Showing posts with label Sunday Snapshots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sunday Snapshots. Show all posts

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

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Our China Doll

I know I'm the Mom...but seriously, isn't she adorable? 

-Gong Xi Fa Cai-

Ni Hao Yall

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I love seeing Ivy's growth in photos. This first picture was taken about nine months ago shortly after she was dropped off to us .

....and here she is now...growing daily in wisdom and stature

I am daily surprised at the power that love has on the human spirit. 

“But whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will not waste your life.”  John Piper

Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, January 19, 2013

hello 2013

Hard to believe January is passing us by. Life is full. Ivy continues to astound us with her ability to adjust and acquire language. I believe her English vocabulary has about caught up with her age. Never would have dreamed this could happen in nine months. Here's a sampling from just this week: "I'm cooperating very well today!", "This bumpy road makes me so nauseous!", "Mommy, does everyone have to die?", "Look, that lady looks like she's Chinese too!", "If I don't obey will you take (send) me back to China?" That one is heartbreaking. It was another opportunity to assure her that she's not going anywhere. She was happy to hear, once again, that this is her forever family. Her response.."It's going to take me a long time to learn to obey!" She's a corker through and through. Lots of laughs, lots of work. Training, bonding, and unlearning orphanage behaviors, takes time and patience. But rewarding it is.

Speaking of work and patience..we celebrated our sweet Macy's birthday this weekend. She tirelessly serves her family daily with joy and humor. Honestly, I don't know how I would have survived 2012 without her working by my side. She is mature beyond her 14 years, has endured a lot of physical pain the last year,  and always wears a smile.

Happy Birthday to our middle child.

Ni Hao Yall
Taken with my Nikon D5000

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

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

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

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

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