Thursday, December 20, 2012

Her first Christmas







Half a world away you spent five years without a family and never hearing of Jesus. Welcome home, Ivy, for your first Christmas. It has been our blessed privilege to bring you into our family and introduce you to Jesus. This family is the place God planned for you, and He planned you for us. Together we all learn what love really is and how much we need a Savior. You teach us as much as we teach you. The beauty is in the redemption--imperfect, hurting, sinful people learning to love. Thank you, God, for rescuing another orphan and bringing her home. And thank you, God, for sending Jesus to rescue each of us from our sinful selves.

"It is not about God making my dreams come true, but about God changing my dreams into HIS dreams for my life. As I go with Him to the hard places, He changes them to the most joyful places I could imagine."  Katie Davis


Ni Hao Yall

Taken with my Nikon D5000

Thursday, December 13, 2012

View from my window

Nine years ago when we moved from our country farmhouse to the desert, I thought this was the ugliest place I had ever seen. I never dreamed I would someday look out my window and see beauty in the dirt and cacti.

 Perspective. 

How did it change?




The only answer I can come up with is.. when I saturate myself in something I often grow to love it.



The years have made my heart grow fond.


Made me consider what else I love. Living in this world is a battle of the heart. It's easy to fall in love with life here. John Piper put my thoughts into words so well:

"I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth "home." Before you know it, I am calling luxuries "needs" and using my money just the way unbelievers do. I begin to forget the war. I don't think much about people perishing. Orphans and unreached people drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace. I sink into a secular mind-set that looks first to what man can do, not what God can do. It is a terrible sickness. And I thank God for those who have forced me again and again toward a wartime mind-set."


But our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also wait eagerly for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
-Philippians 3:20

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Many Roads

After intentionally spending the entire summer at home, a few weeks ago we ventured off to oldest daughter's house. Ivy adores her oldest sister and her family so she couldn't wait. One hour in to the 4 1/2 hour drive she exclaimed, "Mommy, this is LONG!" But she did great. It was a peaceful drive listening to Andrew Peterson's music, and comforting to be on the familiar drive again.  I was reminded of the many roads we have traveled.  The last road trip we took with Ivy was when we left her hometown city in China and watched out the window as the life she knew passed her by. And now I turn around see her sitting there on our first American road trip. Many roads, many hopes, many fears, many glimpses of Gods hand directing our path.

My sweet Grand babies let me kiss them more than usual so that was the highlight of the weekend. I was called "Grammie" for the first time which was music to my ears. And by the way, I'm thrilled to announce that Grand baby # 3 is on the way! More blessings.



  





The remaining days of our fall season have been extra busy. We sold our house and moved a few miles away, a very emotional move for our family. When so much of life is lived in one place it's hard to walk away. The empty walls were screaming at us to stay. A week full of tears and goodbyes.  The new house feels void of memories.  No babies have learned to walk here. No daughters have been married here. No welcome home parties. Nobody has broken their ankle jumping the pool fence. No termites in the couch. The dog hasn't ruined the new floors or jumped through the windows. It's sterile. But not for long.

So, this Thanksgiving season even though I am exhausted and emotional, I am grateful beyond words for Gods grace on my life. There is no better place to be than following Him. We begin another new journey by faith, day by day.

And oh...Ivy's Thanksgiving question: "Can we go back to Grandma's tomorrow and have Thanksgiving again?" I wish, Ivy.

“If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” C.S. Lewis

Ni Hao Yall

Taken with my Nikon D5000

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Fathers heart



Recently I had one of those moments where God just stopped me in my tracks and reminded me of His heart. You know how it is..some days life just gets so busy we default to survival mode..trying to get everything done before we run out of time. So typical of our American life. At least typical of mine sometimes. Then God so faithfully answers the prayer we have been praying.."Help us to love the things You love, God".

Here's how it happened. Ivy stopped me in the middle of my cleaning and said, "Mommy, why did you love Ivy and go get me from China?" I sat down and shared with her how God loves her and has a special plan for her life. I explained that God spoke to us and told us that there was a special little girl in China who needed a family and she needed someone to teach her about God. In typical Ivy fashion she inquired, " Did God come here and tell you or did He call you on the phone?" I proceeded to explain to the best of my ability how God speaks to us  through the Bible and through prayer. She paused and said so seriously, "But Mommy, there are lots of children in China who don't have a family." I sat down and cried. Yes, I remember their faces. I remember the smells. I could never forget. But I do forget, temporarily. Thank you, God, for another reminder of the orphans you love. Another reminder of the utter meaninglessness of so many things we pursue and spend time on. God, break my heart for the things that break yours. And once again, Thank you for our littlest daughter who continually reminds us of Your Heart. Happy Sixth Month Gotcha Day, Ivy Ruth.




Photos courtesy of Lisa at http://atruefocus.blogspot.com/

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Video from China Trip


This time it should work!
Thanks to Ivy's sister Macy for creating this video of the highlights from our China trip. 


The Journey to Ivy


Monday, September 10, 2012

Four months home

I haven't been good about posting regular updates. Honestly, I find it very difficult to put the experience of adoption into words. It is an amazing journey. Ivy has changed so much, and any words I choose seem inadequate to really describe her. And I would have to say that we, her parents, have changed too. Isn't that just like God. He calls us to rescue an orphan, and He uses her to change us. Some days I look Ivy, and I can't believe it's the same girl I met four months ago. A scared child who came to us with only the clothes on her back, clothes that still smelled after three washings, is a different girl today.

For starters, she has grown a whole clothing size. She can no longer wear any of the clothes she wore when we got her. She is 2 inches taller. She truly looks a year older, and the doctor said she had a typical year of growth the first couple months.

She speaks English like it's been a year too. She communicates in full sentences. In fact she talks nonstop.  Recently she learned the alphabet and counting to 20 in just a  of couple days. Ivy was classified as a 'Special Needs' child. We joke that her special need is her high intelligence. Everything she learns is at an accelerated pace.

Remember the little girl who wouldn't cry for anything? She would fall down and hurt herself and refuse to shed a tear.. Gone. Enter Drama Queen. She has no problem expressing herself and running to Mommy or Daddy for sympathy. We are happy to oblige.

She thoroughly enjoys eating. One day after my co-op delivery (bulk items all over the kitchen) Ivy exclaimed, "This family has big food!"

Her favorite things to do are reading books with family members, playing dolls, doing puzzles (she's up to 60 count now) , playing dress-up, singing, being with people, going to Grandma and Grandpa's, church, and the library. She mastered swimming this summer (another favorite) and dives to the deep end to fetch toys. She can keep up with the older kids' competitive games in the pool. She embraces challenges and new situations with enthusiasm.

She loves to sing and knows more songs than I can count. She loves to pray. I remember the first couple times we bowed our heads and prayed. She was baffled. Now she is the first to start praying and asks if she can be the one to lead. She goes on and on, thanking God for everything, and asking God things like, "Help us go to the library tomorrow!" (We need those prayers since Mommy has a reputation for overdue books) Almost daily she will thank God "that Ivy has a family and that everyone loves Ivy". Words that never fail to bring tears to my eyes.  We sure thank Him too.

And at last...Pigtails. Okay..adorable or what?

When Worlds Collide

When Worlds Collide



Ni Hao Yall
 
Taken with my Nikon D5000

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Such girls


Another first-time experience for Ivy ...playing dress-up. 


Yes, homeschool is back in session.


But around here we take our play serious too. 


Down came the big box from up high in the closet 


Let's just say dress-up has a universal language.

"To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." -Isaiah 61:3


Ni Hao Yall

Taken with my Nikon D5000

nihaoyall.com

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ivy's Daddy



Ivy "lubbs" her Daddy as she so sweetly states. We celebrated his birthday this weekend so I thought I'd post this picture taken on Fathers Day. (Her hair has grown so much since this photo was taken. Stay tuned for pigtail pics!) Ivy thoroughly enjoys family birthdays and is the self-appointed 'pass out the presents' person. She was hesitant to warm up to Daddy early on, since undoubtedly she hadn't been around men. But he quickly stole her heart. When Daddy leaves for work, Ivy hollers (and I mean HOLLERS), "I NEED A KISS!" Daddy is known for creating the color tickle game. We had been reading a book teaching her colors for some time. She just couldn't seem to learn the colors. I had about decided she was color blind. Then Daddy so brightly tested her with tickles. He asked, "What color is this?" When she responded with her usual "I don't know" he proceeded to tickle her. Oh how fast she blurted out all her colors in an effort to end the tickles. The stinker knew them all along. So now she begs Daddy each night for the color tickle game, and she plays dumb just long enough to survive some tickles.

Ivy doesn't know all that her Daddy did to make her adoption happen. He interviewed numerous agencies, compiled the vast number of documents, and did all the adoption paperwork himself. Someday we'll tell her all about it...even the part where he passed kidney stones on the flight home from China. But he would want me to tell you that he's far from perfect. One of our complaints with social media is that we paint perfect pictures of ourselves. We are a family of sinners who God is faithfully redeeming. We're thankful for a Daddy who is serious about redemption. Happy Birthday Daddy, and thank you for bringing Ivy home. 

 "Adoption is the visible gospel." John Piper


Ni Hao Yall


Taken with my Nikon D5000

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Favorites

video

I found the girls playing with my phone on this 4 month "Gotcha Day" anniversary. So here's a couple of my favorite girls talking about their favorites.

Monday, July 16, 2012

This special day

It's hard to believe that today, July 16th, we celebrate three months since we met Ivy and she joined our family. Also on July 16th, twenty-six years ago, our oldest daughter entered this world. How very blessed we are. This picture of the girls isn't the best quality, and it wasn't planned and posed. What I like about it is that it shows some of the things I love most about my girls. They know how to have fun and laugh, and they love each other deeply. And recently I have been able to witness their strength of character, and their hearts for Christ, in their acceptance and love for Ivy. It isn't always easy to bring a new five year old sister into the family. It has it's challenges. But these girls have made it look easy. They constantly choose to love. I am inspired daily by their willing, open hearts. (My guys are also amazing...I just didn't happen to have a picture of them!)



My first baby..July 16, 1986
(hey, don't laugh..those glasses were stylin')

My newest baby...April 16, 2012

"Our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace." -Psalm 144:12

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer lovin'


Ivy loves the pool. It's hands down her favorite activity.


All the way home from church on Sunday she pleaded, "Daddy, pool water?" (No longer to be confused with "Water Cup"!)


She's settling in to our family very well. And boy are we enjoying her.


She's truly a remarkable little girl. She's smart, funny, adaptable, easy to please, and quick to forgive. She does have quite a strong will. I think she was able to get the attention of her caregivers by using her charm, loud voice, and iron will. It served her well. Here at our home we're working on changing some of that, well most all of that. She no longer has to be charming and loud to get attention. And her iron will? She's softening and learning that she doesn't have to be in control to be safe. All of this is hard work. Yes, adoption is hard. We knew it would be, we just didn't know exactly what hard would look and feel like. Now after turning the corner on our first month, we are enjoying some fruits of our labor. The victories are so much sweeter when you've struggled hard to get there. That must be how Ivy feels. Sorrow turning to joy. We are so proud of her. She's some girl.

"The hard does not minimize His goodness but allows us to experience His goodness in a whole new way." Katie Davis .."Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption"



Ni Hao Yall
 
Taken with my Nikon D5000

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday, Ivy!

What a day it was...seeing Ivy open a present for the first time in her life. She wasn't even sure how to do it. She kept acting surprised that this celebration was really all for her! Even the cards were such treasures to her. She continues to look at them several times a day. I don't know who had more fun, Ivy, or her family, who witnessed the surprise and joy in her face.







"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names.
They are easier to ignore before you see their faces.
 It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms.
 But once you do, everything changes.."
~David Platt

Thursday, May 17, 2012

3 weeks home

I see the remarkable changes in Ivy each and every day. But when I saw this photo of her I saw it in her face..like a flower that just opened. What a joy to watch her blossom. The toil of tending the garden is so rewarding.



“I am waiting and God is teaching me this: I beg Him to bring me close to His heart, to even transform my heart that it might be more like His.  I think orphan care gets us close, because He sees us as orphans.  I think adoption gets us close, because this is how He brings us into His family.  The poor, the beggar, the widow, the prisoner, they get us close to His heart because these people are so dear to Him."  Katie Davis.. Kisses from Katie..A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption

P.S. The Archibald Project interviewed us : https://www.facebook.com/TheArchibaldProject If you're on Facebook please "Like" this ministry! They are passionate about adoption!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Airport Homecoming Pics










"God has a way of using inadequate people, and sometimes He calls us to reach a little higher or to stretch a little further, even when we feel we can’t do any more. We simply trust Him. And then, He gives us everything we need to do the “more” that He is asking of us."
Kisses from Katie.. A story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie R. Davis