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. Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Catching up...

I have tried to post on a couple of different occassions;however, we were having technical difficulties. I think we are back up and running finally...

Time sure flies when you are having fun. We have been busy over the last couple of weeks. I asked my "sweety" if we could paint and update our living area a bit( It was my "Valentine"). It is hard to tell by the pictures, but I really think it turned out beautifully. One of the things I wanted to do when we moved in was change the color of our entire living area. The original "green" color made the room appear smaller and much darker. We were able to complete almost all of the task (there are a few minor touchups left) in about two weeks. I have to laugh because we finally got around to changing it, and now we are considering selling our house.

We live in a wonderful 105 yr old home;however, it doesn't have much storage and not enough bathrooms. It is in need of some TLC, and with all the things we have going, we don't have the time or energy that it takes to maintain an older home. We are grateful for the home that God sent us to when we first moved here. We feel certain that it was a part of His plan for us ,and His leading us on the adoption journey. We are now praying about what God's next step is for our family, and we are feeling that a big step will be finding a home that will serve our family's needs. We are still at the planning and praying stages. Hopefully, we can make the decision, get the house in "selling" order, and listed by the end of March (if we act on our planning). The month of April will bring Mandy's surgery (rescheduled for April 7th), Garrett's birthday, and baseball. Brad gets so excited about the start of the baseball season that it is contagious (up to a point). Baseball ushers in the "busy" season for our family. I am looking forward to Spring, but there will not be very much down time at least until July.

Mandy is anxiously looking forward to her first birthday party ever (she likes to plan ahead...her birthday isn't until May 2nd). She has been asking me to help her mark off the days on a calendar. I have a lot to live up to, and I sure hope she isn't disappointed in the way her party turns out. Both girls are loving their dance classes, and they are preparing for a recital at the end of May. Mandy has a natural talent and love especially for ballet. Mia loves it all. She is so much fun to watch. She is surprisingly graceful and elegant as she dances. Both girls are just beautiful and radiate God's blessings to us.

I am so blessed to be a wife to a wonderful, loving husband, and to have five beautiful gifts from God, my children.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Grace is enough...

I came across the following on a daily devotional calendar. It spoke directly to my heart. It made me think how much more I should show compassion and mercy to those around me but most especially to my children. After all, God shows no less than that to me. I hope this speaks to you as well.
"Grace is a marvelous but elusive word. 'Unmerited favor' is the definition most of us know. It means self-giving, too, and springs from the person's own being without condition or consideration of whether the object is deserving." Elizabeth Elliot
"Grace is free, but it is not cheap. The grace of God is unearned and unearnable, but if we ever expect to grow in grace, we must pay the price of a conciously chosen course of action. "
Richard J Foster

Monday, February 4, 2008

Xin Nian Hao

On Saturday,we were able to celebrate the Chinese New Year with our kids and with many friends and fellow adoptive parents. The International Adoptive Families group holds an annual New Year celebration. It was a terrific way to celebrate our girls heritage, and we all had a fantastic time. It still amazes me to see all of the beautiful children who have found forever families and to see all the love they share. It is nothing short of wonderful to be a part of a group of people who are linked together by the common factors of adoption. The children all take delight in seeing friends and sharing the heritage of their birthland.

It was non stop fun from the minute we arrived until it was time to go home. We enjoyed a fun filled day of craft making, picture taking, good chinese food, and songs and dance indicative to Chinese culture. We loved the traditional ribbon dance and the "DRAGON". All of our kiddos had to find a spot in that dragon, and boy was it crowded under there. Mandy was a bit apprehensive all afternoon,but she seemed to participate more as the day went on. She talked excitedly about her favorite events on the ride home. Mia loved every bit of the activity. She was not scared of anything or anybody, and she made her way around like she was old friends with everyone there. The boys had fun sharing in the activities; although, I suspect they would have rather been playing baseball. They were great sports and played with all the kids and helped where help was needed. Brad participated in the silent auction and won an autographed baseball cap. I had to give him a hard time about bidding so much, but it went to a good cause. He was excited and it will fit in nicely with his baseball memorabilia.

Chinese New Year is known as the Spring Festival ( or Lunar New Year) . It is the most important holiday of the year for the Chinese people. It is a time of family and good wishes...not unlike our celebration and wishes for a happy new year. May you all be healthy and prosperous this new year!

Friday, February 1, 2008

A "Snow" Much Fun Day

Bring it...!
Can I eat this stuff?

Who said this STUFF is FUN?!!
When the kids awakened to learn that we had lots of snow in the front yard, they were ecstatic. We could waste no time, and everyone was bundled up in record time. Mandy had never seen snow or played in it before, but like everything else she approached it with much enthusiasm. The boys were thrilled to show her how much fun the snow could be. She knew about snowmen from books we had read and from her schoolwork. The first thing she did was find a spot and build a small snowman using sticks for its arms. Mom made them all pose for pictures, and then I took a lot more when they weren't looking. Nolan, Garrett, Nate and Daddy had a rousing snowball fight. Mia was a good sport for a while; however, as you will be able to tell by the pictures, she is not too fond of the snow. She can only tolerate it for a short while! So, Daddy stayed to play snow football with the bigger kids, and Mommy and Mia went inside to make hot cocoa and muffins for breakfast. The kids all slowly gave in to the cold and were trickling into the house one at a time. Mandy and Nolan hung on to play with our dog"Harley". He is a full blood Lab., and he is still a puppy. He loved the snow and had a terrific time. Nolan was the last to give it up, and he looked like a very cold snowman when he finally came inside. Momma had the hot cocoa ready and the muffins were fresh out of the oven, yum, yum! We love to see snow every once in a while. There is just something about it that brings out the kid in all of us. I love how beautiful everything becomes when it is covered in snow. Today was the best kind...beautiful snow to play in and then it melts away by the end of the day. I think we enjoyed the fun almost more than the kids. I am storing up the memories and treasuring them in my heart. What FUN!!!


One Year Ago...

We would learn, one year ago,today, that we would become the parents of a beautiful six year old girl. Wei Da Na would be a part of our family and of our hearts forever!

These are a few of the first pictures we would see of our daughter. Her daddy's heart was smitten from the first moment he saw her picture. Many people would comment on these pictures about how her personality just shines through. Little did we know that this comment would be a true one. As we grow to know our daughter, she is full of the love, mischief, smiles, and personality that shines so clearly. God has a plan for this precious one, and we are so humbled and thankful that he chose us to be her parents and family.