Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time ~Oswald Chambers

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Opening Day

The weather on Saturday was more suited for the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field than for spring ball.

Nevertheless, it was Opening Day and the "Green Dragons" were ready to hit the field.

This was our little slugger's first year with a pitching machine.

He was 2 for 2 despite coming off IR after suffering from a case of severly frozen fingers....

After some intricate base running instructions ("Stop!  Now go!  OK, Stop! Now go!"), he was able to make it all the way home after one of his at bats.

Spectators braved the frigid temperatures to watch their hero play ball...

And some paid extra, for choice seating...

And though he's in the big leagues now, our hero never fails to remember his fans...
In his post-game interview, when asked what he enjoyed most about Opening Day against the Tigers...

...he responded in typical Alex-fashion...
"Snack time."

That's my boy.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lily and Jesus...the rest of the story

Over the past few days, I've started, quit, and then restarted posts about Lily's journey with Jesus.

I'd love to sit and write down everything I've seen Him do since bringing her home, but the words just don't come easily and the time to sit and think just isn't there.

But I do want to share the highlights.

Since our first conversation with her a few weeks back she has been completely captivated by Him.

We've read story after story after story of His miracles.
We've talked about how only He can heal the hurts that she carries in her heart.
And we've prayed that she would come understand just how much He loves her and what He's accomplished for her on the cross.

Though our conversations were daily and her English was growing by leaps and bounds, I still wondered how much of the gospel she was actually able to understand.

Until in a moment of pure brilliance, my husband asked,  "I wonder if they make a JESUS film in Mandarin?"

I didn't know the answer but I did know how to find out.
I emailed a friend who knew a thing or two about that movie and discovered that they did indeed make a version in Mandarin!  (Thanks Janna!)

So we ordered it and we watched it together, listening in Mandarin while reading English subtitles.

She "ooohed" at some of the scenes while uttering an occasional "wow"  at the miracles and "that's cool"  when He appeared to His disciples after the resurrection.
(My personal favorite was when she said that Jesus had nice teeth.)

And that night when tucking her into bed, instead of Lily asking for Scott and I to pray, like she normally does, for the first time she said she wanted to pray...

"What do you want to tell Him?"  I asked her.

(Are you ready for this?)

"That I love Him,"  she said.

And I knew she meant it.

She's been home with us for less than 2 months so I don't even have a "before" to contrast with an "after" but honestly, she's a different child than the one we first met.  Her countenance, her spirit, it's just different.

And we are amazed.

It's been a few nights since that all took place but even tonight when we put her to bed, once again, she said she wanted to pray.

Unsolicited, unprompted, completely on her own, the little girl who 2 months ago had never heard the name of Jesus prayed, "Thank You, Jesus,  for coming into my heart."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lily and Jesus

If I read the Joshua Project data correctly, there are over 2.8 billion unreached people in the world today. 

Over 2.8 billion people who have never heard the gospel. 

2.8 billion people who have

Not over the past x number of years.
Right now.
This very minute.

While that number is staggering in and of itself, it became even more weighty when, having recently returned from China, I realized that one of those precious people, created in the very image of God but having never heard the story of His redeeming love, was

In time, I will try to recount what has transpired in the life of my little girl over the past 2 months.

But for now, pray for the 2.8 billion who have never heard.

And rejoice with me because tonight, there is one less.

Monday Morning Smiles

I found these shots on Lauren's camera the other day. 

What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall when they are all upstairs playing "dress up."

Hope it makes you smile too...

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Today's Post Brought to You By...

...the letter p... in pretty pink slippers...

...dangling from the piano bench...

...while worn by a petite princess...
In a word...precious.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Got 5 Minutes?

I can't think of a better way to spend it than watching this...

I am so gonna be singing backup for Third Day when I get to heaven ('cause I really don't think they'd want me doing it right now...)

Friday, March 11, 2011

"We Are Grafted In"

Today one of my posts was featured on the adoption blog "We Are Grafted In."

WAGI is a wonderful site where those with a heart for adoption can find insight, encouragement, and information on adoption and orphan care.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Today I had to take Lily in to have some lab work done.

Except for the TB test they did in China, this was my first experience with her and a needle.

She climbed up in the chair, took one look at the needle and attached tubing and started to wave her hand and shake her head "no."  Big tears welled up in her eyes and dropped onto her lap. 

Oh goodness.  What to say?

I tried to explain that it was only going to be one stick and that was all.  She just needed to keep still and it would be over before she knew it.

And then I played the Mom card.

"Ice cream.  You name it.  Strawberry milkshake?  M&M? Peanut butter fudge?  When we're all done we are heading straight for ice cream."

She nodded, wiped her tears, and then said, "I want BIG one."

You got it girl.  After 8 vials of blood, you can have whatever you want.

When we arrived home, it turns out there was a little surprise waiting for her in the mailbox, too.

Her "Panda Bear, Panda Bear" book had arrived.

And by the end of the milkshake she was back to true "Lily" form.
I really wish she would learn to loosen up a bit. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

If a Tree Falls in the Forest...

...and no one is there to hear it...

...but my kids discover it and make a ginormous see saw with it...

...does that absolve me of the guilt I feel for having 6 kids but no play structure in our yard?

I'm thinking "yes."

Friday, March 4, 2011

Gone yesterday is gone. history is gone. Lia's diapers...gone.
Oh yes indeed.  For the first time in 13 years (give or take a few months) the word "diapers" and/or "pull-ups"  will NOT be making an appearance on my grocery list this week.

For 4 consecutive mornings her first words to me have been:

"I wake up."
"I go my potty in my bafroom."
"I big girl." 

Yes you are, little one.  Yes you are.

Editor's Note:  Within seconds of publishing this post, Lia walks right up to my desk, looks me in the eye and says, "I peed my pants."  Oh, the humility.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

They're Heeeeere....

After 5 long days of waiting...

...and 5 days of asking "today? today?"...

...and 5 days of checking and rechecking the mail...

...Bitty Baby 1 and Bitty Baby 2 have finally arrived...

...and this little mommy couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tears From A Broken Heart (Part 2)

It was Monday night.  It was bedtime.  And it was obvious she wanted to sleep with Lauren again.

Lauren was willing though I had my doubts about letting this become a pattern.

About 10 or 15 minutes after tucking them in for the night, Lauren appears at my bedroom door.

"Mommy!  You need to come here.  Lily was telling me something in bed and I don't know what to do!"

We went back upstairs where the four of us (Lauren, Caroline, Lily and I) each found a spot on Lauren's increasingly popular bed and Lily explained to me through gestures and broken English what she had told Lauren.

When she was little and was out in public, people would point at her.
They would point at her hands.
They would laugh.
They were mean.
And it hurt.

As she lay in bed, she stretched out her arms as far as she could and said:

"I want...I want...I want...hands."  

Deep breath in.  And exhale.

I never expected her to be this open this soon.  I wondered how to tell her everything I wanted her to know with the limited communication we had.

So I prayed silently and then began.

I told her about a place where no one was ever sick or hurting.  No one was mean or angry.  A place where our bodies were new and lacked nothing.  A place called heaven.

I told her about a man, who was God, who came from heaven.  He never did anything wrong.  Only good.  And He was punished for all the wrong things we do, things we deserve to be punished for.  He took that punishment for us because He loves us.  His name is Jesus.

I told her that those who love Him and believe He is true get to go to that special place and be with Him forever.

And I told her that He knew her in China, that He's always known her and that He is the One who told us in our hearts to go and bring her here to be in our family.

I watched her face as her little mind stretched to find the words to ask questions or make comments.  I had never seen her try so earnestly to communicate with us.

And then she asked me something that I will never forget:

"No eyes, no ears, no hands, too?"
(The other children at the orphanage.  The blind.  The deaf.  Those missing limbs.  Does He know them?  Does He love them too?)

Another deep breath.

"So, so much.  He knows each and every one and loves them so much." 

 Because of the language barrier I felt like my responses were so inadequate for the need.  Like the boy who only had 5 loaves and 2 fishes to feed the 5,000.

But in His hands the food was multiplied.
And it satisfied.
And there was more than enough for all who hungered.

And I pray the same thing for my sweet girl.

That her hunger for love would be satisfied in Him.
That her hurting heart would find healing in Him.

And that I would be faithful to point her to Him with every chance I'm given.

"A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."  Psalm 51:17


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tears From a Broken Heart

"A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."  Psalm 51:17

A couple of nights ago there were more tears.

It started earlier in the evening but culminated at bedtime.

She had asked to sleep with Lauren in Lauren's bed. We've done that before and depending on the night would consider doing it again. But that day we had been outside all afternoon, everyone was tired, and the next day was a very busy Monday. A good night's sleep for everyone was of the utmost importance.

Or so I thought.

She had positioned herself in Lauren's bed and shook her head "no" every time I motioned for her to come to her own bed.

Finally, with a little stomp in her step and pout on her face she made her way back to her own bed.

And then they started to fall.

But it was different this time.

No anger or defiance.
No temper or tantrum.
Just tears. Tears that came from somewhere deep inside.

From the loss of what she left behind? Or from what she never knew?

I don't know.

She hid herself completely under the bedsheets and refused to come out despite my coaxing.

Eventually, though, she dropped the covers enough that I could converse with the two little eyes that peeped out at me between the sheets.

As tears fell, I asked her some questions.  She nodded or shook her head depending on the answer but I'm learning that doesn't always means she understands what I'm saying.

Needless to say, at this point, I didn't see her sleeping with her big sister as an issue of the will.  It was a means of comfort and in that moment that's what she seemed to need the most.

After a few minutes, I was able to get a giggle or two out of her and told her it was OK with me if she slept with Lauren.  And Lauren, the ever-sensitive one, was willing to go to bed earlier than usual.

For the second time that night, I tucked her in, said goodnight, and turned to walk away.

It was at that moment that Lily grabbed my hand, then Lauren's, and then squeezed her eyes until they were shut tight.

She wanted to pray.

She wanted to pray.

She wanted to pray.

She wanted to pray.

This same little girl who looked at us like we were koo-koo for Coco-Puffs the first time we prayed in China was now initiating praying with us.

And so we did.

A few minutes later, as I walked down the stairs I marveled at what had just taken place, what He was doing, and what was to come in the life of this little girl.

And how thankful I was to be able to witness it.

And the next night, He showed me even more.... be continued...