Thursday, October 25, 2012


Once again, I'm in denial.
It generally happens this time every year...
as the colors of fall begin to blanket the ground, 
and Christmas goodies begin to line the store shelves.
The swiftness with which the season is passing is mind-boggling at best!

So in my attempt to hold on to autumn for a little bit longer, 
I'll attach a few pre-autumn photos. 
Perhaps that way I can delude myself in to thinking that 
Thanksgiving is NOT only four weeks away!


A teddy bear is a faithful friend
You can pick him up at either end.
His fur is the colour of breakfast toast, 
And he's always there when you need him most.

Monday, October 15, 2012

1000 Gifts: In the woods

It's always a treat to head to the mountains... 
to my parents' home, nestled nicely in the woods.

The escape from our crazy-hectic pace is itself a lovely gift!
Add to that sweetness a neat, neat family--
our dinner companions on Saturday evening--
and I am filled.
Grateful beyond words. Compelled to count once again.

For His amazing gifts-- for all His goodness-- I give thanks.

Godly friends-- their journey & ours in the making.
Their beautiful, beautiful babes-- both adopted from China-- healed & whole, 
and loved beyond measure.
Insight & advice, counsel & excitement
Their desire to help & encourage
Contagious delight!
Child laughter, fast friends
A cozy table, the generosity of all
The anticipation of all to come
Time to play
And weather that beckoned us out-of-doors
Target practice & leaves to crunch
Logs to straddle, fallen trees to climb
 The great wide open
And the wonderful world of boys
All with my folks...
My mom and my dad.

"Not to us, O LORD, but to Your name give glory,
for the sake of Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness!"
Psalm 115:1

To be continued...

Friday, October 5, 2012

When this boy doesn't want to read...

... a creative reading nook will generally make all the difference :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


because yesterday afternoon, our dossier
left the main office of America World Adoption
in McLean, Virigina...


and is now en route to China!


  By next week, it should land on the other side of the globe,
 and well before the month's end, it should be registered with
the China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption.


 Shortly thereafter, the CCCWA will share our log-in info with America World,
and the great folks there will officially begin searching for our daughter!!!


and most worthy of praise;
His greatness no one can fathom.
Psalm 145:3 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Open Water

Smith Mountain Lake Open Water Swim
September 29, 2012
3.1 miles 
Air: 64 degrees
 Water: 75 degrees
Bub's first open wwater swim.
Bring. it. on.

Chris had to work on Saturday (due to end-of-the-fiscal-year chaos), 
and my Mom was committed to an all-day conference at church,
so it was just Pops & I who hopped in the van (with my three little ones in tow)
 to journey south and cheer for Bub!

At the starting line, the swimmers waded waist-deep into the water
to await the crack of the gun.
Once the official fired that no-turning-back-now shot,
they all launched forth, and the real battle began!
No walls.  No flip turns.  Just repetitive forward motion.
For three. grueling. miles.

Thankfully, Bub is much like the Energizer bunny-- he just keeps going & going & going.
As a result, he wasn't too overwhelmed by the course.
 Excited? Yes.
Nervous? A bit.
Ready to hit the water?  You better believe it.

With the help of some binoculars and the zoom lens on my camera,
we were able to keep track of Bub in spurts & snippets.

And thanks to this pier,
we were able to get a bird's-eye view of the swimmers as they raced past.  
Each time, we were able to find Bub in the pack...

(below, in the very middle of the photo :

...but then we'd lose him and have to wait until he passed our way once again.

After three full laps around the 1 mile loop,
 Bub rounded the last buoy and made his grand exit from the lake.
The finish line in sight, he dashed up the beach...
#97 was finally done.  

After 1 hour and 8 minutes...
Near the very top of the pack...

As for next year, he says he'll definitely participate again.
And I think... I think... Chris & Noh-man are planning to join him. 
They're hoping to compete in the 1-mile race, though... 
until the next year when they ALL swim the 3-miler!

As for me, I think I'll stay on shore with my camera :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stribling Orchard

Every fall, we take a trip out to Stribling Orchard.

Family owned for over 200 years, 
the orchard boasts a wonderful assortment of seasonal deliciousness.

Today, we stuffed our bags (and our bellies)... 

I think an applie pie is on the menu for the weekend!

Or maybe we'll try pumpkin instead :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Our road to China

Months ago, Chris and I formally began our adoption journey.  We *knew* the Lord had blessed us with another daughter; we simply had to find her!  After researching various agencies and options, we decided to partner with America World Adoption, and we have been blessed beyond measure by their good, good work ever since.

Initially, we reviewed the lengthy list of countries with whom AWAA works, and after feeling the Lord lead us towards China, we applied to that specific program.  At that time, the wait for a "healthy" baby girl from China was 5-6 years, and since we hoped to NOT wait that long, we began to research other options.  Good friends came to mind-- a special family who adopted a sweet, sweet little guy from China three years ago, a little guy who was abandoned due to his cleft lip & palate (both of which are considered curses in Chinese culture).  Thinking a similar adoption might be a possibility for us, we immediately began to research children with "special needs."  In China, children are placed under that label for a variety of reasons; many, however, fall in to that category because of a physical ailment... a physical ailment which is quite often correctable with proper medical help and care-- cleft lip and/or palate, ear deformities, scars and burns, minor heart defects, and so on.  From a list far more extensive than this, we ultimately filled out an application which required us to indicate which conditions we could "accept."

Both Chris & I struggled with that list-- it was long, and some of the conditions were severe.  But the Lord, mysterious & loving, impressed upon our hearts the need to think big.  To see past the "imperfections" and remember (as my Mama always told me), "God don't make no junk!"  Precious little people needed families. And our family was created for one of those special little people!  So many children have been rejected due to their appearance or "complication" or "imperfection." Yet every single one of them IS absolutely perfect in His sight!

"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
 Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well."
Psalm 139:14

So... quickly we printed out form after form after form, anxious to submit our paperwork as quickly as possible to the Waiting Child Program.  We scrambled and we scurried to write our autobiographies and to have our fingerprints taken, to complete financial forms and background checks, to prepare for home visits, personal interviews, and family interviews, to endure doctor's physicals and to complete employment letters, and on and on and on.  And with each passing day, the clocked ticked a little bit louder.

At the onset, I thrived on the excitement of it all-- the details and the fact-gathering and the organization required to keep my sanity! But when progress started to depend on others who simply did not share our sense of urgency (think: government bureaucrats at the city & state levels), frustration quickly set in.  Thankfully, many special folks regularly reminded me of one simple truth:  THIS was God's plan.  His plan-- set in motion before time began... for us. To be completed in His time and in His way.  Just as He ordained.  And even better?  The completion of said plan depended not on me and not on Chris, but on the awesome God we serve!  And He has never proven Himself unfaithful!!

"Have you not known?  Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint, and to hm who has no might He increases strength
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; 
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary; 
they shall walk and not faint."

Isaiah 40:28-31

So, armed with God's Word and an assurance of His calling, Chris and I pressed forth.  We scrambled and we raced to gather every teeny detail needed to complete our end of the bargain as quickly as possible.  Thankfully, most documents fell in to place very nicely, and most were processed through all the proper channels without a hitch.

Until we had to deal with my birth certificate.  I filled out the appropriate forms and mailed them with a cashier's check to the Department of Heath (as directed).  They mailed a newly issued birth certificate back to me, but when AWAA returned the document to their Secretary of State for certification (a necessary step in the chain of events), it was declined.  Issued by Hawaii.  Declined by Hawaii.  Go figure.  So I tried again-- this time with a different form and a couple additional checks.  Four to six weeks we would have to wait.  And wait.  And wait.  By this point in time, our dossier was compete.  Every document had been certified at the Secretary of State level and each one had passed muster at the State Department and the Chinese Embassy.  All but my birth certificate, which lay untouched (evidently) on a desk across the Pacific.

Until last week. When it finally arrived in the mail. The very last piece of the puzzle... the last document needed to complete our dossier!  Hallelujah!!

To be continued...