Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To Whom It May Concern...

To the folks at AARP.

I have some news for you.

My name is not Kenneth.

I am not old enough to be receiving your email spam.

I am not happy that you gave my email address to other organizations that are now spamming me.

I'm not happy about all of this but I must say that it is quite entertaining getting email that states that 'a hot senior single wants to spend the holidays with me.'



Friday, March 25, 2011

Urgent Prayer Request for a little boy

Please go over to my friend, Adeye's blog, and read about a little boy whose life hangs in the balance. His adoptive parents have been told by the judge overseeing their case, that he is not worth adopting. They are trying to appeal the decision and need us to storm the gates of heaven with our prayers for their little boy's release.

Please stand with this family in prayer and help bring this little boy home!

Every life has value. Every life is precious.

Oh Happy Day!

The three amigos were eating lunch yesterday when a very deep discussion took place. They have recently been asking questions about Jesus dying on the cross and I had been explaining that He did that for us...to take away our sins, so that someday when we die, we could live with Him in heaven. And that while we live here on earth, He will help us live our lives with His strength, courage and love.

They brought it up again at lunch and this time, it all seemed to click for them. I saw the light dawn in Jake's eyes and he said, "Let's PRAY!"

I asked him a few more questions to see if he really understood. He did. As did Zoey, who also wanted to pray. Kate was characteristically more reserved, but also repeated after me as I led them through a prayer asking Jesus to come into their hearts and wash away their sins.

They were so cute and eager.

Oh, Happy Day...when Jesus washed my sins away!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chloe's New Shoes

We went back to Shriners hospital today to pick up Chloe's new lift and shoe insert. She was so excited about being able to wear a pair of shoes that were the same size.

And sure enough....they pulled it off!

Now her feet look like this!

Instead of like this.

All because of this cool thing she can slip into her shoe. It's removable and she can put it in other shoes, too.

She has a little over a one inch leg length difference, so she decided she wanted that addressed as well. The lift that goes into the shoe has a 1/2 inch lift and they added 1/2 inch to her shoe. So, it looks like this:

It's more noticeable from a side view like this but not too noticeable when she's running around.

We took her wedding shoes for them to make an insert for her, but the shoes just didn't work. They were a ballet style slip-on and her smaller foot just wouldn't stay in. We need to find one with a strap over the top. When we find one, they said they will make an insert for it.

It's so cool to watch her run around and be so excited to have legs and feet the same size. We are so grateful for Shriners Hospital!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Adoption Book Review and Drawing

Awhile back, I answered a post requesting adoption stories for an upcoming book. I submitted one of our kids' adoption stories. Many months later, I received an email saying that my story had been accepted! The book is now available and I recently had an opportunity to read it.

The book is written by Michele Cervone Scott, herself an adoptive parent. It is a walk-through-the-process type of book with Biblical principals to help you along the way. Her story is woven throughout, with the addition of other adoptive family stories.

If you or a friend is just beginning the process, it is a wonderful resource, not only for 'how-to' information, but for emotional and spiritual support during the journey.

There are two give-away's associated with this book. One is a $50 Amazon gift card and the other is a free book. One entry gives you a chance to win the gift card and/or a book. You do not have to enter twice. You have until 11:59 PM EST on April 1st to enter. But don't wait because if you're like me, you'll forget! :) Michele Cervone Scott will chose the winners and they will be announced and notified the week of April 4th. To enter, go to: http://tinyurl.com/4asjxrs.

"With your entry, you agree to accept email correspondence from Michele Cervone Scott and the referring blog as it pertains to this contest. The host author and bloggers promise not to misuse or share your email address. All entries must be received by 11:59 PM EST on Friday April 1, 2011. Winners will be announced and notified during the week of April 4, 2011."

The author has a website where you may learn more about her and/or purchase the book directly at www.MicheleCScott.com .

Saturday, March 19, 2011

One Year Ago, today...

March 19th... my grandpa's birthday. He's now in heaven. Last year, we had reason to celebrate again on March 19th. Ryan graduated from boot camp.

I looked at the photos this morning and got a lump in my throat again as I relived that day.

We had arrived the day before for Family Day and all of us had seen Ryan except Jeff. Jeff had awakened that morning with the stomach flu and had to stay in bed. Ryan wasn't allowed to leave the base and we were praying that Jeff would be well enough to attend the graduation the following day. We all felt so bad that they couldn't see each other that first day.

March 19th, feeling better but not great, Jeff forced himself out of bed and over to Ft. Jackson. Emotions were high as we waited for two hours for the graduation to start. We could see the troops assembled at the end of the field and Jeff was having a hard time sitting in his seat, knowing Ryan was only a few hundred feet away.

After the ceremony, I took this series of pictures as Jeff finally spotted Ryan in the crowd.

A father's love

The day before, we had finally been able to see Ryan after 10 weeks of boot camp. We were beside ourselves!! There was a nice ceremony and then we were told that we could go find our soldiers. Well...that was easier said than done. There were hundreds of them, all dressed alike and wearing hats. We eventually found Ryan after what seemed like an hour of searching... I actually walked right past him. All of a sudden I heard the words,
"Mom! Mom!"
I whirled around and there he was! Here are some of the pictures from that day.

Anyone? Anyone?
"Come on! Let's get this show on the road!"
"Ooohhhh...what was that LOUD BANG?"
Here they come!!!! (Now that just gets your heart pumping, doesn't it?)
Do you see Ryan?! Me, either.... :)

Ensuing bedlam after families are told they can go find their soldiers
Jake salutes Ryan...badly..as in placing his hand in the middle of his forehead...
...which totally cracked Ryan up
I need more hugs...
Molly gets her hug

Chloe finally gets to see her Ryan. The bear is Bobo, which used to be Ryan's. Chloe has been faithfully babysitting it.
Posing with Grandma and Grandpa

Letters from HOME
Sweet moments
Gotta have the T-shirt

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sure Signs of Spring!

Hooray! Spring is in the air! I was trying to explain 'spring' to the little kids and Zoey in particular was quite enthusiastic about it. That night when she said her prayers, she thanked God that 'sprinkles' was coming. She continues to call it by similar sounding names...springles, springing, etc.
It was around 60 degrees today so we were outside all afternoon. Woohoo!!

They wanted to go for a walk, so off we went. There are so many cool rocks in Massachusetts.

The obligatory pose for Mama.

"Hmmm....I wonder what I should do next?"

"I can't make up my mind."

"I had no problem making up my mind. Straight to the dirt. That's right. I went there."

We spotted this bird nest but of course it was empty.

The kids spent a lot of time on the swings.

And digging in the dirt.

Hark! Are those buds on that branch? YES!!

Feels so good to be riding in short sleeves

Just a few months ago, this child limped badly when she walked. Now she is roller skating and figuring out how to go faster by hanging on to the back of Kate's bike. Gotta love that girl's spunk!

Notice the blur of her skates...haha

Fun Craft Idea to Help Others

You may have heard of the organization Voice of the Martyrs, which primarily helps Christians in countries where Christianity is forbidden. They currently have a unique craft project making parachutes to help get Bibles and radios via plane into hard-to-reach places. I bought some for my girls to do, and Jillian decided to do the craft herself. The ribbon can be glued or sewn on. Just thought I'd pass this information on, in case any of your families, Sunday school classes or youth groups would be interested.

It does take eight hours or so for the glue to dry adequately--just FYI.

If you don't like crafts, you can also sponsor a parachute, which I believe helps with the cost of a Bible and radio.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

When a Birthday Isn't So Happy

For most children, birthdays are looked forward to with great anticipation. My kids start bugging me daily--sometimes hourly--weeks in advance of their birthdays, wanting to know WHEN their birthday will be celebrated. It is a time of great excitement for them...as I'm sure it is in your family, too.

In China this week, a young boy had a birthday. What should have been a wonderful day could only have brought devastation.


He turned 14.

When you are an orphan, as this boy was, turning 14 means that you are no longer eligible for adoption.

Turning 14 means that you have just lost all your dreams of having a family.

It means that no one will invite you HOME for holidays.

It means you won't ever belong to anyone.

It means, in that culture, that you will always be ostracized and it is unlikely that you will find decent employment or a spouse.

While it is sadly too late for young Dalton, it is not yet too late for other children--boys and girls-- who are facing the same fate this year. Please search your heart and ask God if He is calling you to provide a home for just one child who needs a family. Here is one such child:

URGENT: Qiong Needs a Family!

From China. Birthday: September 30th, 1997

August 4th, 1999 – a 2-year-old girl sits along the roadside and waits for her parents….

The little girl tries to stand, but stumbles and falls. She has rickets, and her crooked legs make it difficult for her to walk, let alone stand.

Two locals happen upon the frightened child. They pick her up and scan the nearby marketplace for a clue, any trace of the person who has left her behind. They take her to the local police station. After an extensive search fails to locate the child’s parents, she is brought to the Social Welfare Institute. With no note left beside her on the roadside, she enters the orphanage with nothing but a pretty white coat wrapped around her, blue shorts and the petite red shoes on her feet. She is given the name *Qiong. And a birthdate: September 30th, 1997.

Two years later, at the age of four, Qiong begins preschool. She listens to directions well, and teachers describe her as “active and loving.” She can put her coat and shoes on all by herself and happily assists the other children. When the teachers say, “It’s time to go outside,” Qiong is the first one to line up at the door, an eager smile always on her face.

Caretakers dote on Qiong, and teachers enjoy her helpful and charming attitude. Qiong has a roof over her head and a bed to sleep in at night.

What Qiong doesn’t have is the warmth and love of a permanent family.

At age 5, Qiong can walk, run and jump with great ease, her rickets all but healed. She likes cooking meals with the help of her caregivers and enjoys reciting simple Chinese folk rhymes. Her favorite rhyme is, “Little Tadpole Looking for Mamma.” “Little tadpoles are looking for their mamma,” she delivers with great pride. “Little tadpoles are looking for their mamma.”

Qiong excels in school and is loved by all around her. Qiong has an education, and she has many friends to play with.

What Qiong doesn’t have is a brother, or a sister to laugh with forever.

Four years later, Qiong starts the 3rd grade. She thinks school is just “so-so,” but studies hard anyway. She wants to be a painter someday. “Qiong has a good state of mind and is polite with other people,” her caregiver says.

By now, many of Qiong’s friends have gone home to families in the United States. But Qiong remains at her boarding school, waiting for the day when a loving family will come for her, and she will have a home forever.

“My daughter is very sad Qiong doesn’t have a family yet,” says Beth Flanders, who brought her daughter, Quinn, home this past summer. “Quinn and Qiong grew up together. I met her when I was in China. She’s very bright and friendly. We pray for her to find a family every day.”

Today, at 13 years old, Qiong prays for a family too. After all these years, she still carries so much hope with her. “It doesn’t matter if I have brothers or sisters,” she says. “A family to love me will be very nice.” A few moments later Qiong clarifies her statement slightly: “It would be nice to have a big brother and a father who will protect me.”

On September 30th, Qiong turns 14 and loses her international adoption eligibility. Six months from now, Qiong’s hope of having a family of her own will be lost forever.

“All I want is a family,” Qiong says. “Just a family.”

A 13-year-old girl sits on the steps of her school, waiting for a family……

Share this story on your Facebook page, blogs and other social networking sites. Let’s find Qiong a family…before it’s too late!

*To be considered for Qiong, families must have a homestudy.

Click here for more information on China’s eligibility requirements…

For more information on Qiong, contact Erin Mower at erinm@holtinternational.org

*Name changed

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Joy of Pets

It's getting a bit warmer {hooray} and the kids have been asking to play outside. Today was one of those days. Somehow the front door popped open (because of course no one left it open).

I was upstairs when they came running up yelling, "Da dog is out! She's outside and ran away."

{insert exasperated sigh}

I rushed to my closet, slipped on a pair of shoes, grabbed a jacket and ran outside. The neighbor was out in our yard and started to talk to me as I ran toward her. We exchanged a few sentences as she pointed in the direction of our dog's disappearing backside.

I ran down the sidewalk and started to detect a difference in the sound of each foot hitting the pavement. Hmmm....odd. Was I imagining it? No. There was a distinctly different sound when my right foot landed.

I slowed down to take a look.

This is what I saw.
And to think I mock Jake for putting his shoes on the wrong feet...

{I did find our dog and she is safely back in our house.}

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Jordan's Birthday

Jordan was so excited for his birthday to get here. Presents, presents, presents thats all that he could think about.
All day.

He kept asking if he could open them early.
Nope...sorry dude.
You have to wait until after supper just like everyone else.

So after his favorite meal of spaghetti and meatballs, it was finally time for cake and presents. He got the few things he asked for and was happy as a clam.

Truth be told, the day after, he played more with the left over balloons than his toys. He has spent the past two days blowing them up and letting the air out of them so that they would fly around the room.
It was funny the first 232 times. {only a slight exaggeration}

But then there began to be some excess saliva involved.
Some of his sisters began to complain of being hit with said saliva while the balloon flew by their faces.

Get a new balloon, Jordan! You have completely saturated the one you are playing with.

Thankfully, we had a whole bag of them.

SaraGrace gets the party preparation going with a rendition of her own making

She rocks the house, singing about Jesus

She's a little bit too good at this. Should I be afraid?

Jillian hangs decorations

Jordan blows up balloons. Let's out the air. Blows up balloons. Let's out the air.
Ad nauseum
Jillian and Chloe decorated the cake

Blow out those candles, big guy!

Color changer car...su-weet!

"Look...it's half yellow and half red, cuz I dipped it in hot water!"

"Aww...cool! Can we see?!"

Talking to Grandma and Grandpa on the phone.