Saturday, August 31, 2013

When colors fade

I  love how Macy caught these sweeties on the camera.  When we brought Ivy home, one concern we had was how she would treat her younger nieces who are close to her own age. We obviously didn't know what training and experiences she had in the orphanage. It has been a joy to see how Ivy has loved and adored the little ones from the beginning. She intuitively knew how to be gentle and sweet with them, and she lights up when they are around.

These two were born an ocean apart.

 One with Ebony eyes...The other Icy-blue

One spirited and sprightly.
One calm and calculated

So different.
So much the same.

Both love a pretty dress.
Both love to sing a song of praise.
Both love bubbles and play dough.
Both love to laugh and cuddle.

Our creative God lovingly planned for them to be in the same family.
Woven miraculously together by His great providence.

From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.
John 1:16

Ni Hao Yall

Sunday, August 25, 2013

New Additions

Meet our two newest family members

These cute characters have added a whole new meaning to the "dog days of summer."

Ni Hao Yall

Monday, July 29, 2013

A boy!

We haven't had a new boy in the family for 25 years. 
This Grammie is smitten with the "little big guy" as we call him. 
The rest of the family is madly in love too.

This was read 25 years ago at our son's dedication:

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know Thee and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge. 
Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
Build me a son whose heart will be clean, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.
Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”
-General Douglas MacArthur

We pray for Gods grace to bless us with another warrior for Him.

Ni Hao Yall

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Sad Day

Today was a very sad day as our sweet Golden Retriever died suddenly last night. There weren't any smiles around here, except when Macy took Emma out to snap some 4th of July photos for her photography class.

We Miss You Penny.

Happy Independence Day.

Monday, June 10, 2013

One Year Home Video

Hope you enjoy watching our 'One Year Home' video posted below. Be sure to turn up the volume.
Heres another link to the video if you have trouble viewing it: One Year Video

We are often asked questions related to adoption, so we are hoping to start a series soon where we will attempt to answer your questions. You may leave questions in the comment section or email me privately at

Ni Hao Yall

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ivy's big day

Once we switched Ivy's school calendar to the month of May, the cat was out of the bag. She knew it was the very special month of her birthday. She could hardly contain herself  until the big day. "Strawberries" was the theme she chose, complete with Strawberry-Lime cake, homemade ice-cream, Chocolate-dipped strawberries, and Strawberry Lemonade. And would you believe it was all sugar free?  We had a lovely day with Grandma and Grandpa visiting, and oldest sis, bro, and nieces on Facetime.

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” Mulan

Ni Hao Yall

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Garden blessings

Our little garden has been a big blessing to us this spring. It is a wonderful learning experience for the kids. Being close to nature is a constant reminder of God's provision, blessing, and the miracle of His creation. Since our temperatures are quickly passing the 90's during the day, we have sadly said goodbye to our delicious, deep green, romaine lettuce. Back to buying it at the store. The radishes were lots of fun as they are ready to harvest in about two weeks.  They are also fading as the heat rises.

Ivy has been playing dress up a lot lately. She ran out to join us in the garden and asked, "Mommy, do princesses pick tomatoes?" Most certainly they do, Ivy. She announced to us that she really wants to, " plant some seeds to grow chickens too!"

We have cucumbers and green onions galore. I think we need to give them some shade soon though.

Swiss Chard is still going strong despite the heat. It's finding it's way into soups, salads, and smoothies, along with sauteing it in butter for a side dish.

Squashes are also plentiful. We are sneaking them in all kinds of meals and breads and freezing up some as well.

Our sunflowers are a joy to see. Some are over 7 feet tall.

Love this...
"Build homes and live in them. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren! Multiply! Do not dwindle away! Work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare." Jeremiah 29: 5-7

Linking up with:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mothers Day

Hi this is Macy... I just wanted to let Mom know how much we love her and appreciate everything that she does for our family. I am so thankful that God has blessed us with a beautiful and godly mother who is always there for us! This past year, Ivy has experienced the joy of having a mother.  Happy Mothers Day!

When Worlds Collide

"She extends her hand to the poor and she stretches out her hand to the needy...She opens her mouth in wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." - Proverbs 31: 20, 26

Ni Hao Yall

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Adoption... one year later

One year ago today we officially embarked on this beautiful, miraculous,  life-changing, and sometimes challenging journey of adoption. A calling, to stand in the gap for orphans, led us down a road that has challenged our faith, tested our patience, stretched our endurance, and been one of the most joy-filled, rewarding experiences of our lives. And no, we have never had regrets. Doubts and fears? Yes. But we signed up for this as a team and we trusted our God would provide for us. He has abundantly supplied for all of our needs, and strengthened our love for each other, and Him, through the process.  People warned us that it would be hard, as if we hadn't thought of that. We really did expect it to be hard. I personally went into it scared. Determined, but scared.  We have watched some friends go through really really rough stuff with adopted kids. We hoped and prayed it wouldn't be that difficult, but we knew it might be. Just as we did with our biological kids, we opened our hearts to the unknown and knew God would be there through it all. His grace has been sufficient, and He has confirmed over and over again that He planned for little Ivy in our family.

Where are we today? We have worked through and resolved a lot of conflict. We have done a truckload of child training. We have strategized and re-strategized. We have cuddled, rocked, and sung lots of songs. We have prayed a ton. We have played and laughed . We have cried. (Some of us more than others)  We have slept not enough. Each family member has bonded in their own time and grown to dearly love Ivy Ruth. She is so perfect for our family.

Where is Ivy today? She's a remarkable one who can't wait to face each day full of joy. I wish I had a big dose of her optimism, bravery, resilience, intelligence, forgiving heart, eagerness to learn, and willingness to eat any healthy food presented to her.  (I'll take a set of her long, muscle-defined legs too) She is blossoming and maturing more each day. Orphanage behaviors and habits are falling away. Meltdowns are less frequent. She loves her family and her life so much. She's really some girl.

We face another year together with renewed hope and energy, more laughter, less tears, and peace in our hearts. Be certain, it's a sacrifice. Yes, sometimes I daydream about being on a cruise ship at this stage of life. But truly there is no where else I'd rather be. Our lives are rich and full, overwhelming at times, but blessed beyond my wildest dreams. We face another year with more faith, more resolve and more joy.

"Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting through, and adoption is one of them"
-Jen Hatmaker

And to PF Changs for a celebration!

Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, April 13, 2013

This time last year

One year ago today we were in China. I was a bundle of nerves about to meet our little Huanyue for the first time. I tried to relax and enjoy the sights and experience. But the emotions were running too high. I am so grateful that we were able to take our two youngest daughters along on the trip. Their lives were also forever changed. It's a sentimental time for me as I reflect on our one year "Gotcha Day" anniversary. I realize more all the time that I left a part of my heart in China.

Here's our scared little girl the first time we met her.

And here she is today .

What a difference one year makes. What a difference love makes. What a difference Christ makes.

"A life changed is worth it, even if only one. God's love made known is worth it, 
even if only to one." -- Katie Davis, Kisses From Katie

"No eye has seen, nor ear has heard
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared 
for those who love Him."
1 Corinthians 2:9

....More to come on Gotcha Day Anniversary

Ni Hao Yall

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Catchin' Up

It's been a long while since I've blogged. The recent months brought some challenging times with my health. Barely getting out of bed for several weeks tends to make one re-evaluate how they spend their time when they are able to get out of bed. Blogging is not near the top of the list. I started writing here last year primarily as a way to record our adoption journey. I'm glad I did. As I go back and read the stories, I am surprised at how I forgot many of the details. My other motivation for writing is orphan advocacy. In consideration of whether or not to continue this blog, I prayed and came to the conclusion that yes, I will for now. My prayer is that people will be touched, and God will use this blog to motivate at least one person to rescue an orphan. That would make my heart very happy. 

We are finding it hard to believe that it was one year ago this month that we brought our Ivy home. I have a lot of posts written in my head. We'll see how that goes. So for now allow me to catch up a bit. The moments in this life I enjoy most are the simple these. Thank you to my family and some special friends for loving me through this challenging time and working extra hard to keep things goin' around here.

Rainy day card games are so much fun.

'Miss Little Creativity' made herself some fancy earrings with bobby pins.

Macy has been busy with sewing some spring skirts.

Ivy worked hard to help get the fruit off the trees before the freeze hit.
Our first crop of blood oranges were super yummy.

It's always someones birthday around here!

So thankful for help getting the garden planted. We are now starting to reap some of the harvest!

Lively visits from the 'cutie-patooties' are the best!

These dear friends came to visit recently. I was so excited to spend the evening with them. We used to hang out with Dave and Becky thirty years ago when we were both newlyweds. We had our oldest babies together in the 80's. Then fast forward to last year when we told our friends we were adopting a little girl from China. Some simply looked at us like we had lost our marbles. But not these friends. They were our faithful cheerleaders. We are so blessed to have them in our lives.

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths. Psalm 36:5-6