Saturday, September 27, 2008

Things to Think About

"It is our part to seek, His to grant what we ask; our part to make a beginning, His to bring it to completion; our part to offer what we can, His to finish what we cannot." ~ Saint Jerome

Please keep this family in your prayers. Susannah has a long road ahead of her, but we can be encouraged,inspired and blessed by the steadfast faith of her parents and family. Susannah has two very special older brothers, who want their sister home with them. We continue to pray for this family of five and for their bonding to one another. For any of us who have adopted internationally, we know well the challenge of attachment in the best of circumstances. Leslie, Charlie and their boys have an added dimension of complexity in Susannah's current health needs. Susannah, you are so loved and so is your family. We will continue to pray...

I have posted about Jeremy many times. My heart is heavy with the update that Jeremy has gone home to Jesus this week. That red thread...well, it lives and breathes in our family. Jeremy is extended mother's cousin's son. However, life has brought our hearts together many times. Jeremy was a son, a brother, a husband, a father...he was an educator, a coach, a bright shiny spot on this earth. Jeremy died at 31 years of age. As much as we all know we have a day, a day when God calls us home, it is never the right time to lose someone we love. Please pray for Jeremy's wife, Kim. Please pray for his babies, Jeremy, 2 and Jax, 6 mos. Pray for his parents, Carolyn and Joe and for his amazing brother, Jon and his family. Jeremy, now you will feel no pain, your peace will be His peace.

Finally, Rob and I went last evening to see this movie...

All I can say is GO! Go to the theaters, get this message. I am blessed with a good marriage. Is there room for improvement? Sure, always. This makes me think about all the ways I can be a better wife, partner. Never leave your partner behind, especially in a fire. Makes you think, huh?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back to the Basics

**Continue to keep Susannah and her parents in your prayers. They are prepared for travel in the next 24 hours - God is so good. Their site is linked below:) **

"The proper perspective creates within us a spirit of reaching outside of ourselves with joy and enthusiasm. ~ Luci Swindoll

This weekend, Daddybug had plans to help one of my former youth leaders and his son. Our friend's son, a Marine, just re-upped for three more years. He will be relocated the beginning of 2009 and his home needs to be sale-ready. They road-tripped to his current location and stayed for the weekend, working into the wee hours. I am so thrilled God presented him with this opportunity.

In the meantime, I was busy considering. Considering how busy we have been in this new school year. It felt like time for some downtime. I convinced my parents to join the girls and I for a day trip to Amish country. It was wonderful. We have been many times before but somehow, this weekend, it was rich in the joy of a child.

We took a buggy ride and the girls were invited to sit with the driver, Caleb. He and his father run this particular buggy business, his father was Amish as a child, and he left to pursue his own dreams. Caleb said they live very much like the Amish except with a big screen TV and cell phones:) He said the values are still there and the expectations are unwaivering.

I noticed that instead of Mc*Cain and Ob*ama signs, the lawns were littered with signs of hope, scripture and love. I noticed that kids were outside working their produce stands but stepped away to play ball, ride their bikes and chase one another, things we rarely see in our busy little towns. I noticed the manner in which the young people addressed their elders, whether they knew them or not. I noticed the peace. I noticed the pace, steady and hard, not frenetic or panicky. I noticed the people. They smiled and virtually everyone we encountered commented or touched Emily's red curls and asked her about her sister.

More importantly, my children noticed. It is important to know how others live, to see people in their element and discover those things you can bring back to your own life. Perspective cannot be gained living within the boxes we create for ourselves. Perspective must be gained by taking time to enjoy one another, to teach one another, to observe together. I returned from our day renewed, recharged and really thankful.

Waiting for their Buggy Ride

On the buggy - not the easiest angle to get their smiling faces!


Emily begged for a pony ride

So, Hannah did as well:)

Milking the "cow"

How you do dat Em?

See, I do it too! I millded de cowwwww!

Set 'em up...


YESS! Emily LOVED the corn bowling!

Hannah had a different strategy in mind...

That's our Hannah!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday

They have re-opened their blog! If you would like to offer words of encouragement to this family, in China right now, please visit them here. I am thankful today for the power of prayer, for the willingness of people to lift others, strangers perhaps, but just the same, to go before the Lord and petition on their behalf.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


This evening while checking on some blogs and getting ready to go to bed - I discovered a blog that had posted a need for urgent prayers. I do not know this family, have never even visited their site, yet, somehow I ended up there this week.

I had posted a picture from another bloggers site, but felt led to remove it to preserve their privacy at this time.

The short version is this...they are in China right now. They went to the Civil affairs building to meet their precious daughter. They waited a very long time before being told their daughter was too sick and was in the hospital. She is not doing well and they need a multitude of prayer to get this sweet little girl home, so that she can receive the medical intervention she requires right now.

Their blog has been made private, so though we cannot access them to offer love and support, we can continue to pray for this family. They offered they will need mountain moving faith to get the items accomplished to bring their daughter home. For those of us, who believe, we get on our knees and seek to move that mountain.

"I assure you: If anyone says to this mountain, "Be lifted up and thrown into the sea," and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:23-24

The Wheels on the Bus


So, we executed Plan B and walked through our neighborhood (the lonnnnng way) back home. Thank you, God that it was not raining:) But, we did miss the girls' dentist appointments. I think Emily and Hannah were secretly very happy about our snafu.

It was the finale to a days worth of snafus and well, here's to hoping Tuesday looks better than Monday did!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Even the Roses Have Thorns - A Thankful Thursday Post

"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says, do not fear, I will help you." Isaiah 41:13

On this most memorable day in history, I am slightly awed that seven years have passed since the terrible events of 9-11. I think often of those families, their children born during that time, the same age as our Emily. I think of their sacrifice, many unwilling participants in a fate they had no idea was upon them. And, of course, I find myself thankful for so many reasons. Most of all, I am thankful for every man and woman who make it so that we are free and look to ensure we are safe.

This week has been an emotionally challenging one. On Saturday, I was just going into the dentist to begin a root canal I was dreading. My mother called, upset. Very upset. Her cousin's son, whom I have mentioned here before (Jeremy)was back in the hospital and yet, again fighting tongue cancer. Jeremy is younger than I and has a beautiful wife and two beautiful little boys. He will heal, he will get through this, but the struggle they have to endure is tiresome and scary at best. The beauty of this time in his life has been touched by the thorns and I hope you will join me in lifting him and his family as he gets well.

Just before that occurred, I received a phone call from a dear friend, who left me a message to call her back. I was pressed for time, so I called and quickly left her a detailed message about her son's upcoming wedding and the bridal shower we would all be attending. She was calling to tell me that unfortunately, neither the shower nor the wedding would be taking place, as his fiancee decided that this was a vow she could not take. I spent time with him on Sunday, and though he will be fine, it will take time for him to heal and cover over the places where the thorns have invaded.

And this, our little rose, attended her first preschool class on Wednesday. She was a champion, marching down the hall, attitude fully adjusted and going straight to her favorite toys upon arrival. I assured her I would be back and I slipped out of the room. I felt like a heel. She did very well. When the teacher opened the door, they were seated at the table with their backpacks on. Hannah was one of the first called and she bounded into the hallway and jumped into my arms, and yelled, "Mommmmmy!" (insert huge smile). Some of the other moms who had endured the wait alongside us, filled up as they watched. She says she wants to go back next week. Thank you, God for building trust in our family, for helping Hannah (and Mommy) to be brave and for speaking in that still small voice to my heart that she could do this. We will take each week as it comes and continue to pray that she likes and wants to go to her playgroup.

What I was not expecting about this experience was the flashback it would give me. I suppose this was my very own thorn this week. When Emily was two, attending the same class, in the same room, we had a very difficult year. To protect my own heart, I have blocked much of it out, but the sight, smell and even the pattern on the curtains brought back this wave of grief I was not prepared for. That was the year our son was stillborn. That was the year I suffered a terrible depression. It was a very, very hard year.

The blessing about grief is that sometimes it brings about change. And so in reliving some of the moments from that year, I discovered that was also the year we began our adoption. And as beautiful as a precious rose, it comes full circle with our little girl home and now two years old. I am thankful for the hardships, the grief, the pain. God carried us through and He knew His plan was far greater than anything I could have dreamed.

Finally, I am thankful for friends, both cyber and real-life. A passing word, an encouragement or acknowledgement, these people reach in and touch our lives. This week, I am especially thankful for Michelle and Stefanie. Michelle was one of several people who emailed regarding our family photo and removing our lady friend from Rob's shoulder. Thank you to all of you, who had suggestions or offered to assist. With all that Michelle has on her plate (two gorgeous daughters included;), she took some time to correct the picture and email it back to me in lightning speed. Thank you Michelle for showing such kindness. Visit her blog to say hi, you will be touched and amazed by this beautiful family.

And Stefanie...she nominated our blog for a bloggy award - humbled and grateful about sums it up. You can visit Stef and send her some love, she is an inspiration, a warm and wonderful woman with so many gifts. She is a daughter of the King and the mama to eight (no, not a typo, eight) magnificent children. She continually inspires me with her humor, truth and devotion to that which is most critical in life. Simply put, you rock, Stef.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Rest of the Story

"There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord." 1 Corinthians 12:4-5

Just as Paul Harvey has dug deep for the rest of the story since World War II, so too do bloggers seek to reveal the "rest of the story" as life swirls about us.

Last weekend, while at the beach I proclaimed that one evening we would be going to the beach, dressed for the occasion and that Mommy would be getting some summertime pictures to get us through the dreary days of winter. Not meeting with the usual groans and eye-rolling, I felt this was the beginning of a successful endeavor.

And so, after a day filled with sand in our suits and surf on our faces, we retreated to clean up and ultimately land ourselves back on the very same rocks to capture the magic. When we arrived we were among literally thirty to forty others seeking that very same magic for their families. There were grandparents with grandchildren, babies crying, newly engaged couples, small families, big families, most easily distinguished by the tell-tale matching shirts and short sets.

We settled into our little spot, happy...comfy as Hannah put it. Emily is usually my muse, posing, laughing, playing. She enjoys the camera and loves to mug for it. This was not so from her two year old birthday until sometime after she was three, but as suspected her fear of the lens was conquered and now, she is a most willing subject.

Nice people stopped and admired our little family. We stopped and admired other families and at the beginning all went as planned. Now, I am not a great photographer. I am not ashamed to admit this and know that now, I will probably need to join a little blogging help group, "Hello, my name is Heather and I have very few great shots to post on my blog..." But, my ambition was in high gear and our first pics were really quite acceptable to me.

We got a good family shot, which I would have loved were it not for the little woman growing out of Rob's shoulder

Hannah was particularly compliant (after several lollypops and a big fat dinner) for a feisty two year old.

Remarkably, the girls even enjoyed one another, sitting together without the usual, "she's touching meeeeeeeeeeee" and Hannah pulling on Emily begging her to walk with her.

The sun was was beautiful. The waves lapped quietly up onto the beach, so inviting - and this is where the story takes a bit of an unexpected turn...There were five or six families behind us as the girls ran into the water to frolic. Em was loving life. Hannah loved it until she realized the three tiers of her dress were very heavy when wet. As she emerged from the sea, disgruntled and slightly miffed that the water would have the nerve to make her wet, she shouted, "Hannah, dress OFF!" To which we responded, "No, Hannah dress ON." I assure you, I turned my back for one brief second to get my lens cap on, when I hear uproarious laughter. Emily and all five families broke into hysterics as we viewed this

The picture is considerably blurry because I had to scramble to catch the moment before capturing her and dropping her back into her soggy dress:) Hannah has the gift of tenacity and apparently, the beautiful gift of humor. Several of the families thanked us, admitting it is the best picture they have gotten of their kids in years.

Hannah will begin preschool this week, she is in a tiny class of playgroup students one morning a week. Emily began in this same class, what seems like yesterday. There was a parent meeting this morning and her teacher was bright and bushy-tailed citing "what a fun year this will be". Oh, Mrs. Miller, you don't know the half of it!!

And that folks, is the rest of the story:)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Thursday's Child Has Far to Go

Monday's Child Poem

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Emily is a Thursday's child, she enters each day with boundless joy and relishes every moment, even the most mundane. Her teacher, last year, commented that her smile is pure sunshine and her enthusiasm is unmatched. I used to think this poem relegated Thursday's child to long, tiresome roads ahead of them, but quite conversely, I think that this little girl is going far because she will choose to go far. She will be mentored to go far, and she will be encouraged by each new skill and success she encounters.

She was chosen this year to "buddy" a new student and she wore her title like a badge of honor, taking seriously the task of showing her new friend the bathroom and lunch room and most importantly the playground:) At Open House, she promptly seated herself at the left hand of her new playmate and extended her hand to shake it. She thought a second and then extended both arms and decided a hug would be more appropriate. So. Very. Emily.

Emily is our wanderlust child...she wanders, her mind wanders; there are times we find ourselves corraling her in. I recognize now that the wanderlust that used to aggrivate me and frighten me is the same vehicle that drives her imagination and intellect. I cannot wait to see where she goes with first grade. She was excited to go back to school, to see her friends, to know her new teacher (who is adorable, with her red hair;)

My dear friend, Sharon often says that Emily has a timeless quality to her, a sincerity and gift of encouragement. In that spirit, I cannot wait to hear about her day, this new chapter and all the places she will go...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Farewell Summer

"There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven:...He has made everything beautiful in it's time." Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 3:11

"...For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it is always ourselves we find in the sea." ~ e.e. cummings

"...and summer's lease hath all too short a date..." ~ William Shakespeare


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