Last Post of 2010...2 videos!

What a year this has been! As I look back over 2010, the phrases 'answered prayer' and 'God's sovereignty' come rushing to mind.

Last year at this time we had no idea that Lily had been born and that in 4 short months we would see her picture for the first time and that a year later she would have been with us for 4 whole months! What a difference a year makes!

She has blessed each of us in our family in ways beyond comprehension. The joy she has brought us is beyond words. To see the kids embrace her and love on her...still, even after 4 months...and the excitement they have over each milestone melts this mom's heart.

Even though we have had our share of sorrows this year, too, the blessings have softened the blows, the grace has been a balm to the hurts.

2010 will always be the year that the promise of Lily Rose was fulfilled...in the fullness of time!

On that note, and to celebrate Lily's 4 months with us (yesterday was 4 months), I want to post 2 videos.

The first is of Gotcha Day, August 30, 2010. Many people weren't able to view it on the Baby Jelly Beans site, so here it is again...this time on YouTube.

The second was taken this afternoon. It is of Lily sitting upright all by herself! This is huge for us! We have been working for weeks (months) toward this goal. We had noticed her doing it a couple of seconds at a time this past week, but last night...she did it for minutes...intentionally. Boy, oh, boy did we ever cheer, celebrate, and clap! And our smartie caught on and gave us several repeat performances. Today, she picked up where she left off. Take a look!

In Him,


Snow Pictures

We have been blessed with two rounds of ground-covering snow in December (so far!) and we made sure to get little Lily out for her first snow! We feel pretty safe in assuming it was the first time Lily has seen snow as Shantou City sits at about the latitude of Cuba. Don't think any snow was falling at 23 degrees...latitude that is...this time last year!

After digging through the winter clothing box to find this snow suit and a tiny boot that was still too large, she was ready to go!

Now, it hasn't been a mystery to us that Lily loves adventure, but her sheer delight at sledding was a hoot to see! Scared? Not one bit! She laughed the whole way down...the first time and the second and every time after that....

One might say she laughed her boot off...ha, ha, ha.
(Bad joke, I know...but that one was for
Grandpa, the king of oh, so punny jokes.)

Seriously, now.
Look at the next picture closely.
No boot...only a white sock.

No, her toes didn't freeze (or remain bootless). Mama stepped in and got the boot back on.

Now, I just love this next picture of the girls!
Could they be having anymore fun?

My little daredevil went down standing...

and then, literally, went down!
No worries...she was unscathed.

Ally always chooses the tamer and less injury-likely amusements...snow angels!

And little Miss Lily posed...

and gave out some love!

December has been the month of loving affection for Lily. She started giving hugs...even what we call "pat pat hugs" (head down on a shoulder with her little hand patting our back).

And, best of all?

She's been giving out smooches! She puckers up and leans in and even makes a smacking sound! Melt my heart and call me fondue!

Oh, how we've waited for this! And, boy, has it been worth waiting for!

In Him,


My Beautiful Ballerina

Emma has been taking ballet for a year and a half now and is a graceful and beautiful dancer. Her dance teacher offered her the opportunity to perform part of the Nutcracker on December 18th. What she (and we) did not realize until the week before was who her group was performing with! Turns out they were performing with our area's POPS Symphony Orchestra during their Holiday Spectacular! What a fantastic opportunity! Here are some pictures from that night! The first is Emma dancing...the rest are of the curtain call.

The gentleman standing is the Conductor applauding the performance.

You may be wondering what looks different about Emma...no glasses! She wasn't allowed to wear them for the performance, so poor thing only saw a blur!

In Him,

Christmas and Happy Birthday, Emma!

Christmas is doubly exciting at our house each year because we not only celebrate our Savior's birth but also our Emma's! She turned 13...an official teenager now! Can't believer 13 years have passed since my first daughter was born!

The Sunday before Christmas offered Anna Grace & Ally the opportunity to participate in our church's "Christmas Pageant." The kids dressed as shepherds, angels and Mary & Joseph and sang a couple of Christmas songs, including 'Go Tell It On the Mountain.' As you can see, Ally was a shepherd...or should I say sheperdess...and the cutest I've ever seen!

Anna Grace was Mary at the 9:30 service and Joseph was her "buddy pal" (our family's affectionate name for really important people in our lives...you know you've made it with our kids if you are their "buddy pal"). Her part was a last minute opportunity that we were not at all sure she would relish. She is not our up-front-and-center child, but when the right person asked, she acquiesced...and did a fine job! You can't see baby Jesus here, but one of our baby dolls played the part wrapped in a blanket my babies used. Sniff, sniff...

In the hallway getting ready to sing...

Mary and Joseph looking a bit nervous...

Christmas Morning
Before opening presents, we always read the Christmas account from the Gospels and eat breakfast as a family. But before we dig in, we light a candle on the coffee cake and sing Happy Birthday to Emma. This year she had a number 1 candle on her cake because Mom didn't have a 3 to make it a 13 she is our first daughter and we think she's #1!

We always open presents from youngest to oldest with everyone watching, but for some reason I put these pictures in from oldest to youngest. Sorry, but no time to rearrange! So...here are the kiddos opening some of their gifts.

Emma gets her much desired CHI!

Anna Grace had the biggest box which had to be opened before anything else so that we could get to the other presents!

Ally gets her Jesse doll...

Lily was so funny because after a couple of weeks of being told "no touch" to the tree and presents (to which she obediently and amazingly adhered!), she would not help unwrap...anything. She'd play with it once it was out of the paper, but she was not going to break the "no touch" rule. This could bode well for the future! Look at that 'no way' face!

Love this picture of her with the basting brush I got! She loved that gift!

We are so grateful for yet another year of being in the Lord and blessed beyond measure by Him. It was a joy Christmas Day to be surrounded by all of my children and to have Grandma and Pap here with us! We couldn't help but think of the difference between this Christmas and last...for us and for Lily. I remember hanging the stockings last year praying I could hang one for Lily this year...and I did! This year she was surrounded not only by a Mom and Dad, but by her brother, sisters and grandparents! Her Forever Family!

Thank You, Lord, for keeping Your promises to me!

Thank You, Jesus, for Your birth, life, death, resurrection, and soon return!

Thank You for the gift of eternal life!

Thank You for the oh-so abundant life You have given me right now!

In Him,



That is the word that echoed in my mind this morning.

A friend said the word as he prayed today and it is reverberating in my heart.

World-changers! World-changers? Make us world-changers, Lord!

My first thought was that most of us probably responded with...Yeah, right! Me? A world-changer? I'm no world leader, famous author, Billy Graham or even Elisabeth Elloit! Me? Change the world?

Then the passage in Acts 17 that says: These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also...came to mind. They changed the world through Jesus...Paul, Silas, the disciples.

Still, Lord, I can hear the doubts...I'm no Paul, I'm no Silas.

Acts 4:13 "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus."

And then the Spirit's voice spoke truth.

You've been with Jesus. You may not change the whole world...but you can change the whole world for someone.

I held one of those someones in my arms.

Each of us has this opportunity.

When someone follows in the footsteps of Christ through adoption, they become world changers. Maybe not of the whole world...truly, that's Jesus' job anyway...He said He'll make a new heaven and a new earth soon. But, for this one...the world has changed.

Lord, make all who call on Your name world changers. Open the ears of your people to the cries of the orphans. Let those You are calling to adoption heed. Let those you are calling to support a family give. Lord, change a little one's world through us. In the name of Jesus, who did not leave us as orphans, Amen.

In Him,


Thanksgiving...a little late!

Can you guess by this picture where we spent Thanksgiving?

Sunny...and might I add warm Florida! Yes, I am bragging thankful!

We spent a week with Grandma and Grandpa for Thanksgiving this year...one in which we have had so much for which to give thanks! Grandma and Grandpa got to meet and hold their newest granddaughter...a moment I know they have eagerly waited for!

The girls all love visiting Grandma and Grandpa for many reasons...but one of them is the daily morning walk that is followed with pool time (yes, it was warm enough for pool time...at least for the youngest...as well as the intrepid male members...of the family).

Lily LOVES water...she is the only one of our children who doesn't mind water being on her face! She only made it into the pool once, as it was too cool for her the other days, but she loved it when she was able! Check out the Daddy and girls pic with water dripping down Lily's face!

Lily and Grandpa in the pool...

My girl loves to splash!

In Him,