Thursday, December 30, 2010

THERAPY

Therapy... in a sick sort of way. This week I have worked my hiney off cleaning and making piles to take to Good Will. You know what? It has felt awesome! My den looks so nice, my living room looks so nice, my kitchen looks so nice and the other rooms... yeah, well, I haven't gotten there yet. Tomorrow on the agenda is the kids closets. It shouldn't take long at all, because they aren't bad, I just want to weed through their clothes.  I know I should box up Jackson and Julianna's clothes for their younger siblings, but ugh. I just want to get rid of it all! LOL. The way I see it is there are 4 years between my boys and will most likely be 4 years between my girls - that's a long time to hang onto clothes. I know I need to though. I am just loving the feeling of dropping off at Good Will. LOL!

Another thing I want to talk about is grocery shopping. Over the course the last month or so, we have gotten into the habit of snacking rather than preparing actual meals. I am finding that my grocery bill is outrageous! I know that the stuff I am buying and the fact that my children are eating me out of house and home are the biggest contributing factors, but come on! My family (hubby included) wont eat a lot of great meals, like meatloaf, chicken and dumplings, beef stew, etc... They are so particular. There has to be a way to lower the grocery costs and prepare decent meals at the same time.  So... can anyone share  tips or recipes that may help?

I am getting control of my household! HAHA! Momma's on a mission! It feels good have Christmas behind us and moving on to a better, cleaner living!

Monday, December 27, 2010

SIGH

I made the mistake of reading through the old posts on my blog. I read the one from July 22nd, when we were at the airport waiting to start our adventure. I feel like I have been punched in the stomach. Seriously, I feel sick. Just seeing our faces - the excitement, the anticipation... it's too much. I am trying so hard to look to the future, but right now, I can't step out of the past. My heart aches for Willa, for China, for an end to this heart wrenching journey.

I am so sorry that I am always so depressing! I promise that I don't mean to be. It is just therapeutic to vent here. One day, hopefully, one day soon, things will turn around. Jesus will turn my sorrow into joy. I so look forward to that day.

Oh a lighter note - thank you to Donna and Melena for the generous donations! Seriously, thank you guys from the very bottom of my heart. You will never know how much your gift means to me.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

DEEP THOUGHTS by MICHELE

I have been emotional today. Not sure why... silly, I suppose. I think the weather is getting to me. I am a Charleston girl - I am not use to such cold temps. It is depressing, LOL. The older I get, the more I want to move to Florida (like I needed another reason to want to move there! HAHA!).

We had a really nice Christmas. My littles were so sweet. The joy on their little faces was the best! They were just so sweet and appreciative of everything.  I love to see Christmas through their eyes. We have really gone back and forth about whether or not we wanted to spill the beans about Santa. I had been feeling guilty for "lying" to them. But, after yesterday morning seeing how excited they were, I am glad we didn't tell them. There is just something about the excitement of Santa. Ya know? I believed in Santa, and I turned out ok (no comments). For now, we are going to enjoy the "magic" that it is... Of course we talk a lot about Jesus and why we celebrate Christmas. We had a candlelight service today at church and had the Lord's Supper, and it was a perfect conclusion to the holiday. It was so sweet to have Julianna participate for the first time. It was all around a wonderful Christ filled weekend.

Of course, with the celebration of Christmas comes the longing in my heart for my other little girl that is so very far away. It has been hard for me this year. I guess because last year, I just kept thinking "next Christmas Willa will be home!", and here we are and there she is... It is hard. Surely next Christmas, surely.

Oh my gosh! Speaking of Willa, I never told you guys our update!! Brad and I had a talk about when and how a couple of weeks ago. As you remember, Brad said he really wanted to wait until we had saved $6500 before moving forward with matching. Well, we currently have $2000.00 and with all of our issues lately, $6500.00 felt like a lifetime away! Anyway, he gave me the go ahead to get the ball rolling now! So, I called our social worker and had a talk with her. Then I called our family coordinator and have a conversation with her too. This was last week. The special needs list came out on Monday and we asked to be considered for a match! Unfortnately, Willa wasn't on it this time. I have complete peace about that though. I really do. I know when God is ready, He will make her known to us. I am ready! So, we are on to the January list! Maybe I will get a special birthday present!

Needless to say, we are very short on the money needed. We are just placing our trust in Jesus. He provided before, and we are trusting him still. We need $13,000 if I travel completely alone. We are praying that I don't have to. I know that in a perfect world, my husband could travel with me. Unfortunately, that is just not an option unless a whole lot of money just appears. We at least hope that Anna can travel with me again. If she travels, we will need $16,000.  Gosh, seeing that in print makes me feel nauseous. We applied for a grant, but we received a letter on Christmas Eve saying we didn't get it.  We just have to trust. We have no choice. We do have a Tastefully Simple fundraiser coming up, so that gives me something to look forward too. Plus we are still selling the Show Hope T-shirts. At this time, we only have the black tree tee available. I have an order for one, 23 more to go. I am thinking about just going ahead and ordering them and praying I can sell them.

Anyway, so that is our update! Sorry it was so long! I will try to be better.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christ -Filled Christmas!

Edited to add our Christmas Eve Photo:

Monday, December 13, 2010

OUR WEEK

So remember last Monday I posted about spiritual warfare and how I felt we were under attack? Um yeah. So let me give you the run down of my week:

* I got sick, started running a fever.
* We went for our adoption physicals including having blood work done. Well, they forgot (even though I told them as they were drawing it) to do the HIV and Hepatitis test on both of us. So we had to go back and have more blood work done.
*Went to Walmart to get two money orders to get our SBI clearances done. They printed one money order, and the machine broke. I had to have two.
*Got into a senseless argument with my mom.
*Julianna got sick with what I had.
*Jameson got sick, vomiting.
*Got the bill for Brad's root canals - it's $400.00 more than we thought.
*Our dryer broke.
*Jackson almost flooded our bathroom.
*Jackson did not turn off the shower, so when I turned on the water for Julianna's bath, I got drenched. So now, I am soaking wet and so are the rugs. Keep in mind my dryer is broken.
*Brad gets an oil change and finds out he needs two new tires.
*It snows and we can't have church. So the kids do not get to do their Christmas musical that my parents drove over 4 hours to see.
*My parents had to leave early because of the snow. So our Christmas visit was cut short.

I think that's it for now. Hopefully, for a while. Isn't that crazy? I mean COME ON. I am mostly just concerned about the financial aspect of it all. It worries me. What does this mean for our adoption?  We are trying so hard to save money, but every time we get a little bit saved, something big happens. We do still have the money that was gifted to us, so at least there is money to pay for our homestudy update and stuff, and I guess for now, that is all that matters.

Sorry to be so whiny. I don't mean to be. In the chaos, there have been many blessings too. When we went to get fingerprinted for the SBI clearances, the lady didn't charge us. It would have been $24. So that was nice. My stepdad gave us $500 for Christmas, so that was awesome! We had an awesome friend come over today to pick up our dryer to drop it off for us at the repair place - we couldn't have done it without him (nevermind his truck got stuck in our yard and it took him and Brad pushing and me gunning it to get it up the driveway! LOL. At least it provided a little comic relief!). So even though it seems like our world is falling apart around us, I realize there is still so so so much to be thankful for.  The timing of all of our "events" was a blessing in and of itself. So, I am thankful for that.

I am just ready for a break. Something warm and tropical would be nice.

Monday, December 6, 2010

INTERESTING STUFF GOING ON

A couple of months ago I read this blog about spiritual warfare. I know that talking about spiritual warfare kind of creeps people out. In fact, there have lots of times when I have mentioned it, people look at me like I am crazy. It's just not something people talk about freely. Well, you know me... boat rocker that I am... I am going to talk about it. 


Anyway, so I read this blogpost at  Its Almost Naptime a while ago, and it really gave me something to think about. What exactly does the bible say about spiritual attacks?


Ephesians 6:10-12: 10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For wetare not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.


We also know that Jesus himself had "run ins" with Satan. So while it isn't fun to talk about it, or even think about it, we need to be aware and even prepared to handle times of spiritual attack in our lives.  Let me give you a little run down of our week. Actually it's just been a few days. Anyway, here goes:


* A "critter" got into our chimney and scared the daylights out of me. I really thought I was going to          have to call a pest control service. It finally went away.


* It rained in our den. Seriously, it was about 9 PM the other night and it started raining in our den. My husband had to get on the roof in the storm and wind to see what was going on.  Turns out, the roof at the chimney was messed up.  


*My hubby got an excruciating tooth ache on Thursday. At first, we thought it would pass. The tooth looked fine. It didn't pass. We called the doctor on Friday. He told him he had to wait until Monday. Bless his heart, he had the most miserable weekend ever. He didn't sleep. He couldn't eat. He could hardly function. 


*Monday comes and he goes to the dentist. Only, the dentist can't help him. He sends him to a another doctor an hour away. I had to drive him, he was in so much pain. It was awful.


*We get to the doctor where he had two emergency root canals. Two root canals + three crowns= $5000.00. Our insurance covers $1500.00. 


*Our couch broke. I mean like really broke. You can't sit on the middle cushion.


and


*My van is doing a weird thing.


So that is all of the major stuff. For now. It's funny how there are seasons like this. Do I believe we are under spiritual attack? You better believe I do. Will we get through? Oh yeah... 


How do we protect ourselves from a spiritual attack? Well, Ephesians 6:13-18 says:


13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.t16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.t 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.



So, there you have it. We will do our best to stand up to the enemy. What doesn't kill us makes up stronger, right? LOL. I look back over the last 5 months and wonder how we have survived at all. It could only be Jesus. I know when all of the trying stuff passes, we will be better for it. I will still Glorify Him no matter what. I know that I may not ever understand this side of Heaven, but I don't need to. He alone is reason for JOY!

Friday, December 3, 2010

CHRISTMAS CARD 2009

Provence Holiday 2010 Holiday 5x7 folded card
Get custom holiday cards online at Shutterfly.com.
View the entire collection of cards.


This was our Christmas card last year. I was thinking about our cards this year, and that leads me to  a question. What do people really think about photo cards? I am really curious. Should it be reserved for family?

So share your thoughts. Then send me your address, so I can send you my photo card this year. LOL!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

BOOK OF LIFE

This morning I was talking to Julianna about the Book of Life. I was telling her that my name, daddy's name, Jackson's name and anyone that is a Christian has their name written in His book. I went on to tell her that if your name is in the Book, nothing can take it out and it seals your place in Heaven. She started crying! I asked her if she would like her name written in Jesus' book and she said yes! I told her that she would have to say a prayer to Jesus asking Him to come into her heart. She said ok! She climbed up into my lap, and repeated the prayer after me... Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I know that you died on the cross for my sins. I love you. I want you to be my Savior. Please come into my heart. Thank you Jesus for dying for me. Amen. 

My little girl is SAVED! Praise Jesus! Praise Jesus that Julianna Brooke's name is written in the Book of Life!

I have so much Joy knowing my little one will be with me for all eternity. I am so excited about the things He will do in her life. She has such a heart already. She cares for the orphan and the less fortunate. She gave 10% of her Christmas money in church on Sunday to help buy bibles to pass out to those that do not have any. She wants to adopt her children. She wants to help the people in India that do not know Jesus. Missions is a part of who she is. I can't wait to see the seed in her little heart growing for Jesus. 

This is true Joy. What a wonderful Christmas gift to us!! 

Can I ask - what about you? Do you have Joy and Peace in your heart? Jesus has His arms stretched out to you today. He wants to embrace you and fill you with a Peace and Joy that only comes from Him. He wants to spend eternity with YOU. He died so that you may live. He would have died if only for you. What are you doing for Him today? Seek Him. When you seek Him with your whole heart, you will find Him. He's there and He's waiting. Have faith like a child. Your life will be forever changed.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

SUNDAY SNAPSHOT - WILLA VIRGINIA

Ni Hao Y'all


All of my life, I have been extremely close with my grandmother. I call her Ma Ma (Yes, I am in the South. Thankyouverymuch.) My sweet Ma Ma has had a hard life.  She has had multiple brain aneurysms and had to have a craniotomy each time (though thankfully, they were always caught in time). She has had three miscarriages. When her youngest son was 29, he was fatally shot in the head. A year later, she lost her beloved husband of 45 years. Now, bless her precious heart, now, she has Alzheimer's and has to live in a nursing home.


When I got married, 10 years ago, we moved away. She would send me letters with $5.00 in them. When she knew I was coming home for a visit, she would walk to the drugstore on the corner near her house to buy me a Mountain Dew, so it would be waiting for me. It *kills* me to go see her now. She has no idea who I am. You know what though? She still treats me like she does. That is just her way. She has never met a stranger. I am thankful for the visits with her like I had this weekend. I took my kids to see her. She enjoyed them so much. Not because she knew they were her great grandchildren, but because she just loves children. She just smiled and giggled the whole time.


I am so grateful that my mom and her siblings can go everyday and visit her. They take care of her, even if she has to live in the nursing home. I so wish that I lived closer so I could go every week to see her.  You can't tell in these photos, but my Ma Ma, my mom, me, and my daughter all have the same blue eyes. 

One day, my precious Ma Ma will no longer have to endure the pain of this world. One day, she will meet her sweet Savior in Heaven. She will be reunited with her love and her baby. One day she will be whole in mind and will have a new body. I know one thing, even though she will have a new body, I will recognize her instantly when I meet her in Heaven as well - her heart will be unmistakeable. As much as my flesh doesn't want to think of her leaving Earth, my heart longs for the day when she finally has Peace.  


I love you, Willa Virginia. I am proud to call you grandmother. Thank you for all you are to me. You have touched my heart like no other. I can't wait to name my daughter Willa. I only wish I could share my journey to her with you. 

**edited to add: Gracious! LOOK at my roots! WOW! They didn't look that bad in person, just so you know!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TRANSPARENCY

I was reading over my old blog today. The blog that I kept on our journey to Han Xiao.  It was painful to read those words - to hear the excitement in my post. I remember those posts like they were yesterday. I remember the joy and excitement. It is hard to think that I will ever feel that again.

There are some posts there that really shared how Jesus provided and guided on our journey. I began to think that by taking that blog down, people were missing all the wonderful things He has done for us. I decided to merge the blogs. There are still a few posts that I have not published here, because it is still too painful. Not for me or my circumstance, but for her and her little life. I hate how it worked out for Xiao. I hate that I told her I was her mommy and then I left her there. 

I do know that Jesus had a plan all along. He knew the way it would turn out. He knew that Xiao was not intended to be my daughter. I can happily report now that Xiao has indeed found her family, so she will get her happy ending. Thank God. It's still hard though. 

Over time, I will publish more posts from the old blog. My journey is not complete without them. My journey to Willa would not be complete if I didn't include those posts too. Because of those painful things, I will eventually find the daughter Jesus intended for us. 

Anyway, so there are new posts buried in the archives. I do ask that if you read them and feel the need to comment, please, please be kind. I do not need judgement. I answer to only ONE Judge. I sharing these in hopes that they help someone. I am not asking for thoughts and opinions. Thank you.

NEW BUTTON

Loot at my cool new button to the right!! My sweet friend, Kelly, made it for me! Isn't it cool? She did a great job! And better yet, you can copy and post it on your blog too! I know y'all are dying to do that! LOL!

Thanks Kelly! I love it!!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

EXCITING!

I am excited to announce our new fundraiser! We recently applied for a grant from Show Hope. During that process, we discovered they also help with fundraising by selling t-shirts!

I feel very passionately about these t-shirts. Not just because they will help us raise funds to bring Willa home, but because of the message on the shirts. The shirt's advocate for the orphan. They help spread the message that we, as Christians, are God's plan for the orphan. They also spread the word about Show Hope. Show Hope is a wonderful foundation that helps families in their journey to bring their adopted children home. So, the CAUSE is way more important than the fundraising. The fundraising helps my family, specifically, in our journey.  Please buy a t-shirt and be a part of God's plan for Willa, and orphans worldwide.  We are not all called to adopt, but we are called to do something.

So here they are! There are 8 different designs. They can be ordered in multiple sizes!



T-Shirt 1

Unisex - S, M, L, XL, 2X

T-Shirt 2

Long Sleeve Womens - S, M, L, XL, 2X

T-Shirt 3

Violet Shirt in Women
Women - S, M, L, XL  


T-Shirt 4

I Dig Army Green - Women and Youth
Women - S, M, L, XL, 2XL
Youth - YXS, YS, YM, Yl, YXL

T-Shirt 5

I SHOW HOPE
Unisex - S, M, L, XL, 2X, 3X

T-Shirt 6

I SHOW HOPE 
Unisex - S, M, L, XL, 2X, 3X

T-Shirt 7

I SHOP HOPE
Unisex - S, M, L, XL, 2X, 3X

T-Shirt 8

I SHOW HOPE
Unisex - S, M, L, XL, 2X, 3X

All of the I SHOW HOPE shirts are also printed on the back as shown in the image below.

How cute are they?? I love all of them! Please support our fundraiser by purchasing a t-shirt! Buy one for your whole family! The shirts are $30.00 each. Our family will receive 50% of the proceeds to bring sweet Willa home! 

Please help! I have included a Paypal link on the sidebar. Feel free to use that - please use the drop down menu to include what number shirt you want, and what size. If you prefer to place an order and mail a check, that will be fine also! You can send me an email jackjujam @ yahoo.com with your order and your mailing  address. I will send you my address to mail a check. 

One more thing, I can not place the order until I have at least 24 orders in. Just an FYI, if you are worried about it. As soon as I can, I will place the order. It will come in a couple of weeks later. I will then promptly get your shirt to you! 

Thank you all so very much! It's been a long, difficult journey. We could not do it without you guys!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

ONCE A GROUPIE, ALWAYS A GROUPIE?

It seems that way. LOL! Ok, so most of you know that back in the day, I was a New Kids on the Block groupie. Sad, I know. I mean, couldn't I have followed a cooler group? I guess back then, NKOTB was a cool group. They were to me anyway. I still have a fondness in my heart for Donnie Wahlberg. HAHAHA. Anywho... It turns out, I am still a groupie. Only the group I am following around now does not have smooth moves, or mullets, or earrings.  Instead, they actually have musical talent. HA!

My husband is in a quartet called One Hope. Four middle aged young guys, singing for Jesus. See they actually have a purpose, unlike a certain boy band from the 90's.  Yesterday, the old new boy band I'm following around sang at a car show in town.





If I were to compare One Hope to a boy band you may know, my hubby would be the Justin Timberlake of the group. The cute one. The talent. HAHAHA. Sorry that just cracks me up.  Anyway, I am just so relieved I don't have to tease my hair for this group. Or fight away the other girls. 

Seriously cracks me up. I just can't help it. Let me know if you want a One Hope poster or pillow case for your room! 

WINNER!

It's Sunday night! It's winner time! WOOT, WOOT!

We were going to use random.org to choose the winner, but I thought, what fun is that? We did it the old fashion way. Little pieces of paper, a bowl, and a kid. We decided it would be fun to photograph the steps.

So here is Julianna mixing up the names:


Of course, she was giggling the whole time. That's just how she rolls. Anyway, so she drew a name out of the bowl:


And with that, we have a winner!



Congrats Stacie! Enjoy shopping! I will share your email with Caitlin, and she will email you the gift card code. 

Thanks everyone for participating! It was tons of fun. I am sorry everyone couldn't win something!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

MY VERY OWN GIVEAWAY!

We are giving away a $35 gift certificate to CSN Stores! No strings attached! CSN is comprised of over 200 online stores! They sell everything from children's backpacks to cookware! I can not say enough great things about CSN Stores. Their costumer service is awesome!


Angel-Street-Kids-ASD-BPLADYBUG-AKD1016.html.jpg


 How cute is this back pack? Love it!

Can I tell you how much my husband would love this?

 www.luggage.com.jpg


Seriously, over 200 online stores! They sell everything!! Maybe you could do a little Christmas shopping. Or, maybe you could buy yourself something!

Here are the "rules":

1. Take a look around CSN Stores yourself.
2. Come back to my blog and leave a comment about what you would order if you won the gift certificate.
3. Make sure in your comment that you leave me your email address, in case you win! No worries, no one will see it but me!

On Sunday night, I will announce the wiener  winner!

Yay! It's fun being on the giving end!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

OH HOW HE LOVES US!

If you ever think to yourself, "I would really love to adopt, but I just can't afford it.", this post is for you. I have said time and time again that when we started our adoption journey over a year ago, we had $0, zero, zilch, nothing saved up for it. We didn't even have the $250 for the application fee. However, we really felt lead by Jesus to begin our journey, and put our faith in Him.  So we did and you know what? The money was there. Miraculously. Seriously, every single time we had to write a check, it was there. Sometimes it came literally hours before the check was to be mailed. But it was there.  You think God's heart is for the orphan? You better believe it. You think He will provide for you, for them, in the same way as He did for us? There is no doubt in my mind.

So fast forward to now. God provided for us for our journey to Xiao, but will he provide for us again? Did we blow our chances at adopting already (Thanks for that one Satan.)? Would He work in the miraculous ways He did before, for us again? We asked ourselves those questions a thousand times. I have to be completely honest here, we really doubted it. He provided already, He used His people, our loved ones, already. Surely we can't expect Him to do that again.

Brad came to me a couple of weeks ago. He said that he is really worried about the money. He said that he would be comfortable moving forward if we could save $6500 first. That would be half of the money needed for me to travel. I felt that was pretty reasonable. I agree that it would certainly make things easier once we were matched and things moved quickly.  I did ask him what if we happened to have $6500 by the next shared list release - he said fine. LOL. Considering that will be in just a couple of weeks, I am doubting that, but you know I had to ask! HAHA!

So this past weekend, he calls me (I was out of town) and tells me he has good news and bad news. The bad news was he went to Hardee's for lunch (yuck). The good news? Oh the good news - was that someone in our church... gosh, I am crying now writing this... someone gave us $1000.00. We have no clue who it was. A thousand dollars. Do you have any idea how BIG that is? I can not even begin to express my gratitude. Maybe we can't thank the person ourselves, but I have prayed many times since that call that Jesus would bless them and I will continue to do so. If you are the sweet spirited, generous person that gave... gave to bring my baby home, thank you. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

Also, we got a check in the mail from the health department for $135. It was a refund from JUNE.  On top of that, we have saved $425. So we only have $4940 to go.

So, will God provide again? He sure will! Can God move the same financial mountains in your path? He can and He WILL. My motto this whole time has been "When God gives you a vision, He will follow it through with His provision." I stand by that, and I am adding a new one, "God funds what he favors." Does He want His children in families? YES! Does He favor adoption? YES!

Even when it felt like He had turned His back on me. Even when I was in a darkness like never before, He was there. He is there. He is working. He is moving. He is providing. And soon, when He says she is ready, and we are ready, He will bring my baby girl home.

30 DAYS OF GIVEAWAYS

Ni Hao Y'all

Oh, how I love giveaways. Oh, how I love NiHao Y'all. So what happens when the two come together? Bliss, I tell you, pure bliss!

Stefanie, at NiHao Y'all is having a gigantic giveaway! You have to go check it out! My sweet friend, Ashley, will even be featured with her awesome stuff from Baby Bobo  - twice! Isn't that cool? Great timing too, with Christmas just around the corner (how can that be, by the way?)!

Check out NiHao Y'all, not just for the giveaway, but just because. It's inspiring. It's funny. I think you will love it!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

SUNDAY SNAPSHOT

Ni Hao Y'all

It's been quite a while since I participated in Sunday Snapshot. I've been a little preoccupied, I suppose. Anyway, I hope to start joining in again. It really is fun, and it gives me a lot of practice.

So we went up to the mountain not too long ago for a homeschool event. I knew it would be really pretty up there, so I took the good camera. I am pretty pleased with the way the photos turned out. I would really love to get the one of all three kids blown up and framed.

Anyway, here are my sweet little munchkins!





They are so cute, I can hardly stand it! LOL! Thanks for checking the pictures out ...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

FEAR OR EXCITEMENT?

Depends on when you ask me, I suppose. I bought a new pocket calendar for 2011. As I was flipping through it tonight, I just thought for a bit about the days, the months ahead.  Right now it's a blank canvas. It could be great, it could be devastating. I get this way every year as I reflect on the year to come. What does 2011 hold for us? Will this be my last Christmas with my Ma Ma? Will we all be healthy in 2011? Next Christmas will Santa bring gifts to my FOUR little ones?

I don't know. Honestly, if I think about it too much, I will scare myself silly. Fear has a stronghold on me, and if I give into it, it can be debilitating.

Fortunately, I have Hope. Peace. Comfort. No matter what happens in 2011 - it will not come as a surprise to my Father. He knows what every second holds. I do not have to fear. It's hard to remember that sometimes.  As I looked at my little calendar tonight, I could feel the fear rising up in me. No matter what the year holds, I will always have my Father to run to.

Now I just have to hang onto that! When I was younger, my mom and I would always joke around saying, "Name it and claim it!" whenever we were hoping God would bring us something that we needed.  So for 2011 - I am praying for health and protection for my little ones, protection from the enemy in my marriage, and for my Sweet Willa to come home and I am naming it and claiming it! LOL.

You know what though? Even if Jesus choses to tell me no, He is still Worthy. He is still in control. And I will still trust Him.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

THURSDAY'S THINGS TO PRAY FOR





I'm a slacker. I admit it. I am really going to try to be better about posting my Thursday's things to pray for. Gosh knows we need prayer. I know all of you do, too. So please join in! I would love to be able to pray for your needs, as you so faithfully help pray for mine!


1. Please pray for me as a homeschool mom. I am working very hard to keep my cool and not let my slack sweet children cause me to lose my sanity patience.  


2. Please pray for my children as we have hit a funk in school. Actually, Jackson seems to be doing better, but Julianna? Oh lawd, Julianna is doing to drive me to drink. That child is so smart, yet so... hm... I can't even think of a word to describe her. Free spirit, maybe? She wants to learn to read, and she does well for the most part, but she just can't be bothered by all of this... learning. 


3. Please pray for God's timing with our adoption. I want to be matched now, Brad wants to wait until June. Pray that we will focus on what God has planned for us and for Willa, and not our timing. 


4. Please pray for our finances. We have a lot of money to come up with. Fortunately, all of my fees and such will carry over. We did not lose any of that. We do, however, have to come up with travel fees again. I originally said that I would never travel back to China without Brad. However, now, I am seeing that Brad going is just another expense that we can not afford. We will need around $12,000 if I travel alone. We have $100. HAHA! So we have a *long* way to go. If a miracle happened and money fell from the sky, I would take my whole family. They all want to travel - but then I would need $22,000. YIKES! 


5. One last one, but it's a big one. I am due to have another MRI/MRA of my head. The doctor told me when I was originally diagnosed with the brain cavernoma that I needed to repeat the MRI in 2 years. It's time. I don't want to go. I have *severe* anxiety about it. He did tell me that the cavernoma is not a big deal. In fact, it is very likely that I was born with it. He does just want to make sure it isn't growing however. I say let's leave well enough alone. I am having no symptoms what so ever. So I just need to decide what to do. OR! I could just pray for complete healing and just trust in Jesus. Yeah, I like that idea.


Please post a comment with a specific prayer need that you have. OR! Better yet, write up your own Thursday's Things to Pray For post and leave a comment so I can check it out. I genuinely would love to pray for you!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MYSTERY

Ok, so there are some weird things going on at my house. Seriously! First of all, let me say that I am not crazy. LOL. Well, for the most part anyway.

The "weird things" started a few weeks ago.  It sort of began with some random weird noises like hearing doors open, but when I would check on them, they would be closed. Whatever, that kind of thing is easily explained. However, several weeks ago, I was in my bathroom getting ready to take a shower. I turned the shower on and waited for the water to get hot. I was standing there waiting when all of a sudden the shower turned off. I mean completely off. I stood there thinking, oh my gosh! I didn't pay the water bill! So I pulled back the shower curtain to turn the knobs off, but they were off. So I turned the shower back on and it worked just fine. The actual knobs were off when I checked. Weird right?

Today, I was loading the dishwasher and I realized that one of my pots was in there that wasn't suppose to be in there. I have this pot that I use for oil to fry won ton's. Yes, we eat won ton's enough that I keep the pot of oil in the oven so it's ready when I need it. Last night, I had take the pot out of the oven so I could bake a pizza. I usually just put it on the back of the stove until I am done with the oven. Well last night, I left it on the stove.  Somehow between last night and this morning, the pot (without the oil) got put in the dishwasher. So I started asking questions - I asked Brad, the kids, my mom. No one had touched the pot, let alone knew where the oil went. I really feel if the kids had messed with it, there would have been a mess to clean up.  Brad wouldn't have known what to do with the oil, and my mom wasn't here when the debacle took place. LOL. Weird, right?

There are other instances - like I heard Julianna's bedroom door open (it creaks really bad) and I heard her walk down the hall. I got up to check on her and she was sound asleep in her bed.  Weird, right?

One more example. The other day we were preparing to leave the house. I went through turning off lights. I went in the den and turned off the one lamp we use. There are two lamps in there, but one of them never gets used. It's one of those tall halogen lamps. The kids can't reach the switch to turn it on. I went through the whole house. My house was dark when we left, except for the porch light. When we got home later, as soon as pulled in the drive way, I realized there was a light on in the den. So I came inside and it was the lamp that never gets turned on. I asked the kids about it, and they confirmed what I thought, they couldn't reach the switch. I asked Brad, but he had not been home. Weird, right?

There are a couple of possibilities: a) I am seriously losing my mind. Like full blown hallucinations. LOL. b) I am sleep walking. c) I have a ghost. HAHA.

My husband is annoyed that I am "concerned" about our recent events. LOL. It's just all so weird!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

PROGRESS

Wow! I'm sorry it has taken me so long to blog. We have been really busy lately. There are a lot of things that I want to say and share, but I just haven't found the time to sit down with the laptop.

Things are going better lately. Don't get me wrong, I still feel "frantic" more than I care to admit. In Target on Saturday I saw a sweet little Chinese girl with her Caucasian parents and I burst into tears. Silly, I know, but other than moments like that, it is getting better.

For a while now, Brad has been asking me how I know that we still have a little girl waiting for us. I always just tell him, "I just know", because it has been the truth. I just know.  I have never been able to explain with anything more than that. However, the other night, I was sitting in the living room and it hit me. I ran into the den to share my epiphany with Brad.

When I am closest with Jesus, when I really feel His presence - for instance when I am worshipping Him with music, or reading my bible, or praying - I feel the leading to complete our adoption the most. During those times, I feel heart broken for the orphan, for my daughter. Yet, when I spend a few days not reading my bible study like I am suppose to, or the kids want to listen to Michael Jackson in the car (Yes, they are their mother's children. We love MJ. We just can't help it. Do not judge us.) instead of our contemporary Christian (which we listen to 95% of the time), or I am just too busy to stop and listen to my Lord, it is less oppressive. I don't think about it as much. I don't feel drawn to it. For the last few months, I can see a pattern. When I look back over the time since I have been home from China, the times when I felt done with this process was the times when I wasn't as close to Jesus as I should have been. Yet, the days where I felt so sure that Willa was still waiting was the days that I had spent time with Jesus.

So that is how I know. That is how I know that we have a daughter waiting for us still. The same daughter that has been waiting all along. The daughter that I have been working so hard for, for three years. I told Brad that in the summer of 2007, Jesus told me that I had a daughter waiting in China. He told me to bring her home. We haven't done that yet. I believe we are suppose to finish what He started a long time ago. So, all of that said... WE ARE GOING BACK TO CHINA!

Brad is still processing all of this. He needs a little more time. I respect that. Obviously, my little Willa isn't ready for us yet. So we are going to give it more time before requesting a match, but we are moving forward.  The way I see it is this - it gives me more time to pray for her. More time to pray for our finances. More time to thank my precious Father in Heaven that once again - HE MOVED MOUNTAINS.

Willa Hope is coming home!!!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FRANTIC

Frantic is the only word that I can think of to describe the way I feel. I like I am desperately swimming (against a current) to get to her, and the harder I swim, the further away she is. This panic wells up inside of me, and there is nothing I can do about it. 

I long for her. I love her just as if I had given birth to her myself. Yet, I have never seen her. I do not know her name. The love is very real, however. Sadly, no matter how desperate I feel, or how empty I feel, it doesn't matter. She is a world away and there is no way I can get to her. Not now at least.

It is the most horrible feeling. I completely trust Jesus, but at the same time, I am desperate to understand. 

His ways are not our ways. I only see the here and now, He sees the whole picture. I have to trust that he has a purpose and all of this has meaning. If I don't believe that, I will lose my mind.

I just have to pray that He will reveal Himself and His purpose to us. Hopefully, He will do that soon. I am not sure how long I can keep swimming. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

THURSDAY'S THINGS TO PRAY FOR



My friend, Kelly, gave me this great idea. Every Thursday she will post a list of things she would like her readers to pray for. It's a great idea, and the more people that can join in, the more people we have praying!

So here is my list! Please help me by praying. If you will pray for me, please leave a comment. That way I can link back to your blog and pray for you!!

1. Brad and I am in the midst of making big decisions regarding our adoption. When? How? What? All major questions that we need help with. Decisions we can NOT make without direction from our Abba.

2. Our homeschool. Things are some better, but it was tough this week. My children just can't be "bothered" with school and it is really showing in their work.

3. I am having some weird symptoms lately. Alone, each symptom is not a big deal. However, together, they are annoying. I am thinking it may be... gasp...perimenopause. I am so not ready for that. At the same time, I hope that is all that it is.

That's it for now! Thank you guys for the prayers! We surely need them. Please post a comment, so I can return the favor!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

PROCESSING

Long time no post, eh? I am finding lately that either I have nothing to share, or I have so much my heart wants to share, I don't know where to begin. 

We recently started a new bible study at church called "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. So far, I am really enjoying it. The more I learn about Francis Chan, the more I love him! LOL. He is brilliant and he has such valid points. The book is really making me think about things. If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it.  Here is a video link that shares a little bit about what the bible study is about - check it out:

Pretty neat huh? Guys, this video is the tip of the iceberg. This book is amazing. 

Also, I just wanted to share that Brad and I have had lots of talks lately about our adoption. We have finally began to work through some of the pain, anger, disappointment, etc... It feels so much better to get some of this stuff out. I could tell that I was beginning to slip into a really dark place. I have to say though, with prayer and endless talks with my husband, I am feeling so much better.  I look forward to our next steps, and am hopeful that we all will get the happy ending we have been praying about for so very long. In His time. I just need to learn some patience. 

Some possible good news - I have been in contact with a very dear lady that has some connections in China. She is working on getting Sweet Xiao the medical help she needs. Please join me in praying for that precious little girl. This could be life changing for her. I don't know all of the details or the ins and outs, but there is hope for her. When I hear something new, I will share. Please just pray it all works out for Xiao. 

Please also keep us in your prayers as we move forward. I trust with Jesus' provision there will be nothing to fear.  Isaiah 43:18-19!! He's doing a new thing! 


Saturday, September 4, 2010

10 YEARS



Yesterday was our 10 year wedding anniversary. 10 years! That just seems nuts to me. At the same time, I feel like Brad has always been in my life. I can't remember what life was like before him.

I typed up this long "timeline" representing our last 10 years. Almost all the entries were hardships. I decided to start over. I don't want to focus on the hardships. Honestly, without each and every one, we would not be the married couple we are today.

And to be even more honest, I can't imagine my marriage being any better. I can say this for the both of us - there is no one else on the face of the planet that I would rather be with. I truly married my best friend. After 10 years together, its has only gotten better.

We are settled. We are content. We are secure. We are happy. We are still in love.

It feels so good to know that I married the man Jesus, himself, hand picked just for me. It is awesome. Now, don't get me wrong - none of that means we are without our hard times. This last month has rocked us to the very core. We are still reeling from it, and we probably will be for quite some time. I am just so grateful to be traveling this journey with Brad.

I look forward many more decades together! I can't wait to live them with the perfect mate for me!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

SPLURGE

I was in desperate need of new jeans.  All of my jeans are fat girl, mom jeans. I knew with fall just around the corner (how can that be, btw?), I could not endure another season with the hideous jeans in my closet.

So when I got an email from Gap for 30% off, I heard heavenly music playing. It was time. So the kids and I set off to Winston Salem to the mall. Just as a side note, it still hurts my feelings that I have to drive an hour to go to the mall, but that is neither here nor there, I suppose. Anyway, so I get to Gap and started trying on jeans. I found some awesome ones that I love. And guess what??? They were a whole size smaller than I thought I was going to have to buy!

Isn't that awesome? Oh and I had $30 in Gap reward dollars!!  So it was a great time to buy!

New jeans, $59.50.
Total savings, $47.85.
Getting a size 6, PRICELESS!

Monday, August 23, 2010

GETTING IN THE GROOVE

We started school last Monday. Our big ol' box of curriculum came from Sonlight week before last, and I could hardly wait to start!


We decided that Jackson and Julianna would share a core (Geography, History, Bible, and Science) and then have separate math, language arts and handwriting. Because they are so close in age, they are able to share those core subjects (the core is for grades K - 2). It makes things super easy.

Here are my littles on their first day:


Of course you can't go to school (or downstairs as it is in our case) without a purse! LOL! Anyway, we are enjoying the curriculum so far. It is very thorough! It feels sooooo good to be back into the swing of things. It is going to take my kids a little while and a lot of beatings to really break their bad summer habits though.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

HE FOUND ME

Remember in my last post that said I couldn't seem to find Peace, even though I knew where to look? Well, yesterday, after I posted that, I had a long "talk" with my hubby.  Throughout all of this, I have not really cried. I would cry here or there, but mostly, I just ached. Well, yesterday I finally had that release that I so needed. I cried harder than I have cried in a very long time. 


After that, I just felt better. It was very cleansing. Anyway, fast forward to last night, I stumbled across Isaiah 43:18 -19. It says: 18 -Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. 19 - Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? 


Well then. No Lord, I did not see it. Thank you for reminding me that YOU are still on the throne! YOU are still working on our behalf! The funny thing about this particular scripture is it from Isaiah 43. Over a year ago, before Brad came to me and said he felt we were suppose to adopt, I clung to a specific scripture. Guess where it was? Yeah, Isaiah 43. Except it was in the beginning of that very same chapter, in that very same book. It was Isaiah 43:5 - Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and I will gather you from the west. 


Is it coincidental that my sweet Abba had a word for me last night in the very same book, very same chapter of the Bible that he had for me so long ago? No, I do not believe so. He found me. Even when I did not have the strength to go searching for Him. He came to me. Actually, that is not true - He never left me. Last night, he made that evident.


I went to a concert tonight that our praise band put on. My husband was leading worship and he said that "God of My Days" was one of his favorite songs. Let me share the lyrics with you:


You awaken my heart
From slumbering
Meet me in mourning
And you speak to my grief

You're the light in my darkness
The delight of my eyes
The hope of the daybreak
When the sun's slow to rise

(Chorus)
I trust that every moment's in your hands
You're the God of my days
The King of my nights
Lord of my laughter
Sovereign in sorrow
You're the Prince of my praise
The love of my life
You never leave me
You are faithful

God of my days

You unveil my eyes
Help me to see
The arms of my Father
Encircling me
You're a constant companion
I am never alone
Your love is the banner
That's leading me home


(Chorus)

My eyes are on You
My hope is in You
My faith is in You
My eyes are on You
My hope is in You
My faith is in You



He unveils my eyes to help me to see the arms of my Father encircling me. He did just that. Not only do I see my Father's arms, I feel them. I feel the Peace that I so desperately needed. And you know what? It gave me just the strength I needed to fight on.