Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday

"Blessed is the man whose strength is in You." Psalm 84:5

Tomorrow is my husband's 41st birthday. I am thankful for him. I have no flowery words or long dissertation for this event. I love him, simple as that. Even with flaws and imperfections, we see the beauty in each other. I am thankful for him. For whatever reason, we complete one another and I would not want to face this world without him.

Today a dear, dear friend of Rob's family was killed in the line of duty. Chris, a police officer, was a dedicated public servant. He had a wicked sense of humor and an undying love for the woman he married seventeen years ago. Besides all of these things, he was a father, a devoted, hard-working father who loved his babies. 16, 13 and 12, his children will now go on without his physical presence. His spouse, Suzanne, a beautiful wife and mother who adores her husband and her children with all of herself is left to pick up the pieces. She is strong, she will do just that... but with a broken heart. Today, of all days, I am thankful for my husband. Our prayers and love extend to Suzanne, their children, their families and a community devastated with the loss of one of their own, during a routine traffic stop.

Life is fragile.
Rob, in case I haven't told you lately, I love you. I am so thankful for you.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gung Hay Fat Choy

Yes, it is that time of year again. Seems hard to believe that Chinese New Year is upon us again. An especially tender time of the year, we received our referral for Hannah on February 1, 2007. It feels only fitting it is a season of celebration.

Monday we kicked off the Chinese New Year. Both girls were blessed with new fans and panda kaleidoscopes. They love them. Next Monday, we will be visiting Emily's classroom to share some special time with them.

Happy Chinese New Year to you all!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Save Your Napkin

Children are a heritage of the LORD... – Psalm 127:3

The girls had finished their breakfast. I was reciting to Emily what was in her lunchbox and which item she would probably enjoy for snacktime. As I spoke, I gently folded her napkin and then reached for the Sharp*ie marker to write her a note. She stopped me.

"Mommy, ummm can you please only send a napkin once or twice a week?"

Such an interesting request. Were other kids making fun of her mommy-drawn smiley faces and love notes? Do they have napkins on the table already? Was she just not very messy and threw them away mindlessly?

She went on to explain that like I, collecting and hoarding every drawing, note and piece of art she has done since birth, she keeps these napkins. Like old friends or cherished treasures, she said they are my works of art and she wanted to keep each one. She said I'd need to slow down with them because her pencil box no longer closes, that is where she stashes them. Miss Emily has every single one.

I immediately recalled a day last year when her teacher sent home in a baggie marked "IMPORTANT", a napkin. On that napkin, Emily had drawn a smiley face and written the words, "You are spechal, I love you Mommy." Her teacher, fully aware of the joy of Mommylove, snatched up that napkin and sent it home, with a note..."I noticed Emily do this today, definitely a keeper, perhaps even framable:)"

I tried not to scare her with the tears that welled up in my eyes, they were joyful ones, not sad ones. Who is this wonderful child? If we ever wonder what it is our child sees; if we ever wondered if they will imitate us or do as we do, wonder no more. They will . Though I fear she will imitate the times when I am a bad example, Emily proved to me that she sees and better yet, "gets" the finer, less bold demonstrations of love that are done every single day.

I will never look at a napkin the same. Once just a tool to simply clean up a mess, I now see napkins in a different light. The potential of each napkin was infinitely related to what we did with it when passing it along to one another. Maybe it does help to clean me up, in ways I never imagined.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Mayor

As we embark today on a new administration of government leaders, I am mindful we need to be praying for our leadership. As much as I would have had fears either way the election was resolved, my conservative roots have had their ego bruised, but certainly not beaten. So, I am committing myself to prayer for the state of our nation.

On the homefront, we have our own small, raven-haired cutie-pie to contend with. Somehow, somewhere during the translation in China, Hannah's caregivers referred to her as "The Mayor". Her paperwork also referenced her mayoral attributes. I have to admit, at first we weren't quite sure which qualities were most administrative about our little lovely. But as we see Hannah bloom and grow, we see...

the glorious trait of tenacity
(she is capable of making a demand hundreds of times if necessary)

the miracle of humor and laughter
(no one sings nursery rhymes the way she does)

the advanced artform that is negotiation
("...pleeeeeeeeaaaaaaaase, I clean up mine own mess")

the gift that is compassion and passion
("I love my mommy, daddy and Emmy and don't forbet God, oh yeah and Jesus too")

the amazingness of problem solving far beyond her little years
(How many chairs does it take to get to the popsicles at the tippy top of the freezer?)

the strength that can only come from the God we love
("I am stronger willed than you are Mom")

the remarkable ability to tell anyone and everyone "NO!"
(Oh yeah, you have been there!)

the gift of encouragement
("Wow, Mommy, you vaccuum very much good")

the gift of public speaking
(very loud and even a bit inappropriate, at times)

the desire to help her fellow man
(this includes Mommy:)

the love of the finer things in life
(girlfriend loves her some bling!)

As we approach the two year anniversary of Hannah's referral, I get emotional thinking about the time when I wondered what her very eyes looked like. Now, I gaze into them sure of what I did not know then. The mayor brings us joy we could not have imagined. Her sense of self is secure. She knows who her family is. I marvel at the process that is parenthood. Both of our children, I can easily say, I would have chosen, had God not been so gracious in sending them to us. I look at Hannah's future, bright with the promise of all of these gifts and thank God that she possesses each and every one.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Time for Prayer

When I began this blog many, many posts ago, it was an outlet for me, a connection to others and somewhat adoption related. I wanted a blog so that I might remain connected to the many friends in this world whom we have met or established relationships with as a result of Hannah's adoption. Then, there were others, other moms, other Christian women, old friends, new friends, family members...and it became more than just a blog, it became part of our world.

I like, no... I love to write. I enjoy it. I dream of writing a book and I dream of writing devotionals. I dream of being a vehicle that God will use. I pray about how my life will be used and which ways I can best serve while I wait on the Lord to guide my steps.

There is a reason that I keep a running prayer list at the sidebar of our blog. I believe in the power of prayer. Every now and again, I stop and highlight some of those requests that touch my heart and that I feel require that extra measure of time well spent on our knees for our brothers and sisters.

Please lift this family

Their daughter, Abby, adopted at six months in Guatemala, was diagnosed this past summer with Leukemia. She is four years old. The blow of the diagnosis was made more complicated by news just before Christmas that Abby has a biological defect that makes her chances of healing less likely. This sweet little girl is struggling and her family is struggling. Please join me in praying for them as Abby enters the most difficult phase of her treatment. If you click on the Abby's name in red, it does link to their family blog and you can read more about beautiful Abby.

My dear friend Leslie, her father has lost his battle here on earth and has gone home to be with the Lord. Their family would be blessed being covered in prayer at this most difficult time.

Linn and her family need our prayers. Their home burned to the ground. Though I am not certain, I believe they lost everything. They are a God-loving family who have inspired many with their devotion to adoption and building their family this way. My own grandmother died in a house fire, so this particular story makes my heart leap because no one was injured, but weep because I recognize the pain of losing history.

Of course there are many listed in the sidebar, I do try to keep them updated and usually do not remove a request unless a reader requests me to. If you feel led to pray for these special people, please do so.

Friday, January 9, 2009

All Aboard!

Peanut sat on a railroad track

His heart was all a flutter

Choo Choo Train come around the bend

Toot Toot Peanut Butter!

My dad used to sing this little song and his dad before that. How many generations back, I do not know, but it is a sweet memory and now, one shared with our children. We all love a good train ride and so, when our schedules permitted, we headed off to the country for Hannah's first ride on the Strasburg rails.

The scenery was beautiful. Farms, farms and more farms. I love to see all the wash hung out and blowing in the breeze. It is a primarily Amish community and I have commented in the past about the simplicity and the beauty in that. Peaceful.

The cars were decorated for the holidays, which I love. Even the burning stoves and lanterns had greens on them.

The conductor mugged for the camera (I shot this out the train window as he was boarding other guests). A gentleman, through and through, he shook hands and helped ladies to their seats. He bent down to hug one little boy and the little boy squealed with such joy that the conductor HUGGED HIM!

Got our Tickets!! Thanks Pop!

Emily boarding the train

Showing her little sister other guests through the window


One happy little rail rider!!

Ready to go! Hannah was so incredibly excited she...

fell sound asleep! The swaying of the car put her right out:)

Em enjoyed the entire ride, her favorite part is the ghost whistle, because there is such an expanse of land, when the whistle blows, it echoes in the valley and so we opened the windows and the kids were thrilled to hear the whistle back:)


Monday, January 5, 2009

Shine in 2009!

Happy 2009!!

Rob and I were engaged on New Year's Eve eight years ago. I had just moved into a teeny tiny apartment and we had spent the entire day moving and CLEANING. The previous renter stated the apartment was in mint condition...maybe a mint that had fallen on the ground, been trampled and stuck to the bottom of one's shoe, but certainly not the mint we had envisioned! At the end of the day, in my finest sweats, hair stuck to my face and dirt from head to toe, Rob asked me to be his wife. I am certain I was the picture of loveliness:) At least he thought so. We were married the following August.

It is a happy memory and so we have always stuck close to home for New Years. In the past few years, we have hosted my folks for dinner. The girls chose to wear their shiny dresses (Hannah says they are the New Year dresses!) and the movie of choice was Kit Kittredge. The girls put on a puppet show (entertainment:) and I made some pretty amazing lobster tails (if I do say so myself).

We do not make resolutions; but, we do count the blessings in our lives. Though not a bad year, 2008 was a weird year and we are prayerful for increased blessings in 2009. One of the best New Year's celebrations we have ever had, we feel it is a good start to the promise of the next 360 days.

The photos are painfully out of focus, I was cooking and cleaning up and shooting as I went about my business, so they are certainly not the finest specimens, but the subject matter is pretty great:)


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