Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Events

Christmas Events

So we are having fun around here....! We have basically finished all of our Christmas events other than Christmas Eve homemade pizza and Christmas day with the family. Just thought I would share what we've been up to. The first photo is of Catherine in her school's Christmas Musical. She was one of the leads in the play and we were so proud of the job she did. She sang a small solo and did beautifully. Another singer...what fun! Davie is in the photos with her ballet class. They performed at a retirement/nursing home last Saturday. Davie knows her dance and although she is the youngest in her class she is very serious about doing well. At this performance one little girl fell apart right in the middle of the dance. Everyone stopped to look at her and then Davie just started dancing again. Like "the show must go on". I felt bad for the little girl, but Davie was gonna finish her dance. It really was funny. The last photos are of David decorating his gingerbread house...oh wait, did I say David? I meant Davie and Catherine are decorating their gingerbread houses. That guy in the photos is just their dad standing by and offering creative counsel or building advice or something. This is definitely a new tradition for us. It was so fun. The movie Little Women played in the background as they made their lovely little houses. It was hysterical to hear Davie trying to explain the story of Little Women to David. She kept saying, "see her, Daddy, she dies," about Beth and then more about Jo and Laurie...too cute. (As an aside, that series of books created in me the desire to adopt kids when I first read the books a LONG time ago)We are having a fun and basically non-stressful Christmas season. Here's wishing the same for you and yours. Much love, Jackie Sue

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The last blog for the day...I'm all caught up now

More Us!

Just wanted to share a few more photos. If you have the time, click on the photo above...there are captions this time, oh the joy :)!

So....how have you been? I have been fine, but burdened. I have almost finished the book, "There's No Me Without You" (thanks to BooMama for having it on her fall reading list). I decided to read this book thinking it was just another book on adoption/care for orphans in Ethiopia. I've read tons of books on adoption. Mostly ones related to China, so I didn't think any big deal about reading this one. Oh my goodness, was I wrong! I know I tend to live in my own little world and don't watch the national news and I don't have cable so I don't watch news programs in general, but I had no conscious idea of all the children in Africa orphaned by AIDS. I was basically clueless. This book is so educational. It reads like a text book on the AIDS crisis in Ethiopia. I have been floored by this. Much to my dismay my heart has been completely taken in by the orphans there. I have taken forever(weeks) to read this book and since I read fast it just shows how little I could take in at one time. It was just too much information.

A couple of months before reading this book I was chatting with the Lord "you know, Lord, I can see why people get addicted to adoption. It gives purpose and meaning to the mundane day to day life of things. It gives me focus and a goal and I love the end result so much that I could do it again and again, but David says we are done, so now, Lord, what do I do? What is to be my goal now?" He clearly spoke to my heart "raise the children I have given you. Finish the job well." I remember then thinking, duh....that is the truth, Lord, getting them here wasn't really the hard part at all....raising them....that is the hard part. So, I began to pour myself into my children and to the goal that God had set before me.

Soooo, now I have read this book and I have no idea what to do with this information. I will never be the same. I have cried as I have read the book and I have wept before God and asked Him, "what do I do with this information? what do You want me to do now that I know the need?" I don't have any answers yet, but He will show me.

Of course I have been sharing with David about all that I was learning. You can imagine his reaction to all this orphan talk. On our date over Thanksgiving I shared some more with him....David-"We're done. You will have to get one of your kids to do this one". Me-"Oh, honey, I know we are done. It has just touched my heart and I don't know what to do with all this information" David-"Well, stop reading...no, not really...I don't know what to tell you, but I am too old and we are done." Me, smiling and laughing, "oh honey, don't worry, I wouldn't want to get another child before Matt leaves home and that's at least two years. And then, if we did, I would want an older girl to go between Davie and Catherine. Besides in Ethiopia we can't adopt anyone more than 50 years less than our age and since you are over 50 we would need to get an older child. But, don't worry, we have two years before we need to do anything." David-"Ok. Now can we talk about something else?" All smiles and a fun date with real conversation and food and laughter. A good time was had by all two of us. And do you know how I know this? The next day we celebrated "thankful Saturday"(my made up holiday) and David shared that one of the things he is thankful for is "Jackie's heart for adoption". I was floored!!!! And this was after all my Ethiopia talk!

I have NO idea where this will all lead, but I love the journey of finding out. Maybe it is to be an encouragement to you....maybe YOU need to adopt from Ethiopia :) Much love, Jackie Sue

Christmas bloopers on Thanksgiving

Family Stuff

(I know I know I'm making more than one post in a day, I got behind already)These were some bloopers from our photo shoot for our Christmas photos (thanks Chris). The bloopers are the really fun ones I think. There are TONS of them and this is just a few. The photo above is missing yours truly, but oh I love Ellie's smile there. When Ellie begins to hold up her hands she is saying "all done, all done" and wants to be through, but when the other kids start imitating her it gets fun and silly again. Regardless of how stressed I get, these kids of mine try to make family pictures fun...can you imagine???? I'll post the real photo later, but thought these were waaaay cute!

Dancing with the Stars

Fall Family Fun

Can you say "dancing with the stars?" Oh my, but we can! We had a ton of fun watching dancing with the stars this last season. It is Davie's and my favorite show. She knew all the dancers names and had her favorites. We were totally into it as you can tell by her photos. She didn't so much want to watch the stars as to BE the stars. I had to remind her that I really did want to watch the dancing on the tv or she would take the stage completely, which I loved until it got to the last few shows and then I really did want to watch the dancers more than her :) The photos above are meant to be switched from one to the other quickly to get the full effect. What a hoot my girl is! Hope they make you smile.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another Month Flies By

More Family Fun
If you click on the photo above you will go to my web album. I've uploaded a few fun photos of the kids. The gals in bed with their daddy are having some fun. I just loved their matching pjs! Ellie turned 19 months this week. She continues to be quite entertaining. We are really enjoying her.

Things around the house continue to stay busy. We have had lots of fun together. A few weeks ago Catherine Jo won second place in her first horse show. I was one proud momma. My third child is really coming into her own. It is fun to watch her blossom. She has gone from being the baby for 7 years to being a big sister to two and is doing really well at it. I don't have a photo of Matt in his Target uniform(go figure), but the boy does me proud working his not so fun job and staying on top of school at the same time. It is not easy sometimes, but we are doing pretty well around here.
We celebrated Davie's "i gotcha day" this past Saturday. David built a pit in the backyard for a campfire and we roasted marshmellows for smores. She thought it was the neatest thing. After the smores and baths we watched her gotcha day video. Oh my, was she cute! She was such a happy little baby from the very beginning. I am so blessed to have her as my daughter.

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Sarah was home for 5 days and we had some fun with her. We celebrated on Thanksgiving day with family and then spent time on Saturday with friends reflecting on our blessings of the year. I have so much to be thankful for. Not only do I have wonderful kids, but David is such a wonderful partner to me. This is my team and I'm grateful that so far they haven't voted me off the island.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How You Live

Well, I couldn't get this to work, but it was Sarah to the rescue and so now you can share in the joy of my new favorite song. I JUST LOVE IT!!! Enjoy :) (If you decide to listen to the video you have to go down and pause my programed music selection) love, Jackie Sue (I only wish you could hear Davie singing along...we may have to arrange that while Sarah is home for Thanksgiving...only a week now!!! Yipee...doing the happy dance!)
P.S. I've listened to this song over and over....and the more I've listened to it the more it is a prayer for my children(especially the part about visiting the folks more than on the holidays :) just kidding, but really an exhortation and dream for them to live life to the fullest and keep the main thing the main thing,( to quote my favorite Coach).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bella- the movie

Just a quick shout out for the movie,"Bella"(tried to do a link...didn't seem to work, but it is www.bellathemovie.com). It is fantastic! As a direct result of seeing this movie I am going to start keeping a journal for both my youngest girls' birth families, just in case they are ever reunited. I had never really thought about it before, but I would really like for them to have a record of our daughters lives and to be able to witness to them about the wonder and blessing of adoption in our family. Go see this film! You will love it (and I must say that the leading guy is BEAUTIFIL which doesn't hurt either). Much love, Jackie Sue

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Half Birthdays and Finally Fall in Florida

Yesterday Ellie had her half birthday. That is a photo of Ellie wearing Davie's slippers and sliding on the wood floors like ice. She laughed and laughed. The next photo is of three precious little girls, two of which I am thrilled to claim and one I am blessed to know and celebrate. It is so surreal to me that my baby is already 18 months old. Sure is a fun age. She is starting to try to say everything we ask her to. It feels like she just decided to talk and then did it. I do love me a toddler!

Today we spent time outside for the first time in months without sweating. Fall is here, for the moment, and we love it. Davie found her rhythm on the swing. She can now pump her legs with the best of them. She tried to ride a two wheeler for the first time. Not too successfully, but she did try. She'll be 5 in February and I'm betting she will be riding the Barbie bike by then. Where did the time go? My dream baby is waaaay a little girl these days. I love fall in Florida even though we don't have a change in the leaves. The breezes are lovely and the weather is so mild. Soon my little northern birds will be here for the winter. I love that, too! Well, not too much to share, just capturing a couple of moments here at our house. Hope your house is full of fun moments and growing moments and celebratory times. Gotta have it all to become more like the King. Much love, Jackie Sue
P.S. Here's a couple more moments :)This is Ellie's new "cheese" face. Cute, huh?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Not that anyone was wondering, but I looked up the "Mama" spelling and now I know why all you guys spell it that way. According to dictionary.com "momma" is just a variation of the word "mama". The word "mama" actually has a definition and it means "a sexually attractive mature woman". So there you have it...I guess like in "hot mama" :) Oh well, just thought I'd share.
So, this weekend my husband did a labor of love for me and I thought I would brag on him. We needed new flowers by the front door for winter and we bought some pansies last week to plant. I had to get three different colors because that is all that Lowe's had. I prefer to do all one color, but like I said, it was all they had so I decided to make a floral design using my three colors. I presented my idea to my sweet hubby and he labored to accomplish it. He measured and staked flags for every single pansy. There were 49 flags and then the man dug 49 little holes for my little pansies. Then he stayed with me and helped me plant them. I want to document this so that when I am frustrated with him I can remember all the times he has worked his tail off to accomplish one of my little projects. Some of us married "fun" guys. Well, I married a "worker" guy. When I have a job that I need done there is no one I'd rather do it than my perfectionist husband. He is not especially demonstrative in a romantic way, but he will certainly break his back to do what we need done as a family and so I honor my husband with this post and say that I am a blessed woman to have him in my life. Anybody have anything they want to brag on their husband about? Feel free to share. Love, Jackie Sue
Update: After the flowers on Sunday and Monday night my man did Catherine's History project with her...the whole thing! Now THAT is speaking my love language.What a wonderful husband!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Very Random Question

This has really been bugging me. Why do I spell Momma M-O-M-M-A and lots of other folks spell it M-A-M-A? Anybody have any idea? Which is correct? Is it the pronunciation that makes me spell it that way? My mom always spelled it Momma so I'm sure that's why I do, but I'm just wondering where the differences came from and why...I know this is random, but help me out here. How do you spell that word and why? love, Jackie Sue

Monday, October 8, 2007

What 6 months with a Momma will do...

I love the way our adopted children blossom. They really do. Just like little flowers they open a little more everyday. Just wanted to show what love from a family will do for a little one who previously had no hope...if your heart is open to loving a child not born from your womb then please pray for the opportunity to add to your family through the wonder of adoption. You will never be the same.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

6 Months Today!

Well, today we celebrate 6 months of Ellie! And yes, I mean 6 months "of" her. What a little pistol. A delightful pistol! I have discovered new things about Ellie recently. Have I mentioned that she is busy....B U S Y! She is happiest when out and about now that she is walking. She LOVES slides. Even really big ones. We went to an indoor playground type place the other day and she will try anything. Her favorite game is for us to hide and then jump out at her. Sarah's beau, Chris, came over for dinner last night and at first she was standoffish, which is her typical attitude, but then she realized who he was and they were fast friends again. She was all over him and played the "hide from me, jump out at me" game for a long time. Davie did not enjoy sharing Chris with Ellie at all. She kept trying to get his attention by bossing him around...doesn't work so well...gotta teach the girl that "sweet" works much better than bossy. (some sort of saying of drawing bees with honey or some such thing,comes to mind) Anyway, all in all we are all adjusting, yes, we continue to adjust. I realized the other day as I was absolutely stumped over how to have a schedule with a toddler around, that it has been 17 years since I've had two small children in my home at the same time. 17 years! Catherine was all alone in her toddlerhood and was certainly the reigning princess during that time. Then Davie was all alone for 4 years so that was a breeze. It goes all the way back to Sarah and Matt for me and they were the exact same age difference as Davie and Ellie. All that to say that I am still adjusting and trying to figure out how to do this with two. You'd think I'd remember, but not so much. So I was literally laying in bed trying to figure out how to do this again. Don't feel sorry for me though, I will persevere :). Oh, I had an out of body experience the other night at a karaoke bar....and that's all I have to say about that. Except that before your imagination wanders, no I did not get up in front of total strangers and sing a song from the 80's. Nope, didn't do that! As life moves on the Lord continues to reveal Himself and my absolute need for Him. He is good and gracious and gentle and sweet. I'd be nowhere without Him. May you all sense His presence and recognize Him in a new way in your lives today. Blessings and peace. love, jackie sue

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fall Reading Challenge

So today I decided to join a fall reading challenge found at Katrina's Blog. I've never done one of these before, but since I read a LOT it should be a breeze. Last night I just finished the autobiography by Denise Jackson (she's the wife of country music star, Alan Jackson) called, "It's All About Him".
The rest of the books I plan to read are:
The Rest of God-Mark Buchanan
See You in a Hundred Years-Logan Ward
Split Ends-Kristin Billerbeck
Chasing Fireflies-Charles Martin(I LOVE HIS BOOKS!!!)
Then I took some titles from BooMama that sounded interesting and ordered these from the library(thanks Christie:) :
Peace Like a River-Leif Enger
The Debt-Angela Hunt
There Is No Me Without You-Melissa Faye Green(Brandi, have you read this???)
So, that is my list, although there will probably be more...I average about two books a week if they are easy reads, but I thought this would be a good start....so join me and read some books!
Jackie Sue
P.S.Had a wonderful time on the women's retreat this weekend. Things went well. Thanks for your prayers!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Fun Weekend

Moon Festival Weekend with Families with Children from China

We spent the last weekend with our Families with Children from China celebrating the Moon Festival, a Chinese holiday. It's a great excuse to get together at the beach with folks we don't get to see nearly as often as we'd like. It was a ton of fun. Two other families from our church were able to attend with their daughters from China, along with their other kids. The weather was beautiful and we made some fun memories. I've loaded an album with a bunch of photos. (If you click on the photo above you will get to the album.) I must say that I love nothing more than to see my girls with their "chinese sisters". It just warms this momma's heart. The folks who planned this event did a great a job choosing a place that was kid friendly. The rooms had bunk beds for the kids and the kiddie pool had lots of fun slides and stuff to play on. This weekend I am heading to Jacksonville for a retreat with the women from my church. If you read this say a prayer for me since I have to lead worship and I am really really nervous. God is faithful though and for some reason unknown to me at this point He has chosen me for this job and I will count it a priviledge to serve Him. The funny thing is that I said to some one just recently that I had "retired" from worship team/music ministry....then I get the call where the person asked me if I would lead this weekend....isn't God funny? Just when I take back something I had surrendered to Him years ago He reminds me again Who's decision it is to retire me or not....He makes me smile and I am deeply humbled that He would use me at all. Well, I have so much on my heart and I continue to ponder some thoughts that I have yet to blog about...but that is coming. God bless you. Love, Jackie Sue
p.s. sometimes I wish I were a "funny" blogger like my new favs, www.BooMama.net and www.BigMama1.com...if you want laughs, check them out...they make me laugh outloud with their southern humor.
p.s.s. A Big shout out to my precious Hubby who has a birthday today...I am one blessed woman!!! I love you, Eddie!!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sarah Quits

My sweet daughter spent much of her day, maybe two, working on my blog for me and then at the end, she quit! I mean, she was done working on it, but then she just signed off and was gone in a moment, afraid I'm sure that if she stayed online with me any longer I would ask her to do something else. Poor sweet Sarah. Well, I for one will hopefully remember this fun evening chatting with her online, her trying to fix my blog, and me making suggestions, for a long long time. She is a darling daughter and I am one blessed momma. I love you, Pete!
this is a test ....

~Jackie Sue

Props to Sarah J...my right hand

So, pretty cool update, don't cha think? I love it! My gal is pretty darn brilliant! Love to her!!!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Blog Changes

Well,the day is nearly over and we spent Labor Day laboring :) Things in the yard get so out of hand so quickly it seems so we spent the day working to catch up on weeding, spraying weedkiller, fertilizing flowers while at the same time keeping new weeds from growing....notice a theme? After the outside jobs I came inside to take a quick shower and fix dinner. I tried some new recipes out on the fam and they were pretty successful, although I didn't love them. After dinner and getting Ellie in bed I spent a good 3 hours, yes I said 3 HOURS, reading blogs on the computer. I love to read about people's lives and since most of the folks I read are believers I love to see all that God is teaching them. Technology is amazing. The strange thing about blogs is that you can feel you know some one by reading their blogs when in reality you don't know them at all. I mean, you know the part of themselves that they reveal, but you don't know their laugh or bad habits or their personality at all really. After looking at 2 dozen or so blogs this evening I have decided to make some changes to mine. The problem is that I don't know how :) So as soon as I can get Sarah on the phone for any real length of time I am going to get her to spiff up my blog.....bet you can hardly wait. Much love to you all.
Jackie Sue

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Exciting Times

August 2007

What a fun few weeks! Lots of fun things are happening at the W's home. Eliana Joy Lin was officially dedicated to the Lord on August 12th. Ellie started walking on the 14th and running soon after. Sarah and David headed to Mississippi to get her settled back in school on the 19th. I celebrated living 46 years on this earth on the 21st and am looking more forward to Heaven than ever. Matthew got a car earlier in the month and then his liscense on the 24th and a cell phone all in the same day! What a dream day for my boy! Catherine started school again on the 20th and is attending school 5 days a week for the first time. I have officially retired from homeschooling....can you say, Happy Momma? God continues to reveal Himself all around me and through the circumstances He allows for me. Life is rich and I am blessed. I have discovered a new favorite author, Charles Martin. I just love love love him. He is a southerner and his books are delightful...just the right amount of laughter and tears. I am devouring all his books. I'm also reading Mark Buchanan's, The Rest of God. I highly recommend it. Of course he is a favorite too. I have been thinking a lot about life and will post more later. God's blessing and peace to you my friends.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007



Hello all! We are home from our fun vacation. We visited my best friend from college...and had a ball! I still can't believe we didn't take any pictures with Leslie or her family. It was really fun though. I had "bird envy" while I was there. Leslie and her husband, Terry, have the most wonderful bird feeders right up next to their house so I got to see tons of birds up close...lots of fun for me. While in Marietta, Georgia...God's country :), a friend and travel mate(ok, well, not exactly, but almost), Stephanie, and her precious daughter, AnnaLyn, also from China, came to visit. Ellie and AnnaLyn played in the room at the same time and were both jealous if their momma's held the other baby, but did not exactly play together. It was so sweet to be with them and share our girls with one another. A blessing for sure. After Georgia we headed to Alabama to visit my best friend from highschool and her children. She has 7 bio kids, but only 6 were home while we visited. At Kathy's house I had "butterfly envy". The tiger swallowtails were everywhere. The girls all loved the pool and having fun with folks their own age. Kathy and I never run out of things to talk about so in between trying to care for all the kids we had many conversations. I didn't realize until I got away from home how stressed I had been. Having older children brings its own form of stress and for this controlling mom it had been very stressful. I realize that I expect too much from my big kids and I expect them to be more "grown" than is really possible so as I try very hard to let them be it creates an inner tension in me that just wears me out. Loving our children means letting them make their own mistakes and for me that is like letting my toddler play in the road...I regularly submit my controlling self to my Lord and He gives me His peace, only to take up the stress and worry again. It has been such a hard summer in so many ways and so coming home made me hungry for school and schedule and order to reign in our home. How long do you think that will last? hahaha! Oh well, it is back to the grind and the joy found in fulfilling our calling and that I cannot question. I was definitely made to be a wife to David and a momma to Sarah, Matt, Catherine Jo, Davie Anne and Eliana Joy! Blessings to all!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Moms and Sons

My son Matt. I can no longer call him my boy. Dang it, he's grown into a full fledged man, beard and all. Matt and I are A LOT alike. He gets in the car everyday after work and is ready to talk about anything and everything that his on his mind. The boy is certainly not afraid of confrontation. Apple...tree...yeah, I know the saying. Anyhow, yesterday he gets in the car and begins to share his cell phone plans. He doesn't have one yet and so he is deciding which plan he wants. Well, I failed the test miserably. I just slammed him verbally about how ridiculous his plan is. I mean, I FAILED BIG TIME. Well, last night as I was talking with a young mom it came to me exactly what I should be doing with Matt. I should pray on the way to get him and then be fully prepared to not react to anything he says. When I got home last night I asked his forgiveness for responding so strongly and so poorly to him and in his sweet way he quickly forgave this momma, even though I seem to commit the same sins toward him over and over again. Soooo, today when I picked him up I was prepared. He got in the car and as we were pulling out of the parking area he starts to tell me a story from work and I said,
"Matt, wait a minute, can you tell me about cell phones again."
And Matt said, "I don't want to talk about cell phones."
I said, "Please, please tell me again about cell phones."
He said, "Why?"
I said, "I've been practicing...pleeeease tell me again about cell phones."
So Matt proceeded to tell me his plans for a cell phone with a big smile on his face, and I responded correctly with a calm, "oh, what does Dad have to say about this? And well, whatever you and Dad decide to do is fine with me." Then Matt looked at me very seriously and said, "What have you done with my mom?"
I share that story because that is the deal in life. Often we can make mistakes, offend those we love, hurt them and handle it totally wrong and yet as long as we are willing to admit how poorly we handled it the first time our loved ones will give us a "do-over". I am so thankful that when I try to argue with God about how "right" I am in a situation He patiently and gently(most times)tells me where I went wrong and He gives me opportunity to stop right then and make things right, with Him and the one I've wronged. God has used Matt in so many ways in my life. At this time he is using Matt to teach me to "be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry because man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" (James 1:19-20) I memorized this verse years ago...now God is using my precious son to plant these seeds in my life again that I might reap a harvest of righteousness and right relationships with those around me. I am so thankful for my "man-boy" and I love him so much. God is faithful and He will work all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. Blessings and peace to you all!

Monday, July 16, 2007

More Summer Fun and Ponderings

More Summer Fun

Well, here are a few photos from our Fun Thursdays at our friend's house. Her hospitality has been a blessing as I run from one place to another to drop off kids at work, dance and then pick others up at intervals throughout the day. We have made some fun memories and have become her new adopted daughters' "good friends". Thank you so much J.R. for the sweet times.
Life continues to move ahead. My ponderings are not always positive, so if you are looking for a super mom's guide to successful parenting, STOP READING NOW! This mom is plagued with self doubt....learned that term yesterday from my pastor as he did a prayer exercise with us. Now, let me say that I am not looking for anyone to build me up...honestly. Jesus does that for me. I am just a mom who is being honest about her struggles at this time in her life. Self-doubt. I wake up almost nightly plagued, albeit by the enemy, but none the less, plagued with self-doubt about what has occurred with my children that day. Most of which has to do with things I've said or done that are less than righteous. This parenting thing has changed me from a carefree, fun-loving otter, into an intense, worrisome old woman....I am definitely doing something wrong. The fruit in my life as a parent is not at all what I dreamt it would be all those years ago. BUT, God is not done with me yet. I am currently reading, Mark Buchanan's "The Rest of God" restoring your soul by restoring SABBATH. I must confess that I bought this book a while back (by the way I highly recommend anything this guy has written-easy to read and very thought provoking)but, I didn't really get into it. What is so funny about that is that often my prayer requests to my small group revolves around learning to REST...so I should have been reading this book all along! Anyhow, I picked it up last week sometime and determined to work my way through it. God is so sweet. This book is all about trusting in God's sovereignty and resting in His goodness and finding Him everywhere. Really and truly just what I needed for my soul. On most days I find myself longing for Heaven for very selfish reasons really. I am just weary of getting it wrong and I long to be done with this life having done as little damage as possible to those I love. Pretty self focused, huh? But true. Well, today in this book I read the chapter on Stopping to Number Our Days Aright. Good stuff. It's about being fully awake and how Jesus was purposeful but not driven. Driven people tend to forget their purpose. His life was full of interruptions and side roads. He was completely present and always paying attention to everything around Him. He always made room for "interruptions". Here was a line worth quoting, "The span between life as we intend it and life as we receive it is vast. Our true purpose is worked out in that gap. It is fashioned in the crucible of interruptions." Life is meant to be lived without being intense and driven...as though we are running out of time....we have all the time we need to live exactly what God intends for us. I can relax. I can trust God with all that is important to me. I can trust Him with my 20 year old...I can let go. I can trust Him with my dear son who loves Him. I can trust Him with my 11 year old who rarely says the words "I'm sorry". I can trust Him with my 2 little ones....I CAN TRUST HIM!!! My intensity is revealing my lack of trust plain and simple. If I can trust then I can enjoy my kids. I can relax. I can rest. They are really good kids. Somehow in my "stuff" that becomes not enough. I worry and fret and fuss and criticize. See...that is what I can't seem to get over. My heart breaks and I live in the sadness of my mistakes...which doesn't help anything. Today I will enjoy my kids...I will see God in them....I will make time for surprise interruptions...divine by nature. Not at all will I be able to accomplish this miracle in my own strength, but the strength of the One who loves me and by His grace at work in me. One final quote from Buchanan "Most of us live afraid that we are almost out of time. But, you and I, we're heirs of eternity. We're not short of days. We just need to number them aright." God Bless you and rest today in the goodness of God. You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

July 4th 2007

Click on photo to see more of our 4th!
Happy 4th of July....we had a wonderful day. All but Matthew were present. We spent the day swimming with friends, thanks to their wonderful hospitality and then enjoying fireworks in the evening. I am blessed to live in America and to have such a wonderful family. Just gotta keep counting those blessings....God Bless you!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Ellie Stands Alone!

Today Eliana Joy stood alone....I said with enthusiasm "ta da!" We did it over and over again. It was so fun to watch her be thrilled with herself. It won't be long now and she will be walking. It is sorta sad really...her independence begins. Soon she won't need me to get around anymore. Well, if I don't stop thinking about this I'll just end up depressed. See, I like being in charge. I like making all the decisions for my kids. I like dressing them, telling them when to go to bed, scheduling their days, organizing their lives. As they move into independence the battles begin. That's because I must give up total control. As a mom with children ranging from 1 to 20 years old, I have been through this struggle before. It is right. It is a good struggle to go through. It is just as God ordained it, but it is not fun. Being a person who struggles in a huge way with disaproval, letting my children grow up, discover who they are, wear their hair how they want, date the people they choose, listen to their own music and any number of other things is the hardest work I've ever had to do, but I am so thankful to be able to do it. My relationship with my Lord has grown so much through it. He has always been in control, but I've had to surrender to it and recognize His control. I have had to turn to Him again and again as the author and perfecter of my children's faith. I have learned to turn a worry into a prayer over and over again. I am learning to enter into the rest that my Abba offers me at a moment's notice. Stopping, remembering Who is in charge, and finding rest for my soul. With rest comes peace...and don't we all long for that? God Bless you and may you find His rest this week.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Blogger Map

So, okay, now I'm curious....I put this map at the bottom of my blog just for fun...well, now that I see that folks from foreign lands are looking at my blog its just not fun...it is driving me crazy to know who you folks from all over the world are....so please say hello just once and tell me about yourself...that would be so fun for me! Also for Sharon Ringo....thanks for saying hi, I tried to get a message back to you, but couldn't...I'm so glad that Emma is doing well. By the way, who is the girl you work with who's folks go to our church??? I've been trying to figure that one out for a week :)

Monday, June 25, 2007

More Fun With Ellie

More Summer

Well, summer is officially here in Florida. It is HOT! In Florida you either stay inside to stay cool or you go swimming. So we are doing some of both. Ellie is doing well. She has decided to cut 3 new teeth at once. She is still very high maintenance and vocal about whatever she is not happy about, but she is our girl and is very much a part of all we do. A friend got her the little outfit that says "All American Girl" and I loved it so I took some pictures of her in it. Then I decided to try a trip to the beach. Oh my....it is a lot of work to get a whole bunch of kids to the beach and I have what feels like a whole bunch of kids! The church youth group was going so we met them there. It was Ellie's first time of course and surprisingly she loved it. No tears at all as long as I didn't try to leave her with anyone other than our gang. We stayed all of about 3 hours and would still be there trying to pack up if the youth folks hadn't had pity on us and helped with our stuff. I would like to get it down to a system like my friend, Abby, but I don't know if that is possible...I'm not very organized. But, hey, we made it and I got those photos to prove that we took her :) Sometimes being a mom feels like having a check list and as long as we do the things on the list then we are a good mom. Oh my...I want my parenting to be so much more than that. No matter that much of parenting is doing the same training over and over and over until one day they say "yes ma'am" to a complete stranger....or that we have to tell them thousands of times to put their dishes in the dishwasher or to put the dvds back in their case when they are done...yes the truth is that the majority of parenting is training...but it must be more than that. It must be the commitment to share life with the people God blesses you with and to enjoy their presence in your life. It must be an adventure to watch and see who God is going to turn these little people into. It needs to be a privilege that I value so highly that I lay aside my lazy tendencies and do all to the glory of God. James Dobson was right when he said, "parenting isn't for cowards". Somehow though God took a coward like me and made me a mom and is teaching me to value my job...not just for Christian women's rights....but for my children...to value to time He gives me with them...to pour myself out for them and to watch in stunned amazement as they rise up and call me blessed. I don't know how God does that, but He does. He honors our commitments even when we have lost the passion for them. He makes us our very best and brings honor to Himself through our measly efforts. He is amazing! Awesome! There is none like Him and I can't begin to do this or any other job without Him. I am a blessed woman and privileged to be a mom. God Bless! Much love and don't forget to enjoy your kids this summer!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

More fun

Just a little update....Ellie finally likes me now! She has started being so happy to see me in the mornings and seems really happy to have me as her momma. She loves her daddy now too. I really think it took her about 2 months to forget her foster family, which on the one hand is really sad, but I am so grateful that she is really falling in love with us. Summer is my favorite time of the year, why, you ask? Because we have no school and Sarah is home! We are all having fun hanging out together although that will soon be changing as both of the older kids are getting jobs...life will again change. I don't believe I ever posted about David's dear dad's passing. He went home to Heaven on the day before mother's day during Catherine and Davie's once a year ballet recital. The service for him was wonderful and we are glad that he is rejoicing in Heaven, but we certainly miss him here. Eliana is doing really well developmentally and socially. She allows others to hold her now although she is still not in the church nursery, but that will happen soon enough. Well, here are some fun photos...thanks for checking in. God Bless!!!
Summer 07

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Daddys, babies and ballet

New Photos...babies and ballet recitals

Just for fun...Then and Now

This is a page that we are sending to Davie's orphanage as an update on her. A sweet friend designed it for me. Isn't it adorable...the page, I mean...of course Davie Anne is just too cute...check out our Ellie, too...am I blessed or what? (Those bios aren't bad either ;o)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Busy Days

It has been far too long since I have expressed my thoughts here. So many new things all the time are happening with our family. On May 9th Sarah came home for the summer. Yipee! Sarah offers me a teammate in the running of our home. She is not only my daughter but a wonderful friend and help when she is home. I am blessed to have her home. She and Eliana have thoroughly bonded to eachother. It is always fun to watch the kids play together. Ellie has mastered the army crawl and is now enjoying standing and walking a little holding onto our fingers. She continues to grow and change. She is still very opinionated and lets her feelings be known without hesitation. Oh the rewards of a smile and a laugh! She makes us work for them, but rewards us and its fun! She enjoys her daddy now and desires to go to him regularly. I am going to post some pictures soon and try to keep more current with my updates so that someday I can print them for Eliana and Davie as keepsakes of their childhood. I hope you are all well. God Bless!

Monday, April 30, 2007

FCC Easter Picnic and Home Fun

These were some photos taken at the Central Florida Families with Children from China Easter event. Davie is in the photos with her good friend Madeleine, who's family is also waiting to adopt from China. The one with Ellie and another adorable baby is my favorite! That is my friend Jenny's little girl, Cady, who is just days older than Ellie. Jenny and Russ traveled with us the first time to get our daughters. The next photo is of all four of our "China dolls", Davie, Lexi, Eliana and Cady. The cover photo is Ellie playing against the fireplace and just rolling around on the floor. She is now doing the army crawl and is quite mobil. She gets everywhere she wants to get these days which means no more just leaving her on the floor alone...oh well...I'm really thankful that she is progressing as fast as she is. Walking will be not far off now!
FCC Easter Picnic and Home Fun

Eliana is 1

Eliana Joy Lin is 1!

Just as a side note, the photo where Ellie is crying was her reaction when I took the cake away....oh my, Drama Queen!

Eliana Joy Lin is 1!

Last week we celebrated Ellie's first birthday! She absolutely loved her cake. We had a quiet party at home with just us. It was so soon after getting home that I just couldn't put anything bigger together. We had a nice evening though. Of course Sarah was missing, but that couldn't be helped...Mississippi is just too far to come for a birthday party and she was sorely missed. We are adjusting. It was good this last weekend to be home all weekend with nothing planned so that Ellie could get in 2 naps a day and just hang out at home. She is becoming a very happy little girl. Last night at Bible study the ladies said she is like a different little girl from just two weeks before. That was so encouraging to this momma's heart. Life at home remains a bit overwhelming, but I still have a few weeks of maternity leave yet, so I'm sure I will get it together by the end...lol. It has been a blessing to have Ellie in our family. Davie is coming to terms with it all. She must feel like she is losing me because she is telling me she loves me all the time and even saying to others that she only loves me. I wish she didn't feel any sense of loss, but it would be pretty impossible to not. She loves her mei mei and is never mean to her, she just seems to feel a bit insecure about me. Please pray that we all continue to adjust and that I will be willing to do all the hard work that it takes to be the wife and mom I'm supposed to be. God Bless you, too!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Fun at home

Home fun

Our Girls all dressed up...last night in China

These are photos of some of the babies from Jiangxi all dressed in their traditional Chinese dress. Eliana loved this photo shoot and she was laughing out loud...but by the time all the babies were on the sofa she was over it! At one point all the babies were screaming at the same time. It was too funny. The Chinese man in front in the "world renowned" best Chinese guide ever, Linekar! We love Linekar! Also, the boys pictured with Davie Anne are the Hedrick boys. Davie fell in love with the oldest, Conner, and Ellie was in love with Cole, the youngest boy. They were delightful to be around! (homeschooled by the way :))
More fun photos....our girls all dressed up!

Bath Time

These photos were taken in China BEFORE I got Eliana's hair wet. She HATES having her hair washed!!!!
bath time

Thursday, April 12, 2007

We're Home!

Well, after about 36 hours of flights and layovers and delays we arrived home today around 4am. Of course we are thrilled to be home, but I need a moving team to get us unpacked and moved back in! It's a little overwhelming, but we will get through it. Ellie seems to be adjusting to the folks here in her home. She actually reached out for Catherine to hold her today, which is a first. We will all be adjusted in no time I'm sure. Tomorrow we will head to ballet for Davie Anne so it will be back to life very soon. Thanks so much for all your prayers. We needed them and we felt them. I will post for my out of town friends soon. More picktures to come.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Photos in Guangzhou

Art Musuem and Tea House

Jiangxi Province

If you click on the photo below you will see many of the photos taken in Eliana's province. The village photos are there as well as the shop where we bought a vase for our friend Audra and Ellie's tea set. The photo with us and a Chinese woman is our guide, Mary. She is such a precious woman and now that we are in Guangzhou we miss her sweet spirit. She grew up in a village like the one in the photos and was the only person to leave her village to go to the university in the city. Her father was a doctor and she worked very very hard to do well so that she could go to the university. The only person to do that in her entire village. Amazing! The families in the village have lived there for generations. The entire village shares one bath house. There are photos of the bath house...the first is the mens, check the Chinese Character, and the second is the women's. The Chinese live a very hard life, but as is often the case, the folks in the village seemed much happier than the ones you see in the cities. Less is more, no? This has been the trip of a lifetime! I love China and have enjoyed this trip so much more than the first time. My appreciation and love for the Chinese and their way of life has grown over the last three+ years. While my photo stuff seems to be working I will post some more photos of the art museum we saw yesterday in Guangzhou. Love to all!

Lots of China

Lots of China

New Statistics

Eliana Joy Lin weighs 18.9lbs and is about 24" if I remember right. She is not as small as I thought she would be and fits into her 6-12mo clothes just right. She passed her medical exam with flying colors and is eating well. I would like for her to drink more from her bottle, so you can pray about that. I think we are about to get the temperature to her liking and I hope that will help. Today I spoiled her and gave her formula through a straw...like a baby bird....from the bottom of the straw into her little mouth. Oh my....a little high maintenance girl....hmmmmm wonder where she got that trait???? I know....the apple..... :o)

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to everyone at home! The Lord is Risen! We were not priviledged to attend church today, but we were certainly celebrating in our hearts. We hope you have a blessed day and that His presence is real to you. We are doing well. Eliana Joy Lin is coming along. She smiled at her daddy at lunch today, on purpose! I have fallen in love with this little girl. The interesting thing that I realized yesterday is that she hasn't "won" me over with her pleasing personality, or her adorable antics....in fact (and I say this in love) she is not especially pleasant at all. Then I realized again about our Father's love. He loves us, in spite of ourselves. It is not b/c we are so wonderful or pleasant to Him. It is not b/c of our beauty or our winning ways. He loves us b/c we are His and He can't help Himself. He loves us b/c of HIM! It is His Daddy's heart to love us. I am humbled to say, that is how I love Eliana. I am not saying that I don't find her adorable or pleasant....but mostly that I love her b/c she is mine and I could no more stop my heart from loving her than I could stop my own breathing! God has made me to love this little one and I am head over heels in love with her. Tonight at dinner as we waited on the Chinese Mariachi band :) she fell asleep in her highchair resting her head on my hand. To this momma she is the most beautiful little girl and I wouldn't trade her for anything. I find this to be a marvelous mystery of God....He has made her my very own and I'm forever grateful for the priviledge of loving and raising her as my true daughter. (Remind me of this when she is a teenager :)!) Much much love and blessings to you all. Again, Happy Blessed Easter Day!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

visiting village

yesterday we were afforded the unique pleasure of visiting a typical Chinese village. One very similiar to what our girls would have probably grown up in. Definitely one similiar to where they were fostered. 80% of all Chinese live in the rural areas, so this village represents how 80% of the entire population lives. It was a humbling, beautiful experience. No matter how primitive to me, with shared wells and shared toilets, God was there. I love that there is no where that we can go that He is not. The people were friendly and kind to us, even inviting us to eat with them. Precious Chinese people. I felt very intrusive as we took photos and videos of their homes, but we were assured it was ok. I am sure as I have time to reflect I will write more. Unfortunately I cannot see my blog again so I can't read any of your comments. We are still sick so please continue to pray for us. Eliana is warming up to us. She is very attached to me and is entertained by Davie Anne, but won't have a thing to do with David. It has been 4 days and his feelings are beginning to be hurt. Please pray that she will begin to accept her Daddy...her wonderful sweet Daddy. Love to you all! The other half of our group is traveling to China today! Yipee! God Bless

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Adoption is Official!

A Live Wire :)

Well, it is early morning here and I am showered and ready for the day. That is b/c Miss Eliana Joy Lin won't let anyone else hold her without a huge fit. David says she may not like me alot yet, but that's relative, she likes me a WHOLE lot more than him...lol. She throws a huge fit if I am away from her and then stops the moment I pick her up or take her from David. I now know what all those adoptive moms are talking about when they say their baby was clingy! She is so cute though and has smiled and laughed some and been mostly pleasant, as long as things are going her way...sound like anybody you know??? Our adoption is complete, yipee! Handed over all our fees and did our interviews yesterday so she is officially ours! We are so blessed. We are missing our big kids a lot...Davie really is. She is doing well, but it is not really a relaxed setting. The drivers here are CRAZY so we have to hold to her tightly everywhere we go. We went to Walmart yesterday...3 floors. Last night we had our first normal night of sleep with everyone sleeping through the night, even Davie! No 3:30am snack last night. Jen, you were right...it's the 5th day and she is switched over. To my other half of group 123...can't wait to see you all and meet those baby girls! This is such fun! Blessings to everyone! Two more days until Guangzhou and SHOPPING!!! :) Much love.

Monday, April 2, 2007

My Girl

It is 3:30am here but I had to write about my girl. She is not happy about me at all! She calls out MA! from her crib and when I show up she does not recive me. When I pick her up she just gets mad and so I lay her back down where she then pretends that I am not there. She will not look my way one bit. It is intentional. I am not writing this because I am upset. I am so ok with this. I am writing about this b/c the Lord showed me that this is how many of His children are with Him initially. He comes to us, wanting to adopt us as His children and we refuse Him. We reject the love He has to offer. We want nothing at all to do with Him, often b/c He refuses to be who we want Him to be. He is who He is. He can't and won't change that. God is not hurt by our rejection of Him...He knows all the good things He wants to give us and so our patient, longsuffering Heavenly Father pursues us...He gives us good gifts, He allows us to enjoy all that He has provided for us, He waits for us b/c He loves us so and little by little many of us respond to His love. Often b/c of others who have trusted Him first. There is the beauty in having Davie here with us...she will be my witness. Davie has loved me from the beginning. She willingly received my love. Davie trusts me totally. Davie will be my witness to Eliana that Momma can be trusted! I LOVE THIS! Adoption is so much God's idea! I think everyone should do it :) God has shown me more of Himself...and I am touched and humbled. I don't mean that Davie did it "right" and Eliana is "wrong"...I mean that God is willing to wait for us to love Him. He is not intimidated by our rejection and in this adoption I get the priviledge to be like Him...unbelievable. I am not worried...I know that I want to only give to Eliana and to make her my own and I know that that will happen. This is not about attachment...she makes eye contact with me...when I sing...when she WANTS to :) this is about a little girl that NEEDS to be won over...and I'm not worried about that at all...I have a witness :) and I have my own mothering ability by God's grace and so stay tuned, I will keep you updated on the "winning over of Eliana!

click on the photo to see more photos...Eliana Joy Lin

Eliana's Gotcha Day

She's Here!

Well, we have our baby girl! She is a little doll baby! We all loaded up in the bus to go over to the Cival Affairs Office to get the babies. When we got there they weren't even there yet...so I made a joke about false labor to the group :) In about 10 minutes 8 people walked in holding 8 babies. I am happy to say that I thought I recognized Eliana right away...and I was right! We all have a number and we are "Family #8"(the luckiest Chinese no.) and so we were last. A man was holding her and when he went to hand her to me she didn't want to come, but then she did and didn't really cry. We found out today that our babies have been with their foster mothers until today! After he handed her over I just hugged her and talked to her. She didn't really cry and even smiled a little bit at Davie. We are in our room and it is 9pm and she is in her crib or "crate" as Davie calls it. She has cried a lot and calls "MaMa", but it is not me that she is calling for. She doesn't want David to hold her at all, but doesn't really want me either. I bathed her...she was ok, but she didn't love it, she will though I'm sure. Tomorrow I will get in with her and that may go better. She drank a little and at some cheerios and for a long good while was pleasant and entertained, but then she just got tired. She definitely wants to be laid in her crib to go to sleep. She did NOT want me to hold her! Finally when I realized that I just couldn't please her I laid her down on her back and she was much more content...still crying, but not as much. Just fussing some, but if I tried to pick her up she was not interested, so I left her there and went about the room doing what I needed to do. Just a little bit ago she finally fell asleep. I must say that I am so grateful that her foster mother did not sleep with her! The fact that she likes her crib is an answer to prayer. Now, let me tell you about her...she has the most beautiful head of black thick hair! I can picture it long...but it is cut close to her head right now. It lays flat, but there is a ton of it. She has the sweetest little mouth...oh my goodness...I can't wait to kiss it, but I have to b/c of this darn cold! I'm not sure she would welcome my kisses at the moment anyway. She is tiny, but filled out nicely. She has 1 1/2 teeth. She has teeny little feet. Davie just loves her. I remembered so quickly how hard it is to have a 4yo with a new baby...they want to do everything for the baby and it is not always helpful :), but so so sweet. Ellie likes Davie and gave little smiles to her right away. David and Davie and I are still suffering from colds. I am not miserable, but David is, so please pray for him to feel better soon. The babies are all adorable. Ellie is not the youngest. There is one baby that turned 10mo. today. Tomorrow we will have a very busy morning that begins at 8:30 so I better go to bed. Of course there are photos above...just click on the one picture to see them all. Much love and gratefulness for your prayers and support. Sarah, Matt and Catherine....you are gonna love your new baby sister. She is just adorable! I miss you all and pray that you are doing well. Matt, I'm sorry you have a cold, too. I can't believe we all got it at the same time...! I will post later. Sarah, I want to hear all about your play....Catherine, I miss you and bought you something, but you will have to wait for your birthday to get it...another 13 days!

Getting Eliana!!!

Well, we will leave in about 35 minutes to go get Eliana Joy Lin! We are sooo excited! We will post photos later and now that we are in Jiangxi I can view my blog and hopefully fix my mess ups! Thank you so much for your comments. They mean so much. Bunches and Bunches!!!!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Sunday in China
Sunday in China
Sunday in China

Sunday in China

Today was a good day. We began with the wake up from Davie at about 4am. She is such a good sleeper, but she keeps waking up really early. At about 5:30 I stopped telling her shhh and finally got up too. We ate breakfast at the buffet which includes American types of food along with a traditional Chinese breakfast. They seem to eat dinner for breakfast so I eat the American foods. Davie is feeling much better today, her fever is gone, but now David and I also have a cold. I can't stand the thought of not being able to kiss Eliana because I have a cold, so I am asking the Lord for healing...by tomorrow :)! After breakfast we went to the Harvest Church in Beijing. It is a church service for foreigners only. It was ok...the speaker was no Pastor Jon! The worship team was all made up of folks older than David and me...I told him we could retire there and still sing on their worship team. The music was fine, but made me appreciate home more. The songs had sweet lyrics which I loved. After church was our visit to the jade factory. I am now wearing a beautiful bracelet that I will someday pass down to Eliana. We had a sweet girl helping us. It was a good shopping experience. Then we ate lunch at the Friendship Store. Our meals in Beijing are all traditional Chinese food. They put many dishes of food on a lazy susan in the middle of the table and then we get some of whatever we want. I am not very adventurous so I don't eat much, but manage to eat enough. I am ready for a good ole hamburger though. After lunch we spent several hours at the Great Wall. David and Davie climbed to three towers together. I chose to stay at the bottom and wait for them. The steps are very uneven and very very steep as you will see in the pictures. It is very hard to climb the wall, but Davie stayed with her daddy the whole way and did great. In those types of things there is no better daddy than David. He is so patient and tireless. After the Great Wall we went for our Peking Duck Dinner. One of the gals at our table will eat anything. Go Amy! So we have her taste things and tell us what it is and if it is good. Most of us fill up on the fried rice. The final activity of today was the Chinese Acrobat Show. It was a show of young students who performed amazing acrobatic feats. It was phenomenal! Davie fell asleep during dinner and didn't wake up for more than 3 minutes during the whole show. I'm betting she will be up again at 4am tomorrow. So tomorrow is Eliana Joy Lin's Gotcha Day!!!! I cannot believe the day is finally here. I have gone through so many emotions during this process and finally being here in China is quite surreal. I have loved having Davie with us and seeing China through her eyes. She has won everyone over of course and has made friends with Conner, the oldest son of the Hedricks. Our group is wonderful. Not a loser in the bunch! :) It is going so well for everyone. A note to the rest of our group coming on Monday...it is quite cold and windy in Beijing. You will need a good coat for sure. We had lots of wind and a "sandstorm" yesterday, so one must be prepared for anything! I have thought a lot about how tomorrow is going to change the lives of our two youngest daughters. Davie will lose her position as the baby...makes me a little sad. She has been a marvelous daughter so far...my dream China baby come true. I hate to see her grow up, but she must. Tomorrow Eliana Joy Lin will gain a family. She is our daughter that I never even knew to dream for. I am the most blessed of women. Why God has been so good to me is just the evidence of His grace. I am not worthy of His blessings and yet He pours them out lavishly. Tomorrow is going to be amazing...I guess I must go to sleep to be ready for all that Abba has for me. God Bless you all. My heart is full...satisfied in my Lord. Thank you so much for your prayers...don't stop! P.S.If you have left us comments I have not been able to access them up to this point. They say that will change when we leave Beijing. I miss home, but am loving China. If you need to reach me my email works so you can try that. Much love!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Day 1- touring

We are tourists!

Today was a long and busy one. Unfortunately Davie is just a sick little girl. I went ahead and started her on an antibiotic today (thank you so much Jenny!) and so we are hoping she will be better by tomorrow. We visited the Forbidden City, Tienemen Square, the pearl factory and the silk factory. By the end of the day I was falling asleep on the bus. Both Davie and I woke up at 3:30am and couldn't go back to sleep. I hope we can sleep through the night tonight. Tomorrow we will go to church, the Jade factory and the Great Wall. I hope the pictures will load right. I am going to give it a try now. For some reason we cannot see our blog...we cannot pull up the page, but I can post to it. Weird. Well, I hope everyone at home is well...if you have one of my kids please kiss them for me. I know that I am far away, but the odd thing is I feel very far away. Two more days until Eliana!!!! Much love!

Friday, March 30, 2007

We are in China!

Well, we are here! I can't believe it. It was a long long flight. Davie did well and slept more than me. She had a bit of a cold when we left and it is still here. You can pray for her to get better if you would like. I know she would like that. We are all very tired and missing the other half of our group...but doing fine. We will tour tomorrow and so I will have photos to post. I prayed and prayed for Sarah's play...how was it darlin??? Missing you and Matt and Catherine Jo. I hope the play was a huge success! For the other half of our group, I already asked Linekar about the dinner on your gotcha day and he said that we will probably have our dinner in the China Hotel at the Japanese Restuarant on the night before we leave. I think that is it. I also found out that we will all receive our babies at the Cival Affairs office so I think that means we can't go to your gotcha day, but I didn't officially ask yet. Feeling so blessed to be here....Jackie Sue

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Our Itinerary

March 29th- April 11th

Thursday, March 29 Depart for Beijing
Flight: UA 1556

Friday, March 30 Arrive in Beijing
Flight: UA 897

Saturday, March 31 Beijing Sight-Seeing: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden
City, & Summer Palace (Lunch & Dinner Included)

Sunday, April 1 Church service & Great Wall (Lunch & Beijing Duck
Dinner Included)

Monday, April 2 Morning Flight to Nanchang Afternoon - Meet Eliana Joy Lin Wimberly!!

Tuesday, April 3 Civil Affairs Appointment

April 4- April 5 Paperwork, Sight-seeing, & Shopping

Friday, April 6 Afternoon flight to Guangzhou

April 7- April 8 Fill out Consulate Forms & Medical Exam

Monday, April 9 Consulate Appointment 11:00 am

Tuesday, April 10 Pick up Child’s Visa

Wednesday, April 11 Depart from Guangzhou Depart from Hong Kong
Flight: UA 828

ARRIVE HOME at 12:30am on April 12th!!! Yipee!

A Bump in the Road

Well, this has been an interesting 24 hours. When we went to the bank to get the cash that we have to take to China there had been a miscommunication. I am sad to say that I didnot respond in faith to my Awesome God, but really went into panic mode. So this morning during my quiet time God revealed in His strong but sweet way my unbelief in His ability to handle this issue. After I confessed my sin, and agreed with the conviction that He brought to me, He gave me a new perspective. What is a BIG deal to me, is a teeny tiny thing to my BIG GOD! He can accomplish anything without any problem at all. So, now I am on an adventure to see how God provides the exact amount of money we need, in the exact condition and denominations we need. So, if you are reading this, please stop and pray for God to accomplish His will in this situation and that I will be a faithful follower of my Awesome, Faithful, Covenant Keeping God.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Girls' Room and packing
I'm trying something new....hopefully when you click on the photo that shows you will go to another site that will show all the photos. This will be much more beneficial in China. We can download lots of photos and you will just click on the one photo to go to all the others. It saves room on the blog. Well, give it a try and see if it works. Much love!

The Girls' Room and Packing

Well, it is time for me to get serious about packing. I had the girls all packed but then remembered to weigh the suitcase. Oh my! It can only weigh 44lbs. for our travel in China and thier bag weighed 55lbs! So, I had to start over. The good news is that David just bought me a new bag so I started over today. I packed everything for Eliana in the one new large bag. That is great, unless they lose our luggage...then I will have NOTHING for the baby at all. Oh well, that is always the risk with traveling by airline. Davie and I will share a bag. I packed for her today and still have 20lbs. for me. We should be ok. I told David that I want to have our clothes all packed by this weekend so that I can work on leaving the house clean and helping Matt and Catherine pack. Oh well. I finally took some photos of Davie and Eliana's room. It looks ready for Ellie and Davie seems excited with the progress we've made. She is in for a rude awakening though. The other day Catherine was trying on some clothes in a dressing room at the store. Davie was there too, but not trying on clothes. She was less than thrilled that Catherine was getting all the attention and so she went into the other dressing room and came out to show me her new outfits. The thing was, she was pretending. She posed and I oooed and awed at her sparkling bathingsuits and fancy dresses even though she hadn't changed clothes at all. It was then for sure that I knew she is gonna have a hard time sharing the limelight. Catherine's just said in her ever so cheerful way, "Just wait, Davie, when you came no one even spoke to me anymore". Big sisters and their wisdom. Just 9 more days until we are on the plane and 13 days until Ellie is in our arms! God Bless!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Travel Plans

Deut. 10:17 "The Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great , the mighty and the awesome God." Praise the Lord! He has done more than we could even hope for. He is awesome! We are officially leaving on the 29th at around 9am in the morning. We will have an itinerary for our trip which I will post when I get it. Right now I think we will have Ellie in our arms on the 2nd. I am very very excited. Thank you so much for your prayers for the next two weeks as we get all the little details ironed out. Hang on sweet baby girl, Momma and Daddy and Davie Anne are coming!!! :)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Father Daughter Valentines Dance and travel changes

This is the photo of Catherine Jo, Davie Anne and their sweet daddy at the Valentines Dance they attended at Family Christian School. Poor David, he doesn't even like to dance. According to him all Davie Anne likes to do is be swung around all over the place and Catherine hung out with her friends. Anyway, I love this photo because Davie is at the stage where a smile is just showing her teeth...too funny. Catherine sure is growing up. Just wanted to share this.

Travel changes are happening with AWAA. I am trying to adjust and let God be God as He allows all these changes. AWAA has split up our travel group into two groups, now leaving at separate times. The group going to Jiangxi, this includes us, are still scheduled to leave on the 29th of March. The other part of our group, the group who's daughters are in Guangdong, are now scheduled to leave on the 5th of April. The sad part is that those folks have become so dear to me that I want to travel with them and be with them as much as possible. Now we will not do the Beijing or Guangzhou portions of our trip together. As it stands right now we may only see them a day in Guangzhou, at the beginning of their trip and the very end of ours. Our big group has bonded and so this is hard for most of us. I will not question God though, I want to remember who He is and rest in His goodness. He has a plan and my resolve to be submissive to Him is going to be put to the test again and again I'm afraid. This time I will trust Him and maybe stay one extra day in Guangzhou to be with my friends :)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

God is God

Well, my Tuesday thoughts did not stay with me even through Wed. By Wed I was so disatisfied with God's timing that early Thursday morning I clearly heard Him ask me in my heart, "Who do I think I am to question Him, the Sovereign Lord, about His timing and His will for Ellie or for me?" This time I got it. I really get it. I am sure He will have to remind me again, but when He speaks that plainly and convicts my heart so clearly, even as slow as I am, I get it. In His sweet mercy He allowed me to see myself as I needed to, and to see Him as I needed to. Then and only then did we receive our travel approval. This afternoon about 1pm we got the news that we are approved for travel and tentatively leaving on the 29th of March. Yipee! Yea God! That will make our "gotcha day" on Monday, April 2nd. We will return to the states somewhere between the 11th and the 14th depending on our consulate appointment. I am so thankful for all that God is doing!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Great Movies

I went on a date with Eddie last night and we saw areally good movie, Amazing Grace. It was so nice for 2+ hours to be totally absorbed in something other than NOT getting our travel approval yet. I highly recommend this movie. Last night as I dozed off to sleep, or somewhere in there, God had to remind me that His timing is perfect and my complaining does not show my trust in Him. So...I get His point, I submit to His perfect will for all concerned and I rested, all night long. That's all I have to say about that! :^)

Friday, March 2, 2007

Getting ready

Well, no travel approval yet, but it is coming! I can feel it! So tomorrow I am going to get the room ready for our Eliana. I will try to post a photo with her new bedding in the room she will share with Davie Anne. I keep buying clothes and stuff and I am really good at that. Spending money on my kids is my gift. :) We are getting ready for our baby girl and everytime I look at her little face I keep thinking, "wonder what she has that we need?", because that is how God works. Ellie doesn't just need us, we need her. I can't wait to meet her!

Our travelmates found out yesterday that they will not be able to adopt the little girl they were referred due to her recent diagnosis with cancer. Our travel group is all grieving, but hopeful for what lies ahead for this sweet family.

I have come to believe what a friend said to me today " life is more like a railroad track, rather than hills and valleys", the truth is that joy and sorrow are mixed together all along this journey. That is certainly what my life has been like for the last month or so. I am excited about all that God has for us and am so thankful that I do not travel this train track alone. He is with me every step of the way. I am so blessed.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Davie's 4 and Grandma is 90!

Our Birthday Girl

10 months old and big sister's birthdays

Yesterday Eliana Joy Lin was 10 months old! On her 10 month birthday we celebrated Davie Anne's 4th birthday, which is actually today, the 25th. We had a big celebration at Cypress Grove Park with lots of friends and beautiful weather. After that we headed to Deland to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday. Lots of fun and family there. Always a treat for me. I continue to experience a lot of sadness mixed with joy these days. One of my precious travel mates who was referred an adorable little girl from the same orphanage as Ellie found out 4 days after receiving the notice of her daughter in China that she has rectal cancer that has already spread to her lungs. My heart is so grieved over this. It just brings me to tears again and again. It is hard to be joyous that travel is coming, when that sweet lady won't be traveling with us. It also looks like we will be traveling to China to get Ellie(joy!) during the time of Sarah's debut as Catherine in the "Taming of the Shrew" up at school(sadness). Ugh! I can hardly stand it. I have never had to miss anything my kids have been a part of and yet this is totally out of my hands. Joy and sadness.....over and over again. This is an interesting time in my life. I don't remember a season like this one before. Intense joy and intense sadness. David's dad continues to hang on, though we so wish him Home. God is good all the time, and His ways are right. His timing is perfect.....in all this joy and sadness I do not question His sovereignty or His Holy character, but I do wonder how to process all that is happening and sometimes I just tell Him that this is too hard and too sad. Carrying sadness around as a part of myself and still feeling all the joy that God intends me to feel as He blesses my socks off is my calling these days. I am praying that I will do Him proud as I continue to surrender and trust in His unfailing love. What a journey!