.  To go in reverse, to be lax in parenting and then tighten up, will only cause rebellion.  So far, this has proven true in our family.  We don't have rebellious teens.  We have teens that are in the process of gaining independence and planning for the future.  Of course, we're still parenting, but we're allowing them to grow-up.  Yes, this means less advice and much more listening as they work through new stuff.  Guiding where needed, but letting go bit by bit.  In the process of raising children into adulthood, there are some topics that we've been talking about lately.  Sexual purity, God's calling for a job, choosing a spouse, being a spouse, etc...  The hard stuff.  In this quest to raise Godly children we're looking to walk with the wise.  To find people who have "been there, done that" with success. 

I found this letter a while back and I'm going to share it.  Let me preface it by saying that there are no double standards here.  The spouses we want our children to find reflect the kind of spouse we want our children to be.  I love this letter.  It's the pursuit of Holiness rather than the pursuit of Happiness. 

This letter can be found at http://raisinghomemakers.com/2012/a-letter-to-my-children-about-marriage/.  It was written by Kelly.  Her blog is http://www.generationcedar.com/main/

Dear Children,

Should the Lord give you the good gift of a husband or wife, and I hope He does, there are a few things I want you to know. Things that you may not hear from anyone else, and certainly not on TV or other media. Sadly, your church may not even tell you.
Marriage, sweet little people, is not for the purpose of your happiness. Happy as I want you to be and hope you will be, you must yet understand that marriage is God’s design and His purposes must be pursued in order for you to be truly happy. His end is holiness and He will use all things in a life devoted to Him to fulfill that end.

To my girls:
Marry a man whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, he is not hard to please. Admire him, cheer him on and show gratitude, and he will fall over himself trying to please you. Smile often, speak well of him always, and do whatever necessary to try and maintain a pleasant mood about you so that it transfers to your home, making it a place where he and your children love to be.
You’ll have bad days of course, crying days even, and that’s when you go to your bedroom, kneel on the floor and beg the Lord to carry you. Then get up, get a fresh perspective (crayons will come off the wall), and try again. Above all else, make a home.

To my boys:
Marry a woman whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, she may be hard to please ;-) only if you don’t know “the secret”. What is that? I’m glad you asked. The secret to pleasing your wife is to make her feel safe and treasured. You may have to move out of your comfort zone to do this at times. She won’t always readily translate the oil change to love, though it means that. But let me give you a “secret question”–a question you need to ask her often. It’s not just in the asking, though. Be sure to focus your eyes on hers, maybe even touch her shoulder or face, and then ask: “What’s on your mind these days? “ And then be ready to listen. She wants you to draw her out. She will perceive this as your protection over the matters of her heart. Tenderness, listening, protection. That’s what she wants.

To you all:
If your wife or husband does something really stupid, forgive. If they do it again, forgive again. Forgiveness must be the propelling force in your lives each day. Dwell on the strengths, push out thoughts of their weaknesses. Take every thought captive–choose to love.
Here’s that part you are not going to hear often:
If you find yourself “not happy”, having lost attraction, disinterested, etc., you are not permitted to even think about a divorce. If you find yourselves arguing more and more, don’t think for a minute that “the children will be better off out of this”, because they won’t.
The vows you took on your wedding day were not suggestions. They were covenant vows, before a Holy God, family and friends, to stay with this person the rest of your life, even if you don’t feel like it. You swore a solemn oath and if you can’t live up to it, don’t get married. Decide up front that your marriage is irrevocable. There is far more motivation for getting along if your “marriage house” has no door.

Do not share intimate thoughts or feelings with anyone of the opposite sex. Do not find yourself alone for any length of time with such either.

Divorce is not a “private option”. It will affect multiple families for many generations. When you “separate what God has joined” you permanently injure far more than just yourself.

Guard your marriage as fiercely as you would guard your own life. Treat your spouse as an extension of your flesh, just as God sees you. Treat your spouse like other family members. You know, “you gotta love ‘em, they’re the only family you’ve got”.

I want you to be happy, I surely do. But I will pray for you to be holy.

Friday, September 28, 2012

James 1 (not just 27...)

I think almost anyone who has adopted or is in the process of adopting has James 1:27 memorized---FOREVER!

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Well, last night, as I was praying for our court date and reading my bible, I read, (I mean really read) James 1.  It made me laugh out loud!  I called Kyle over to show him, too.  I'll give you just a few verses, but too funny how much of it really applies to adoption.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.



Well, our court date was last night (September 28 in Taiwan time, so last night and early morning our time).  Everything went well!  The judge requested a copy of the Texas adoption laws.  I found them and now they will be translated into Mandarin for the judge's reading enjoyment. 

I painted my toenails like 10 little ladybugs (Chinese symbol for a "match" in adoption) to remind me that God sets the lonely in homes, He makes the "match".  A photographer friend of mine, Kelly McG (Remember our bluebonnet photo session fundraiser?  Yep, that Kelly McG.) took a picture of them and I had taken one so, here they are:

my picture



Kelly McG's pic

If I had known they'd professionally photographed, I would've taken more time on them. :) 

Thank you for all of you who prayed!  It really, really means so much to us.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Miss Cailey turned 12!

On September 6, 2000 my sweet Cailey girl was born.  This year as part of her birthday she wanted to get her ears pierced. 

I think this girl either feels no pain or had the absolute bestest ear piercing lady in the whole wide world.
Marking the spot.  She was a little nervous but mostly excited.

All done!  She said it didn't feel like much of anything.  She wasn't even sure if the lady was done. 
I don't know if you can see it, but that's a puffy heart earring in that ear.

Cailey's birthday ice cream (she chose cookies and cream and birthday cake as her flavors)
and movie in the background.  This was on her actual birthday---just a few days before
she got her ears pierced.




Happy Birthday, sweet Cailey girl!  You are a wonderful blessing to us and we love you so much!
 


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Photo Book


Click here to view this photo book larger
Build your own high-quality photo books at Shutterfly.com.


We made this book to send to our munchkin in Taiwan.  Kyle helped me write it.  Okay, he did most of the writing. :) We're praying for God to prepare her heart for us and thought this book might be a neat start.  This is part of preparing our fields for rain---tomorrow I will do munchkin laundry.  We're walking out crazy faith right now.  Part of me wants to hold back, but I know that's not what love does. 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

New International Version (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.

 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Facing The Giants - Prepare for rain



I love Kendrick Brothers movies and this is one of my favorite scenes from Facing the Giants.  So, if you're wondering what our family is doing lately...we're preparing for rain. :)

If you haven't seen this movie (or Fireproof, Courageous, or Flywheel) run, don't walk!  Go watch 'em!

Nothing to update, yet.  Thank you for praying for us and encouraging us as we prepare our fields.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Second day of school 2012....

We got update pictures and a report from the orphanage!  Woohoo!!!!

Happy Birthday to somebody.  I'm not sure who.  If it's for our little Miss, than this was taken back in December.



This girl can rock some piggies!!!!
love.....

Monday, August 27, 2012

First day of School 2012

Well, it's here!  School time.  We're a homeschooling family and this year I am teaching an 11th grader, two 9th graders, a 6th grader, and a Kindergartener!  The subjects include Algebra 2, Algebra 1, 6th grade math, K math, Chemistry, Geography, Government/Economics, U.S. History, Language Arts, and more!   Now, in all fairness, there is a wonderful man by the name of Steve that teaches all of the math right in our living room.  He's great!  He says "two-ty" instead of twenty and "three-ty" instead of thirty.  We've all grown very, very fond of him.  I love those DVD's.  I love that I don't have to really teach Algebra 2.  I even love the corny jokes.

Today was Savannah's very first day of school EVER!  One of the assigned readings (me reading to her) was Little Bo Peep.  I had no idea what that rhyme really said.  Bo Peep is not quite the lady I remembered. She's tougher!  And, while I really enjoyed her in Toy Story and Toy Story 2, I wonder if she was not in Toy Story 3 (not even referred to!) because Woody was finally made aware of her lambs' tails.  Those poor lambs lost their tails.  That's bad enough, right?  Bo Peep finds them, dries them, (my oldest kid says it would have to be dried of the blood) and then she reattaches them. Hmmm....in college I took a semester of Children's Lit.  Disney has improved on many of those stories.  Well, in some ways.  They did away with some of the gore.  That's probably good.  I guess I thought Mother Goose was different.  I'm not disappointed at all---just surprised I never caught it.  Woody, though, was Woody disappointed?

Anyway, we all learned a little something new today so here are some pictures of our first day of school.

Welcome back packs 
Yes, those are socks.  Seriously, my boys were thrilled!  Who knew?  Christmas may be a whole lot cheaper this year...

Up close of Savannah's because it's her very first day EVER!  The girls got glitter pencils and the boys got Lego ones.  The older kids all write in cursive, but the big printed labels were for the Kindergartener. 
They actually got soda, too!  That's a rare treat in our house.

the fab 5
(L-R) Ryan, Cailey, Josh, Savannah, and Brett
I'm really ready to start calling them the sensational 6 (maybe super 6?)  We're missing one.
 
 
 
Miss Savannah's first day EVER!
 
 
 
 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Two years ago today...

my dad went home to be with Jesus.  I have decided to share an email I sent the day after he died with you all.  I still miss him, but I know I'll see him again and now his body is whole and complete.  I kept this email because there was something beautiful intermingled with the sad that I want to hang onto for always.

Well, my dad was already with Jesus by the time I got to their house yesterday.  He had died about an hour earlier and Billy missed it too. We could see the body that held him but I missed that last breath.  I didn't even ring the doorbell...Heather opened the door first and I knew.  Then I went from her arms to somebody else's and somebody else's and somebody else's.  I know somewhere in the mix I hugged Heather, Cindymom, Terri (Billy's wife), Billy, and the Chaplain.  Maybe more people...I don't know.  I think I cried the hardest with Terri. Then I went and held my dad's hand.  Cindymom and Heather came back with me and soon Kyle.  He got the kids settled first.  When I had talked to Heather earlier I asked her to hold my dad's hand until I got there and bless her heart she did----and she told my dad that I was coming.  She and Cindymom  were holding his hands as he died.  I'm not sure if he heard her or anything else that day.  He was non-responsive for most of it.  I'm not sure but I think he may have been more in Heaven than on Earth yesterday.  The kids came back after and they cried.  Later I was able to bring them back in and talk about Jesus dying on the cross and that as sure as He saw my dad's sin He saw this day too.  He looked ahead to August 25, 2010 and did it so that sin couldn't separate my dad from our God and as His arms stretched out in death so long ago they stretched out in a welcoming hug as my dad went on to his ultimate healing. 
Today I remember how hard yesterday was.  I remember the worry of waiting, the rush to get there, and the sadness of good-byes.  I know soon God will start to replace those memories with some happier ones.  Then soon it will be an intermingling of sweetness and sorrow and gradually mostly sweetness. 
On Sunday, when my dad was in the hospital, he kept having very vivid dreams.  One time, while he was dreaming, his feet were just moving so fast---he was running.  When he woke up we asked him what he had dreamed.  He had dreamed that he was running to get out of the rain.  I know that he missed those days of being able to walk, to breathe, and really just to live and enjoy life.  He still wanted to be here but his body just wasn't doing it anymore.  I am actually happy that he is using some perfect legs and breathing without a struggle.  What joy it must have been for him!
Our day was filled with sadness but still there was laughter.  I think God had my sweet children with us both for them but for us as well.  Thanks to Savannah and Uncle Bill, all of Cindymom's bears have been renamed things like Strawberry, Strawlarry, and Strawterri.... Uncle Bill made mucous and eyeball pies with Savannah (pretend, of course) and while there were many, many times of tears and sadness God managed to make us laugh through the playfulness of a little one.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Children Of God" - Official Music Video



This video holds a very tender spot in my heart.  Back in November right before we saw our munchkin's picture I saw this video.  It still makes me cry.  It's been my theme song for our adoption---God even arranged for it to be played it for us on the radio as we headed out to our first homestudy visit at the agency's office.


1 John 3:1 NIV
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I have engraved you on the palms of my hands...

Isaiah 49:15-16

15“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.


I saw this verse on a video a friend sent me.  Isn't it the coolest?  Our munchkin's birthmom did not forget her---her story is a little different but, I love the promise here.  She is engraved on the palms of His hands!

Still no word from the judge.  So while we wait, a little munchkin goodness... This was one of the very first pictures we ever saw of her.

Before we knew she was ours, I called her the little upside-down-headband-cutie.
I'd be lying if I didn't say that this wait has been harder than any of the others.  Still, I know what God's word says and trusting in His plan.  Oh, how much we love this little girl!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

This I know...

Well, we've hit our first bump in the road.  The judge rejected our family.  We were given a chance to send in some more information and it's all been sent.  There was a rush and now, as is the way of adoption, we wait for yet another decision.  It's been a really tough 9 days---really tough.  We love this girl so very much.  I hesitated to write this blog, but I promised to be real in my first very first post. Anyway, I've had 9 days to pray and seek God and this is what I know:

We prayed about this adoption and have seen God move miraculously over and over again.  Whether it was money or timing He has always provided---ALWAYS. 

Psalm 68:5
A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation.

Psalm 68:6
God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Romans 8:28
 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Ephesians 6:12
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

James 1:27
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

Our God is in adoption!  We know how much He loves her and so we trust Him, again.  We are seeking His will and praying and waiting and praying and waiting.  If you would like to battle with us by praying, we would love that.