Friday, June 28, 2013

Of Mustard Seeds and Men

My heart has been heavy the past few weeks. 
So much going on in this world that breaks my heart.
Feel more and more daily like an alien in this world..
oh wait.. I am an alien!!
"Friends, this world is not your home. So don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul..." 1 Peter 2:11

Life is short.
Whether you get 30 years or 60 years or blessed with 80+ years...
Life is short.
"For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes."  James 4:14

The past couple weeks God has shown me some of that reality. 
A precious lady who has dedicated her life to obeying God's calling and command to care for orphans became critically ill in China.  This amazing lady, Joyce, is a British physician who after hearing God's voice stepped into a world of uncertainty with her dear husband, Robin.  They founded and operate New Hope Foster Home where our precious Meisi was loved on and cared for the first two years of her life (this is where LWB Heartbridge Healing home is located).  Brian and I were very privileged to meet them while in China and hear their amazing story of faith and obedience to the Holy Spirit clearly telling Joyce this is what they were supposed to do - care for the sick and dying fatherless children in China.  They now have multiple homes where orphans are provided medical therapy and surgeries and for those that nothing medically can be done to help them, they provide palliative care -they love on them until Jesus takes them into His arms.... I told you she is a precious lady and her husband an amazing man.

When I heard the news of how critically ill Joyce had become, my heart broke.  I prayed along with many others.

A very special and wise friend Sara whose son Gabe was also in New Hope
shared with me as we were discussing the tragedy, "I know we are not indispensable to God, but it is hard to believe that her work here on earth is done...she is doing such good for His glory and is so strategically located to do it. I will fervently pray." 

Praying fervently...with often do I really do that?

As days have passed we have heard God is doing miraculous things.  First the doctors said there is no way she will make it, and as Robin made the incredibly difficult decision to turn off life support... Joyce began to wake up.  Guess what?? God still does miracles!  The doctors now believe there is no brain damage!

Why are we surprised when God is faithful?
He says in Matthew 21:22, "If you believe you will receive everything you ask in prayer." 
Why do we have such little faith knowing that He says
"Faith as small as a mustard seed can move this mountain.... Nothing will be impossible for you"  Matthew 17:20

I know I have been guilty of praying - "God please do this but if you don't..."  That alone shows my lack of faith - doesn't it? 

Thinking about Joyce and Robin and the manner with which God has used them to help so many children, so many families - all because she heard God tell her to do something and she did it fully.  My fears set in with - what will happen if... who will take over if... what about all those children... 

and, again,  I remember my sweet friend Sara saying, "We are not indispensable to God." 
So very true.
He has this.  He has it all.  He created everything and everyone.
He wants to use us - telling us to "Go."
Whether that be go to my neighbor or go to the ends of the earth -

"Go and preach the good news to all the world"... Mark 16:15
"Go and make disciples of all nations- baptizing them... and teaching them all that I command..". Matthew 28:19

But are we obedient?

I think about the time I have... ever so short as it is.
Am I doing things that are making an eternal impact for God's glory?
I don't have to go far -
starting in my own home - am I discipling my children when we sit, when we eat, when we walk?? 
Am I a living example of His love - even when no one is looking?
Am I praying for open doors and boldness to share with those around me who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus? 
Do I really believe He can and will do miracles? 

I know I haven't been living this daily.
I've allowed idols into my life. 
No - I don't bow down and worship things but how I spend my time shows what/who is most important in my life.

A few weeks ago the kids and I were reading from "Mighty Acts of God" about the Israelites and their worshipping the golden calf when Moses came off the mountain after being with God (when God gave them the 10 Commandments). 
I asked, "What are examples of idols people have today?"
Immediately, without hesitation - my dear Aili says, "Your phone!" 

.............    breath in ..... breath out ..... and hear the truth  ....

Thank you Lord that she could boldly tell me what I needed to hear.
Truth - I am always looking at it to see email, my calendar, facebook, blogs... living in a virtual world instead of living for God in the world in front of me.

So change.
Change my heart oh God - make it ever true.
Change my heart oh God - may I be like you.. 

Other examples of idols she shared were - money, work, TV, computer, books, people, our looks and our stuff...  She is 8.

I know I can't do all these things alone - I am not self sufficient. but I praise God that when I am weak He is strong.  I can do All things through Him.  I can believe because He is faithful. I am thankful that I am still a work in progress and He is the potter continually shaping me into the vessel He intends for me to be.

Will you join me in praying, fervently praying -
Lord - keep healing Joyce!  Please don't let the swelling that is expected in the next few days in her brain to cause any issues.  Please Lord let it be your will for her to remain with us on earth to continue to be used to heal the sick and fatherless and love on those waiting to go to you. 

Lord thank you for Sara and her wisdom.  Lord I pray that you heal Seth, her precious son that you used as a vessel in our lives to lead us to adoption.  I love this little guy and am so thankful you answered all my prayers for him to be in a family that loves you and lives for you Jesus and that would shower him with more love than imaginable.  You answered my prayer for them to provide the best medical care possible.  Yet the doctors have said he is inoperable.  God I pray, as the Great Physician that you do something miraculous in his little heart.  Lord, please, please let it be your will to heal him.

I also pray for little Teresa Lord.  I do not know her family but you do and you and only you can heal broken hearts.  Please Lord touch her heart and help it to beat properly and for her to have a full recovery. 

Lord, please change my heart - help me to put nothing and no one before you. Help me to let go of my selfishness and pride.   Help me to live my life fully for you with boldness, sharing your amazing love with everyone around me.  Help me to not conform to this world but be transformed.

Thank you for your love - your never ending, never giving up love that held you to a cross for me. Thank you for overcoming even death so that I may have a personal relationship with you.

It is in Jesus's precious and Holy name I pray.  Amen.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior I would love to talk with you about how He came to rescue you and I and all those in the world.  He loves you so much He wants to adopt you into His family.  There has never been nor will there ever be anyone who loves you more than Jesus. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

4 months!!

Last night as we were going to bed Meisi looked up at Aili from her crib smiling and Aili said, "Oh Mommy, she just melts my heart." :) 
Amazing to me that it has only been four months since God blessed us with our precious little girl.  I can't remember what life was like before our littlest Princess joined us.  She reminds me much of Aili at this age. :)  All that sweetness and love wrapped in such a tiny package. :) 
I still stand amazed at God's hand in putting families together.  Meisi has been such a little blessing to us just as Aili and Ian are little blessings too. :)  Just as I was going from one to two kids..going from two to three - I am more tired, and there is more laundry and more dishes (especially since the dishwasher broke)...  I do think having a two year old both shows you how old you are AND keeps you young (must be more agile and have energy to keep up with them).  :)  Maybe every few years we should consider adopting another two year old?? Maybe that is the fountain of youth?? 
We had an appointment this week that required us to be child free for a couple hours so a dear friend watched our three kiddos.  When we got back to her house I immediately asked how Meisi did - she said she did great and only came around saying, "Mommy?"  a couple times and they'd tell her I wasn't back yet.  Meisi walked into the room and saw heart melted...  she started cheering and clapping "Mommy, Mommy!!" then she ran up, I picked her up and she gave me the tightest bear hug and sweetest kiss. :)  I know for those who haven't adopted this seems like a very normal picture... but through adoption there is always that concern of 'do they really know you are their mommy or is any mom a mommy?'  A couple months ago when we visited dear friends in SC Meisi called my friend Mama... It didn't really bother me as we'd only been home a couple months and I knew she was still trying to figure things out.  So while this event may have seemed normal for most, it brought a peace to my soul that she knows she is ours and we are hers. :)  We are her family. :)
Along with that comfort comes finally letting us know some preferences she has. :)  I've learned this month that Meisi does not like zucchini, carrots, bread or hamburger (except for buffalo burgers).  She really doesn't like sweet stuff - not a big fan of cinnamon rolls, brownies or doughnuts. She is a very healthy eater. :)  I have noticed a little more comfort in her sleep pattern too.  When she wakes she had always immediately started crying when she woke.  For the last week, she wakes and instead of crying she plays with her dolls in her bed, talking to them until I get to her. :) 
Meisi continues to learn more words each month. She can get across most anything she wants between words and motions.  She enjoys counting and it usually goes like this - one-two-tree-four-five-seven-nine-ten-weven. :)  Ian and Aili love trying to teach her new words and how to say things.  They love her baby talk. :)
We have been so blessed by our sweet little girl. 
Here is a snippet of our last month or at least since our last post. :) 
Finger painting Fun. :)

HOORAY!!!  We got our new homeschool stuff!!  Sooo exciting!!!!   They wanted to start right away - haha!  So, like a good mom I let them start on some stuff. :)  Nothing wrong with year round school. ;)

Tea Party!!  Ian is such a good sport. :)  He actually loves tea possibly more than any of us, so when invited to a tea party he doesn't decline. :)
 They both got new swimsuits and well...I just think they are the cutest ever so I had to share. :)
 Look at this - she is multi- tasking already!  Stirring the homemade brownies and greasing the pan. She really enjoyed measuring and mixing. :) 
 Nothing less than something "magical" for my wonderful hubby for Father's Day (again - a great benefit of living one hour from Disney).  Of course, this was extra special to see how Meisi responded to everything.  She had already been to Hong Kong Disney with us and LOVES Mickey and Minnie. I have to admit a few tears of joy were shed during our visit here. :) Yes, they were mine.  I just couldn't help myself as she was so excited all day.  Then while we were watching Mickey's Philharmagic she was jumping up and down, clapping and cheering, "Yay- Mihey Mouse." The families on each side of us were just watching her and smiling too.  :)  It was precious and heartbreaking all at the same time thinking about how amazing she is and the joy she was sharing...and then again thinking about all the kids still waiting...  I'm not sure their faces will ever leave my mind. I'm still praying for families to rise up and bring home their precious children...

Last few pics... hope they bring a smile to your face too, maybe even melt your heart. :)

 This was watching the Dreams Come True Show.  She kept trying to show Mickey and Minnie she had their picture on her lanyard. :)  She'd say, "Mihey Mouse - look! Mimie Mouse -look!" 

 I don't think I could love these four any more than I do right now!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Prayers for Peace and Waiting Children...

This has been a devastating week in the China adoption community as two precious babies with heart defects who had just recently came home with their families are now in the arms of Jesus. 
I do not personally know either of these families.  I followed one family's journey through blogs as she is in the DTC facebook group I frequently talk about. Her sweet family's blog is here -
The other family I just heard about through that same group.  Their blog is here  The words in that last post on June 7 was before their precious Zoe went to be with Jesus... you must read it.  I can add nothing to that. 
My heart aches for these families. I have cried for the loss of their precious children that they loved.  I cannot fathom their pain.   I have hugged my kids a little tighter the past few days. I pray that these families feel God's comfort and His amazing peace that transcends all understanding in this incredibly difficult time. 
Their stories hastened my heart to advocate more for the children waiting,
waiting to know the love that a family gives,
waiting to know their mommy and daddy,
waiting to be held and kissed and cheered for by their family -
especially the heart babies waiting as they are close to my heart (being that all 3 of my blessings are heart kids).
As I sit and see pictures of precious little heart babies I'd love to cuddle...
I know I can't cuddle them all.
So, I have decided to periodically share a couple with you.
Maybe you are the mommy and daddy they are waiting on...
Maybe you are not,
but if you are not  - would you pray that their mommies and daddies will step forward? 
That God would quicken their heart and that they'd be obedient? 
I've been praying for these two adorable boys for some time....
This cutie is "Luke".  He is two years old.
Isn't he absolutely precious?  He has been cared for by a great organization- Half the Sky.  He has had one surgery (Glen procedure) and will probably need another when he is around 5 years old.  He can roll over and sit alone. He likes playing outdoors and cuddling in the grass and flowers. He likes listening as you point out the different color flowers and talk to him about the sights outdoors. Luke grows stronger every day and is becoming fatter and healthier. Luke likes candies, biscuits.... Now he can crawl, can stand with support, he can walk with one hand held or supported by the railing. Luke becomes more and more active everyday. He always has a ready smile and is very talkative. He can say “father, mother, grandmother, goodbye” and other single sounding words. Luke’s fine motor skills are good. Luke is active, energetic, talkative and extroverted. He smiles often, gets along well with others, and enjoys listening to music and singing. 
Don't you just want to squeeze him??? 
Those eyes...

Another adorable little guy waiting for his mommy and daddy is "Leo"
Leo was abandoned at a hospital as an infant. When he was brought in, he was thin and small. After the excellent care of his caregivers, he is now described as smart, lovely and active. Leo is able to walk independently and go up and down stairs on his own. He is able to jump off the floor with both feet and stand on one leg for 2 seconds. He is fond of reading picture books and can turn the pages one by one. He knows “big” and “small” and can distinguish colors. He can express his needs with words and asks “What is this?” when curious. He is also able to identify different animals and objects when asked. Leo enjoys eating dumplings, rice, all kinds of vegetables, bananas, watermelon, and pears.

Leo has been living with a foster family. He likes playing outside on the playground with his foster family (dad, mom and brothers). He also has a strong imitating ability. When his foster brother is studying math, Leo will imitate him and count on his fingers. He likes watching the TV show “Zhihuishu” and enjoys dancing to music. Leo gets along well with other children and his favorite activity is playing with the ball. His caregivers hope that he will be adopted soon and have a happy family and grow up happily.

If you'd like more information on either boy, please let me know.
A Chinese folklore -
One day an elephant saw a hummingbird lying on its back with its tiny feet up in the air.
"What are you doing?" asked the elephant.
The hummingbird replied, "I heard that the sky might fall today, and so I am ready to help hold it up, should it fall.”
The elephant laughed cruelly. “Do you really think,” he said, "that those tiny feet could help hold up the sky?”
The hummingbird kept his feet up in the air, intent on his purpose, as he replied, "Not alone. But each must do what he can. And this is what I can do.”

Monday, June 3, 2013

"A picture is worth a thousand words"

A sweet friend from church took our pictures earlier this month on our 3 month official family day...
Funny it worked out that way because our first professional photos of Aili and Ian were both at 3 months as well. :)

I've been wanting beach pics of our family for some time - and when better to do it than while we live in Florida?? 

Pictures are priceless to me... I feel like my memory already is fading and I love how pictures take me back to that time and place. ;)  These bring smiles to my face now... Certain they will do it later too. 

Pictures tell a story and are worth a thousand words... 

Sometimes I think deeply on things - like this picture that actually brought a tear to my eye...

When Ian looked at the picture he said, "I look burpie." lol... I said, "You mean blurry?"  :) 
I explained to Brian that this was one of my favorites...  as it so clearly told the story of Ian's love.  
Ian was the one we were most concerned about when we were given Meisi's file.  He wanted a little brother.. and every little girl I'd show him on lists he'd say, "She is cute, but I want a brother." or just simply, "Nah."  Astounded we were that his first response after seeing her picture was with certainty - that is my little sister. :)  But, that isn't the story this picture tells...  Nope...
Every day and night for nearly 6 months after getting Meisi's picture - our sweet boy prayed for her - for her health, for her to love us, for her to know we love her and for us to get her home quick!  He asked me to put a picture of her in his room while we waited.  He loved her from the moment he saw her - we all did.  Many days he'd wake up, run into our room and say, "Are we going to get Meisi today?"  It was heartbreaking to say no, but gave him an opportunity to pray for her and the process to get to her. 
So this picture to me shows how he was loving her and hugging her like a little angel for months and months...  even though she couldn't see him clearly there.  :) 
It also shows that our prayers were answered for their relationship to grow quickly and be full.  She adores him as much as he does her. :) 
Yes, I know pretty deep for a blond... this is how my mind works - lol 
I love these two sweethearts.  Isn't it amazing how some pictures pick up so much of their personality?  I just see the love in their eyes.. Yes, they fight with each other a lot!  But they also love a lot! 

They also have an amazing love for their little sister.  Brian and I just smile and watch as they try to teach her things - how to talk, how to count, how to feed Emmy, how to go up stairs, skip, jump....  So fun to watch how intently she watches and how quickly she learns from them (haha - good and bad) :) 

My heart melts when I see them trying to protect her. :)  Here, putting her in the middle so they can keep her from the water. :)

She honestly wasn't in a smiley mood (which probably relates to being awaken from a short nap and not given snacks upon awaking).  I was shocked to see how many pics Jami got of her smiling!! 

Aren't these little toes just precious??
We love being a family of 5!!  Although we are pretty certain we will be adding to that at some point (Ian still wants that little brother).  :)  We are just waiting for God to say "Go!" and trusting when He does He will again provide the funds needed.

I am so thankful that God chose us to walk this path! 
So thankful we listened and were obedient!
So thankful that my hubby - even though he had some doubts and fears decided to lay them down at  Jesus's feet and take a leap of faith.

 So thankful that I am living this and because of it, understanding my adoption as God's child more than I ever could have.

Do you know how much God loves you? 
Do you know how much he wants us to love each other - really love other believers as REAL brothers and sisters... we are, you know... real brothers and sisters... He adopted us...

Praying God helps me to truly love my brothers and sisters... just as I pray my kids will truly love each other - exemplifying what is holy and good, talking to each other kindly, holding each other accountable, praying with one another, enjoying each others company without complaining and arguing... I realize this isn't going to happen over night. :)

So thankful that wherever I am or how well I am doing with loving - every high and every low...
God is always beside me, holding my hand...
He never lets go...

I wonder if it feels as good to Him as it does to me when I, as His child, tightly squeeze His hand back?

So thankful we heard that small still voice tugging at our hearts.  The joy we would've missed had we not listened and obeyed.