Sunday, January 27, 2013

And she's 6!

 What a fun 6th birthday Jenna had yesterday!
It started with a special gift from Daddy that he brought home from China.
Gifts from Daddy are so special!
(Yes, this is the tiara she made yesterday...still wearing it!)

 Beautiful silk dresses!
Perfect timing as the Chinese New Year is just around the corner!

 Next we decorated her very pink birthday cake with Hello Kitty.
 Such a girly girl!

 Time for presents!!
A new dance bag for her tap and ballet shoes.

 A pink MP3, preloaded with her favorite kid Bible songs, as well as Blessings and Days of Elijah.

 The boys bought her pink legos.  They were all about "helping" her construct.

 Love this bunch!  Their older cousin Kevin drove down with Grandma and Papa.
They love it when their cousins visit!

 And people wonder why I'm in bed by 9:00 at night!  :)
These goofies crack me up!

 Friends came over later in the evening for cake.
It was fun having all these kids together to celebrate Jenna's birthday.

 It's a hoot watching Jenna try to blow out candles.  She hasn't quite mastered the art of blowing...which makes her and us laugh, and then she really can't blow them out because she can't stop giggling and smiling! 

 Earlier in the day, Grandma, Jenna, Laura, and I went shopping and out for treats.  Then we met all the guys for dinner at Jenna's favorite Chinese restaurant.  The "cookie lady," who owns the restaurant, gave the kids a big plate of fried wontons, and then a big bag of cookies for Jenna to take home.  We laughed and joked all during dinner, and with all the silliness, you know something would get spilled.  (We just don't have to dwell on who it was.  Suffice to say, I was very glad I wore dark colored pants!  Very embarrassing!).  It was a fun day, and so sweet to watch this precious girl enjoy every moment of it!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Princess Tea Party

Jenna's turning 6 tomorrow.  Time for a party with her little friends!

The boys helped prepare the food...aprons and chefs hats were a must!
Amarin made the crown shaped, peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

 The birthday princess was all ready for her guests to arrive!

 Chef Charlie made the fruit kabobs.

We played "pass the tiara" to music.  When the music stopped, whoever was holding the tiara got to wear it and sit in the middle of the circle until the next turn.  Charlie joined us, but only with the understanding that he would NOT be wearing the tiara!

 Time for everyone to make her own tiara.  Char made one for Laura.

 Then we played "toss the bracelets" and they got to wear them and take them home.

Time to decorate cookies!
 And then we made picture frames.  I took a picture of Jenna with each of her friends and we'll put the photo in the frame for the girls.

 Lunch time!
The boys were such a huge help, and had a great time helping with the party. 
They were equally happy to be free from schoolwork today.  :)
I'm biased, but aren't they just the handsomest chefs/ servers ever??

 This was just the sweetest group of friendly and polite.

 Birthday cupcakes for everyone!

 Happy birthday, punkin' pie!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Doors are Opening

I'm starting this post, not even sure where to begin.
So many things have transpired since the beginning of 2013, 
and we're only in our 3rd full week of January.

 My first post of the year talked about setting goals for 2013.
Here's a quote from that post:

I desire more...for me, for my family, and for others.
I want to make a difference in things that matter eternally.
Along with that came a change in my prayer life, which includes getting up earlier each day, and spending time in earnest prayer...not repetitive ritual, but honest-to-goodness prayer and communing with our Lord.  Because that is how we see things start to happen.  And, by golly, they are happening. I am already seeing answers to prayers...things happening that are not within my control, and not in my strength.  Many of these things are personal to me or to others, and not for sharing here.  But,it is so exciting to see prayers being answered that I didn't cause to happen myself.

One thing I have specifically been praying about is what to do with our heart for the orphan.  At this point in time, as far as we can tell, our family is complete.  I say that cautiously, not knowing what the Lord has planned.  But I do know He gave us this passion, and we need to do something with it.  We can't know what we know, and have seen what we've seen, and turn our backs to it.  So, we've been praying that doors of opportunity would be opened at just the right time, and that we would be patient to wait until that happened, and for wisdom to know when to act.
The doors are opening.
I don't know where they are leading, but things are happening "by chance" all over the place.
Jamie has been gone for 10 days and is on his way home right now.  He has a lot to share about what he saw, who he saw, needs that are present...and the sweet treasures he got to love.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

In 2012...

my biggest boys committed to reading the Bible in a year.  We chose the chronological reading, so it skipped around a bit.  They did it, and finished on Dec. 31st!

Jacob's favorite books:  1 & 2 Samuel, and 1 & 2 Kings because they have a lot of battles and action
Least favorite:  Leviticus because...well...if you've read it, you get it.

Amarin's favorite:  Genesis because he likes reading about Creation
Least favorite:  none...he liked them all.

And I just had to post this last photo.  Look at Amarin's expression.  For those who always mention his sweet spirit...yes, he surely has one...but look at those just know he's planning some kind of trickery!!  :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2 years, Mei Mei!

So where did these last two years go?  
Honestly, it seems like yesterday when Daddy said, "Look!  There she is!"

We slowly tried to get close to you,

but you needed to be prompted that we were your new
 family...which probably meant nothing to you at the time.
And the prompting came from your "big sister" who wanted to come with us.
She wanted a family, too.

And I remember your we had never experienced with other adoptions.

I'm so glad the bolts on the door were up high or 
I think you would have bolted out the door yourself!

After 2 hours, you started to settle...

and play a little...

all the while, jamming whatever toy you could fit into your pockets.
Just in case you got to leave, you would take them with you.
Daddy thought this was hilarious.

You let us love on you.

And we acted silly for the camera.

And you accepted food from us.

Happy 2nd Gotcha day, Jenna Mei!
We love you!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year, A New Outlook

Happy New Year, and may my bloggy readers have a very blessed 2013!

I know some of you are already planning big adventures in the upcoming weeks and months bring home more children so they are no longer orphans, go and serve those in need around the world, move to new countries to lead others to Christ, start anew right in your own backyard.
What an exciting way to start a new year!

Over the past week or so, our family has been discussing the events of 2012.
It was a year of great change for us...moving to a new state, a new job, a new church, new friends...just about new everything.  With those changes came excitement, changed commitments, challenges, and growth. Yesterday, the check-out lady at the grocery store wished me a better 2012.  My reply to her was that we were so blessed in 2012, that if 2013 were even better, it will surely be a great year!  I dare say, she was a bit taken aback.

 But, 2012 was also a year of witnessing heartache and nonsense in our world...natural disasters, moral decay in our nation, government mayhem, death of loved ones, unspeakable and recent crimes, and, near and dear to our hearts, the continued plight of the orphan.  
(Anyone know where I can get a bigger van)?  :)

As a family, we have decided to not ignore these things or keep our children from knowing appropriate information, but we try to act and pray.  How easy it would be to hide in our safe, warm home, and pretend that all is good and right with the world.  We could shelter ourselves and our children, and just move forward with our own lives and school, go shopping, play with our toys, etc.  That would be comfortable.

But is that living?  Pretending to be oblivious and remaining status quo?
I desire more...for me, for my family, and for others.
I want to make a difference in things that matter eternally.

So, as a family, we're starting to set both individual and family goals for 2013.  At the end of 2013, we want to look back and see change, not complacency.  Increased service, not indifference.
 The hardest part in all of this for me, is not knowing what that will entail, and being patient to allow God to show us where we're headed.  I'm a planner.  I'd like to know everything upfront, please.

But, wouldn't you know it, for my first devotional reading of the year...Joshua 1-5.
Yep.  God knew what I needed to hear. strong and very courageous. not turn to the right or to the left. one can stand against me (when I walk in obedience).
...God is always with me and will not forsake me.
...obedience brings success and prosperity (not necessarily in a worldly view).
...I should expect miracles that will show God's might, and so I will revere Him more.
...He will always provide for my needs.

I'm ready for some excitement and adventures, and I can't wait to see what God has planned for us this year.  How about you?