Sunday, December 22, 2013
This year was another year full of appreciation and thanks. We added another child to our family this year, and have become humbled at the sheer JOY she has brought to our lives. She has shown us the sheer reward that comes with taking a leap of FAITH and following your HEART. She has shown us that it's not blood that makes you a family, it's LOVE.
We give THANKS to HIM, because HE adopted all of us as HIS own, and through that adoption, we get to experience His unconditional love, forgiveness and heavenly eternity.
We traveled to the Coast to spend yet another Thanksgiving Holiday with my sweet Grandparents. Oh how I am ever so thankful for this gift of TIME. Another year with them here on this a Earth with us. Thankful.beyond.words.
We enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by the loving hands of my Grandmother. She made our favorites, and as usual, everything was delicious. She said that this was going to be her "last" year preparing this big meal, as she has gotten older and finds it rather taxing. We knew the time was eventually coming, and perhaps that's what made the meal she prepared even more special.
Next year, she said we're ordering the meal!!
I spent so much time this past year reflecting on all of the things I'm thankful for. Our blessings are abundant, that's for sure.
A warm, cozy HOME, food to keep our bellies full, a soft bed to rest our heads at night, a car to take us to and from...these basic necessities make our lives so easy. My mind drifts to the cold Orphanage where Mia spent her last Thanksgiving. No heat and hard beds with wooden slats. It makes me sad.
We are blessed to have our health, and should our health fail us; access to quality healthcare. We can afford to see Doctors, afford to buy the medications we need. Again, basic necessities that SO many go without.
We have been given the gift of TIME with our loved ones. What a blessing, as we have not had to say a temporary "goodbye" to anyone whom we love dearly, this year.
We are so thankful for our Church. For this amazing place we have to go and worship. For the amazing people who take our children by the hand when they are there each week, and teach them all about God's love. The freedom of religion is such a blessing to have.
I am so very thankful for all of these things. I'm thankful for my marriage, for a clear mind (well...sometimes), and for a heart that overflows with love and compassion for others.
It us my hope that I live each day, professing these things that I am thankful for. That I take what I have been given and use it to better the world, somehow, even if it simply betters someone's day.
What are YOU thankful for this year?
Holy smokes! Where has the month gone? It's December 22nd....only 2 more nights until "you know who" comes".... And we are READY!!
It seems that we have spent everyday since the day after Thanksgiving, getting ready for the BIG day that's approaching. The Boys have patiently moved the advent calendar each day, slowly getting closer and closer to the 24th.
I catch them glancing under the tree, taking stock of the gifts, just in case "one more" has been added with THEIR name on it.
We started off the month with a super festive Holiday Party..and would you guess who was the guest of honor?? Yep...the Big man himself..SANTA!!
The kids couldn't believe that Santa Clause was actually walking into their house!!! Talk about being blown away. Sweet Santa stayed for awhile, telling stories, gathering lists and posing for lots of photos with our kiddos and some of their friends. It was a magical night, and after it was all over, I noticed my sweet Nick, sitting on the couch, quietly crying. When I asked him what was wrong, he sweetly replied that tonight had been the best night of his life and that he already missed Santa. Magical.
Decorating the house is always so much fun. Watching the kids get so excited to hang their own ornaments and stockings just reminds me HOW sweet this Season is. Having Mia get to experience all of the lights and music for the first time, was extremely bittersweet.
Our silly, mischievous Elf, Fruitcake, returned from the North Pole, to spend the month watching over us and making sure that we all stay on the Nice List.
The Boys have enjoyed waking each morning to see what silly things He has gotten into...
We have had a great time decorating cookies, baking, attending Christmas parties and Programs. Our sweet Alex was the Innkeeper in his school program and delivered a stellar performance with his singing...
And what does Mommy do, when she realizes that the month is speeding ahead of her and there are still desserts to bake and gifts to wrap??
We enjoyed an annual tradition of changing the kiddos into their jammies, heading in the car and riding through the Lights at the River...and then heading to the Doughnut Shop, for treats...
We celebrated an early Christmas with the loved ones that we won't get to see on Christmas Day. The kids got presents and we enjoyed our time together..
We decided to take our own Christmas Card photos this year...just too stressful to do it professionally. Out of about 100 I snapped, I managed to get 5 for our card..
Here are a few of the good..and the ones that didn't make the cut...
December has been an amazing month, and we are looking forward to the last 9 days that it has to bring...
You KNOW I'll update ya on how Christmas goes, and with looots of photos.
From our Family to yours...we wish you the happiest Holiday Season, with lots of cookies, hot cocoa and sweet snuggles from loved ones...
Merry Christmas, y'all!!!!!!
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Since bringing her home earlier this year, I have looked so forward to THIS day. The day that our sweet girl was born. And now ,as it is here, I sit filled with a million different emotions. I am so overjoyed with this precious blessing that took her first breaths on a cold November day in China. Amazed at the obstacles she has overcome in her short 2 years here on Earth. Humbled at the opportunity to be the one to raise her as my own and watch her grow. But aside from all of these wonderful emotions that bring a huge smile to my face, there also comes a twinge of sadness. When you look at the whole picture of WHO this little girl is and HOW she came into our lives, you have to face the reality of WHY she is ours. She was born to a Mother, who because of country birth limits and lack of accessibility to adequate medical care for Special needs, was unable to keep her as her own.
The sheer magnitude of this breaks my heart.
And so as we celebrate this special day, I am filled with questions. Was she born at night or during the day? Was she born in a hospital or at home, in secrecy, like so many children in China are? Was her birth a surprise?(some reports we have suggest she was very premature). And mostly, how did this poor woman feel as she wrapped her newborn baby up and had to leave her somewhere to be found? Was she abandoned because she was a second child or was it due to her severe cleft lip and palate? How many days did her Mother keep her, before having to walk away from her? Does she remember this day, and if so, what emotions is SHE feeling today?
These are questions we will never have the answers to, but I can only imagine the anguish that comes with each of these situations. And it tears at my heart. I knelt at the altar today and Church and said a special prayer for her past and those in it. That their hearts have a peace and that they always know that Beauty comes from Ashes.
That amongst pain and sadness, comes JOY.
On the other side of the world sat a family who longed for a Daughter. A Daughter with beautiful skin, black shiny hair and precious almond shaped eyes. We didn't care where she was, but we set out on search to find her.
And thanks be to GOD, he lead us right to her!
We celebrated her First Birthday without her, gathered with a few of our closest friends. We had a cake made and we made lots of wishes. We prayed that she was warm and cared for in her Orphanage, that somehow she knew something better was coming, and we prayed for Gods hands to be on her, keeping her safe while we waited to hold her.
Fast forward a year..and we are celebrating this year with her HOME!!!
She has no idea how special this day is, but oh boy, are we going the extra mile to try and make her understand!
Our sweet family came into town to help us with our 4 day birthday weekend. We celebrated with a super fun Party with lots of little friends the day before and then celebrated AGAIN, a little more low key, the day OF her actual Birthday, with just our little family. In true Birthday tradition, there were lots of cupcakes, candles, wishes and presents!!!
I made a wish for her as I blew out her candle..that she ALWAYS know how much she is loved. That she always know she was CHOSEN and PRAYED for. And that every Birthday from here on out, be as special to her as it is to us.
We want to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who came to celebrate this special day with us and those who sent calls and messages, wishing her a Happy Birthday...
We are so grateful to have so many friends and family members that are so anxious to love her!
Happy Birthday, our sweet girl.....
You are such a big girl!!!!
Mommy & Daddy