Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thankful Thursday

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you." Numbers 6:24-25

This day I am thankful for

Gerry (Aunt Gerry for us:), caring for all those wonderful children

The staff at Emily's school...from finding lost hats, to praying with students, to solving student conflict and escorting each child to their parent at the end of the day, these people love the Lord and love the children. Many of them are parents themselves and as I watched them during this week's storms and winds, outside, putting others' needs before their own, I thought about how grateful I am for each and every one of them. Their devotion and dedication does not go unnoticed. Thank you CCA staff for the blessing you are to our families.

For continued work for my husband. In these uncertain times, each new job that comes in assures us of food on our table and the mortgage being paid. There are no words to express the peace that comes from knowing there will be a next job and a next after that.

Prayer and the friendships that go along with it. A good friend just had surgery, another had a baby, another is battling pancreatic cancer and yet another is rejoicing a meeting that went extraordinarily well. I have a friend that is contemplating another adoption and one who just confirmed they will be adopting a third child. Sometimes, my words and actions are insignificant, yet, in prayer, God can do big things and I can be a part of that. I like knowing that we support one another, and feel comforted that I have friendships flourishing because they are covered in prayer. For this unity, I am thankful.

Here, in the world o' blog, it is customary to pass along nominations for favorite blogs, folks that make us smile, cause us to think or just rock us with their daily "stuff". In the past six weeks, I have been nominated for several bloggy awards and I want to say I am thankful. I have posted icons on the sidebar of the nominations our blog has received. I have not passed them along (which I know is against the rules) but I would be hard pressed to find the blogs that have not been nominated already or limit it to five or six friends. So, many, many thanks to those of you who follow and keep in touch. We are so grateful to you and these "feel the love" awards, help me to be encouraged to leave our blog public and to post more often.

Wednesdays are tough days. Emily is on the go from morning til night. The one thing about Wednesdays that we love is that it is the night I have a "date night" with her. After dance, we eat dinner together and then I take her to Awana. The trip to eat and then the trip to the church and back home give us lots of time to chat. I love this time. Last night, it was late, she had lost her hat three times during the day, which apparently upset her and she forgot to take extra shoes to change into, so I knew her little mind was tired. As we pulled into the driveway, an ambulance whizzed past us and this little sweetheart says, "Mom, I really want to pray for the person in the ambulance and their family." (snivel) So, without boring you with the details of what my heart felt at that moment, I must admit how thankful I am for this child's heart.

Selfishly, I am thankful for the time I get to spend with our little sparkplug. When Emily was little and it was just she and I during the days, I was grateful beyond measure for that time. Sure, I cleaned the house and organized our lives, tasks I still have, in addition to working part time, but the moments, the everyday moments continue to bless me (and hopefully them). So, I am thankful for Hannah...for her funny little ways and for all the times she has said "Hold me, Mommy." and I can. I am thankful.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Muse

Today a small Q & A.

Dear Heather,

Your girls always look sooooooooooooooo happy. Is it always that way?

Apparently Not...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Fall Days with Our Little Pumpkins:)

Last week, bloggy buddy, Lisa cruised into town for a much needed vacation with her family. Fortunately for us, she, Don and Lindy carved out some time to spend with us and we were so blessed to finally meet. If you follow her blog or reside somewhere here in the blogosphere, you have become familiar with Lisa's innate ability to encourage and say the right thing at the right time. Somewhere along the line, Lisa stepped out on a limb and contacted me. We discovered so many similarities and gratefully accepted the red thread was hard at work. Lisa is a fiercely loyal friend and a truly beautiful woman with an equally beautiful soul. As scary as it is to meet someone at the other end of an email, the joy that comes from it (at least in this case)far surpasses the fears we may have harbored before meeting. Although seeing each other may be extremely limited due to distance, I have no doubt that our families will remain dear and cherished friends for a lifetime. Thank you red thread, you continue to weave such a magnificent tapestry.

Lindy and Emily

Happy, happy Lindy

Calling all princesses...

In the spirit of friendship, we are also thankful for Gabrielle and her family. Gabrielle has been a wonderful friend to Emily and a sweet "sister" to Hannah.

We love you Gabrielle and enjoy the moments we get to spend with you:)

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tell Me the Story of Me...

I have been sitting on these pictures for a few weeks now, unsure whether I would post them or not. To view these pictures, one may not think they are very special, quite conversely, though the quality of these snapshots may be poor, the richness in their story is incredibly important. I had to sneak around the girls to get the pictures, as not to disturb the discussion happening:)

Emily had decided to spend a day with her grandparents in Lancaster. She was waiting for them to pick her up and she sat down to read. She chose Hannah's storybook that Adoption Voyages created for our family (thank you Chet and Dusty, it is priceless). I was painting in the powder room with Hannah at my feet when Hannah disappeared. And then I heard them, "Once upon a time, there was a little baby in China..."

Emily was telling Hannah her story.

They pointed at the pictures and recounted each detail with great precision. And it got me to thinking about the details. About how God is in every one, the details, He is in every single detail. The parking spot I found when I was hurried, the gift I found for a friend that felt perfect for her, the classroom my child learns in, the friends we have made, and on and on.

I remember about ten years ago, I had just secured a new position as a Youth Director in my home church. The hours were long, but the pay was not sufficient to sustain me. I had just discovered that I was getting a divorce and my soon-to-be ex-husband had dropped our insurance all together. I had Chrohn's disease and the medications totalled over $700 without insurance. I didn't have it. I called my mother from the pharmacy and she graciously gave her credit card that I might have my medicine. I got in my car and cried, sobbed more aptly describes it. I felt so alone and not even my faith felt strong enough to weather this storm. But, it was. As I drove home, I felt the Lord speak to me, "Go to the Administration Building." It seemed a very silly sentence and I drove past the road with the school administration building four or five times before answering obediently.

Once inside, I told the receptionist that I needed a job. "Are you a teacher?" Hmmm, no. "Well, what do you do?" I didn't know how to answer that question for that moment, but God gave me the words and soon she was rifling through postings to find a match to my skill set. That would set in motion a series of events that would land me a job in the classroom with children affected by autism. I didn't see it then, but oh, how God was in the details of that interaction.

In the meantime, my divorce would become final and I would meet and marry Rob (details, people, details:) I worked both jobs until Emily was born in 2002. We then made the choice for me to stay home with our daughter. Settled on that decision, God wasn't quite done yet. I received a phone call from a mother wanting me to work privately with her son, Ray. I have been with Ray for six years. In those years, I have been blessed to enter and exit their home like a family member. I also met other therapists in that home. Gerry. Jim's wife.

Now, for those of you who have followed us from the beginning, most of this you know. But for those just jumping on board, Gerry was also one of Ray's therapists. Her husband Jim (Uncle Jimmy) assisted Rob on the trip to China to bring Hannah home. When Gerry and Jim called us to let us know they had prayed, and God had called Jim to help us with this all-important task of bringing our daughter home, we couldn't believe it, but see, God knew. He had the details worked out long before we could have known. Down. to. the. very. last. one. Our trip was pushed up one week, the exact dates of Uncle Jimmy's vacation, planned months before. God is in the details.

On Friday, I went with Emily's class to the nature center for a field trip. We waited in the vestibule of school for the buses. Through the front door came Uncle Jimmy with his grandson, Jamieson to visit Gerry, who happens to be the receptionist for Emily's school, now. (details:) As I watched him hold that sweet little boy, it was no different than the way he held our daughter for two weeks in China. This weekend, for the first time since Rob, Jim and Hannah have been home our family watched all four tapes recorded in China. Two men and a baby, who would have believed how tender this story could be? God. He planned every detail. From that first moment when Hannah lovingly gazed into Rob's eyes, to the moments that followed when she stroked his cheek and clung to his chest. Other moments would include Hannah embracing Uncle Jimmy and two incredible men making this tiny scared baby, laugh belly laughs for the camera and say "mama" for the very first time. God knew who would complete the task. A journey ten years in the making...God was in every single detail.

In my current Bible Study, I reflected over this verse in Jeremiah,

"The word of the Lord came to me saying, Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:4-5

completely confirming for me the truth that God is in the details in a way that we can never understand. I am so thankful for the mundane, daily details He shows Himself in like two sisters sharing the miraculous history of their union. And I continue to stand amazed at the big details, the ones we cannot possibly fathom that make up the foundation of our very faith.

Which details did you see Him in today?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Pumpkin in the Hand...

Is like two on the vine!

The first weekend of October, we had a little time to spare and so, we did what every other family did in that lovely weather...we toured the pumpkin patch. We tried a new farm this year and were so happy we did. There were hayrides, pony rides, corn mazes, music, and the obvious, pumpkins:)We picked our pumpkins right off of the vine, which was incredibly fun. (and very hard, those curlicues like to hold on!)

We always look forward to carving our pumpkins. Emily, especially loves making jack-o-lanterns and takes great delight in discovering new expressions we can carve into their little faces. It is a learning time for Emily and Hannah and so we will be using the following, perhaps you would like using it also.

Last Year's Jack-O-Lanterns, be on the lookout for this year's fun carvings

"Pumpkin Prayer"

{cut off top of pumpkin}
Lord, open my mind so I can learn new things about you.

{remove innards}
Remove the things in my life that don’t please you.
Forgive the wrong things I do and help me to forgive others.

{cut open eyes}
Open my eyes to see the beauty you’ve made in the world around me.

{cut out nose}
I’m sorry for the times I’ve turned my nose at the good food you provide.

{cut out mouth}
Let everything I say please You.

{light the candle}
Lord, help me show your light to others through the things I do. Amen
By: Liz Curtis Higgs

Let your light shine!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Somebody Loves to Smile Now!

Hannah can be a force to be reckoned with. She needs her own timeline and continuum with things, and I have learned (read: prayer has taught me) to "go with it".:) For a long time, our requests for her to smile were met with some doubt and most definitely tension. I have noticed that slowly, she is emerging, filled with joy and seeking out the "Cheesey" moments that the mama-razzi requires. This week, she asked on several occasions to take pictures. I was happy (very happy) to oblige!

Note the GRIP she has on the turkey - got to watch this girl as Thanksgiving approaches!!

Because every two year old NEEDS a pet bat, right? A little good friend Sue owns a Hall*mark store. When Emily was about 18 months old, we were there shopping for cards, people, and this bat was on a clearance table with a broken wing, but it still sang and danced. We are not a big Halloween family and it had long passed when we spotted this little fella. Emily fell in love with it, of course, an animal with a broken body part, what else would she have done? So, out of the store we went with our cards and her little buddy who was tenderly named Batla (the name is a whole other post in and of itself). Over the years, Batla has evolved to Batty and now it is Hannah's turn to love on him:)

Passing it On

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,but have everlasting life." John 3:16

It only takes a spark to get a fire going,
And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing;
That's how it is with God's Love,
Once you've experienced it,
Your spread His love to everyone
You want to pass it on. ~ Kurt Kaiser

All my life, I can remember my father tearing up every single time he heard this song. So, in turn, I grew to love this song and everytime I hear it, it has the same result. I suppose now, the baton is being passed once again.

A sweet, sweet friend of Emily's invited her attend a Kid's Club at a local church. Emily positively loved it and on her own began learning her verses and begged to go back. Of course, we said yes. We are so grateful to these special friends. On many levels they have mentored and embraced our family. Thank you so much, you know who you are:)

Last night while having a little bonfire in the backyard, Emily sang that song and proceeded to tell us why it is so important. She wants to be a spark, get the fire going. I absolutely love that about her. I can't wait to see what God does in her life and the lives she touches.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Guess What I've Been Doing...


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