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I love to laugh and love with my family, read, exercise, cook and sew, all the while giving thanks to God for his immeasureable love and faithfulness to me.

Friday, December 19, 2014

This time, a year ago...

This time a year ago we were hanging up Mei Mei's stocking, wrapping up a few presents for her and praying all the while, because we knew she wouldn't be home with us Christmas morning . She was still in China, totally clueless about who we were or how her life would be changing in just a few short weeks.  The Lord knew though, and he kept her safe in his hands until we could get to her.  
This time a year ago, I kept listening to the song Merry Christmas by Third Day.  Each time I would hear it, I would cry because it so captured my feelings. 
This year when I hear it, I still cry because the last verse is so spot on!  Nothing like a good cry, every once in a while, right?!
It is amazing what happens in one years time.  An orphan finds her forever family and a family meets the daughter/sister that God had preordained.  The miracle of a adoption continues and I'm blown away by it each and every time.  God is so good.  His timing is always perfect, even though it is usually too slow for me--ha!
So this Christmas, I say a prayer for all those families who are still waiting to hold their precious children.  I pray for the little ones in distant lands and those right down the block who are desperate to feel the loving arms of a Mama and a Daddy and to know that they will never, ever be alone again--especially at Christmas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lurking around...

There are some nasty bugs lurking around here.  First the Noodle, then J and now Mei Mei.  Poor thing :(  I think we have quite a bit more snuggle time coming up.
Do you think I'll be able to fight off the germs?!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Haul out the holly

'Tis the season to decorate, right?
The anticipation, the excitement, the wonder!  The feeling that makes you want to dance...and then collapse with a well deserved snack!
I love it all--hee hee!!
The day after Thanksgiving we hauled boxes out of the attic, checked lights, arranged and rearranged, put things up and then took things down until finally--this
Cheers to the Christmas season!

On China

The Noodle's class was recently reading a book about a little girl who moves to America from China. The story talks all about how the girl felt looking different than the others and speaking differently, but how once she found an American friend, how the differences faded.

In a way to help the class make some text-to-self connections, Mrs. B, the Noodle's teacher, asked her to do a little presentation on China.  Afterwards there was a Q and A session.  Some about China and some about adoption.
Initially the Noodle was a nervous wreck apprehensive, but as her presentation went on, she warmed up being in the spotlight.
Mei Mei joined us on the day as well.  She stood silently by and watched it all.  LOL!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lighter, brighter dining room

For those of you that know J, you know that he is happiest when he's working on some kind of project.  Most people think home repair and go "ugggh!", but (luckily for me) he's always thinking of the next project that can be tackled.
These were taken a year ago...about this same time if the dueling centerpieces are any indication.

When we bought my childhood home from my parents and moved back in 2012, there were some things that we wanted to be done right away.  Other things were more easily pushed onto the back burner until more time (and funds) allowed.
Case in point, the dining room.
When we added onto the garage, the windows that had looked out onto a sad, dead area in the back garden got covered with, well garage wall.  We had always kept the blinds pulled so it was easy to keep it that way, but you can see what was lurking just beyond...
J's idea was to make built-ins since it was just a little deeper.  That would also get us a little extra space and a perfect spot to put those not-so-frequently-used items that you still want on hand and available.  He also added some accent lighting in the built-ins since the only other light source is the chandy in the middle of the room.
Somehow he managed to get the windows out with breaking the glass (miracle!) and we repurposed one of the old windows here.  He's always drawing an audience ;)
After ripping out the carpet, putting down new bamboo flooring, and finally deciding on a paint color, the room was finished!
There was a slight electrical issue that we had with the antique light--think a pop and then a fizz and lots of sparks flying.  Thankfully we were home and heard/smelled it. Yikes!
But other than that, it's finished.
 It is so light and bright--I love it!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Blessings

This little Indian, her sidekick, J and I all want to wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings.
We are humbled and give so much thanks for how our family has grown this past year.
"I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High."--Psalm 7:17

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jesse Tree

"Out of the stump of David's family will grow a shoot--yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root...In that day the heir to David's throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world.  The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place."--Isaiah 11:1,10

Our decorations aren't out yet (even though the girls would love it if they were), but something I have started preparing for, for this Advent season, is our Jesse Tree.  This is the first year we're doing one, but since I had decided a while ago to do it, it was manageable.
Branch ornament--one for our family's tree and one for each of the girls when they get older.
The idea behind a Jesse Tree is rather simple.  It is a way to anticipate Christ and celebrate Christmas and His coming.  Each day, as a family, you read the Bible and trace Jesus' story from the beginning, right up until the time when he makes his miraculous appearance here on Earth.  A handmade ornament corresponds to each day and to the Bible story being read.
Branch ornament, creation of the world, apple with snake
Some people use paper ornaments, others use felt while I've also seen some that use actual objects.  However you choose to do it is fine.  The important thing is the anticipation and preparation of our hearts to receive Christ.  A way to focus on the real meaning of Christmas.  Intentional acts.
Noah's arc w/rainbow, camel and tent, sandals
There are tons of examples online of how people have set up their Jesse Trees.  Some begin the first day of December and go for 25 days.  That is what we're doing.
ram, Jacob's ladder, Joseph's coat
Others strictly follow the season of Advent, which changes each year.  There isn't a right or wrong method but the important thing is to pick one and stick to it.  There are also variations in some of the ornaments, focusing on different passages from the Bible.  Again consistency is about the only requirement.
10 commandments, Rahab's red rope, Ruth's wheat
When I started in mid-October making ornaments, I decided that if I was making 1, it was just as easy to make 3.  That way, each girl would have their own complete set of ornaments when they get older and move out to start lives of their own.
David's crown, candle, Elijah's altar
Some ornaments were no-brainers!  Others took a bit more researching.  Pinterest to the rescue!  Ha!!
Jonah's whale, city of Bethlehem, Esther's scepter 
After a trip to the craft store for some fun foam sheets in various colors, some leftover felt, and embroidery floss I was ready to start.
watchtower, jingle bell--'jingle for Jesus', shell
Day 20's story is about Zechariah and Elizabeth.  I was drawing a blank on how to represent it, so I settled on a jingle bell since Zechariah lost his voice but I'm thinking he'd jingle for Jesus if he could.
Mary's heart, Joseph's hammer, cradle or manger, star
The star is actually a glittered star glued onto a t.p. roll that the Noodle made a couple of years ago.  We'll put this on the top of the tree on December 25 to represent Jesus' birth.

  I also purchased this gorgeous book by Ann Voskamp, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, as our devotional.  The pictures are beautiful and it is definitely appropriate for families, no matter what the ages of the children.  
Now we're ready to usher in the Christmas season!!