Sunday Snapshot: the Boy...Aaron

Before we took the family pictures I posted last week, Kevin & Aaron set the stage.
Trying to ensure he would be able to fit all 4 chairs in the shot, Kevin took some test shots.

Aaron allowed himself to be in the picture...
I just love these of him...the one we affectionately call "the boy!" He looks so grown up!

Oh, yeah...I guess he is.

Sniff. Sniff.

In Him,

Sunday Snapshot


The End of the Prologue: Rumblings...part 3

If you are just joining me in my How God Brought Us to Luke series, and thinking: Part ???? Please go to this page and start at the top. Trust me...it will all make more sense when you start there!

Facts v. Truth

A number of months ago I was reading Seventh Day, one of the books in Bodie & Brock Thoene’s AD Chronicles series. Seventh Day contains a telling of the raising of Lazarus, the brother or Mary & Martha. ­­­­In it a character named Zadok discusses the difference between facts and truth. The truths contained therein have not left me and have instructed me over and over as we’ve walked this journey to Luke. These Truths have been rumblings in my heart.

Forgive my quoting these long excerpts, but I truly feel I must…

Zadok queried, “ So, Emet. Here’s a fact from the Book of Beginnings: Father Avraham was a very old man without a son. He wanted a son, but his wife, Sarai, was also very old. Now what is the truth?

Emet shifted his weight and stared heavenward. “Truth is…God said Avraham would have a son through Sarai. Baby Isaac was born.

Zadok cheered him on. “Very good, Emet! Now once more. Tell your father the answer t’ this…fact. Joseph the Dreamer, great-grandson of Avraham, was sold into slavery by his brothers, unjustly accused, and imprisoned. What is the truth of this story?”

Emet furrowed his brow in thought. “Truth: Joseph became a great leader in Egypt. His brothers bowed down to him and he saved the whole family of Israel.”…

Zadok sighed. “Aye. Here’s a difficult one for you, Emet. And also for me, when I think on it. Fact: Pharaoh ordered all the baby boys of the Hebrews t’ be slaughtered because he feared their numbers.”….

Emet laid his head against Zadok’s chest and answered quietly. “Papa , you remember. The truth: Baby Mosheh was saved when he was placed into a basket and set adrift on the Nile River. He was rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter, nursed by his own mother, and grew up to be a prince of Egypt and the deliverer of Israel….

“Aye, Papa. One more true thing, Papa? Shall we recite one more, Papa?”

Zadok seemed to scour his memory, searching for some familiar lesson Emet could recite. “Here it is, then. Fact: On their journey from Egypt, the former Hebrew slaves were trapped between the Red Sea and the approachin’ chariots of Pharaoh. Now, Emet, tell us if you can. What is the truth?”

Emet eagerly declared, “God parted the waters of the sea, the Hebrews crossed over on dry land, and then the waters closed over the heads of the Egyptian pursuers and drowned them. Israel escaped and became a great nation.” P. 181-182

Kindly but firmly, Yeshua drew her [Martha] aside. With a gesture He summoned Miryam to join them. Then He said, “Didn’t I tell you that you’ll see God’s glory if you believe?”

In that instance Yeshua’s teaching from Ezekiel flashed into my thoughts: this is what the Sovereign Lord says—“I am going to breathe into you and make you live again!” (Ezek. 37:5)

But four days dead? Dead, stinking dead?

And this is what rumbled from heaven, though perhaps no one else in the whole assembly heard it except me: Don’t ever again confuse facts with Truth! That Israel was trapped between Pharaoh’s chariots and the Red Sea was fact…but not Truth! That a virgin could never conceive and bear a son was fact…but not Truth! Watch and see Truth!

And like The Lord of All the Angel Armies issuing and order, Yeshua repeated, “Roll the stone away!”……

Lifting his face toward the brilliant blue sky, Yeshua said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said this out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so they will believe you sent me.”

Because I love them!

…..And then before the last of Yeshua’s words had finished rolling around in my head, He suddenly shouted, “El’azar! Come forth!”

Yeshua never shouted, seldom lifted His voice. But I believe his cry that day could be heard in Jerusalem.

There was a rustling from within the shadow. A figure detached itself from a stone slab and stood upright. Then El’azar, shuffling because of the layers of cloth with which his arms and legs were bound, stepped blinking into the sunlight. P.201-203

…..I learned to never confuse facts with Truth.

The fact is, El’azar was dead.

The greater Truth is that Yeshua is the Resurrection and the Life.

I learned that sometimes we do not understand how The Lord of All the Angel Armies is working for our benefit.

The greater Truth is that He always cares and provides for us. Even if He delays, it is because He loves us. p. 208

I’m coming to think that God allows us to see the facts just so He can demonstrate Truth. He loves to fly in the face of facts and use circumstances that are impossible in human terms to glorify Himself.

There have been some scary facts when we looked at Luke’s file…but God has challenged us to look at the Truth…and trust in Him to reveal the Truth…and stand expectantly watching.

Reading about the chasm of difference between facts and Truth prepared my heart for Luke.

In Him,


How God Brought Us to Luke...the Prologue: Rumblings, continued

If you are just joining me in my How God Brought Us to Luke series, and thinking: Part ???? Please go to this page and start at the top. Trust me...it will all make more sense when you start there!

“Life is too short and eternity is too long.”

This rumbling came repeatedly through the mouth of my husband. Since adopting Lily, it has been like we see the world and our circumstances through totally different glasses.

God has been impressing upon our hearts that we have but one life to live…and it is oh, so brief. We tend to think we have so much time, but in the light of eternity our lives are but a breath. So short. And in that short, one-breath of time…I have the opportunity to live my life…or not…in such a way that it brings glory to Him. 1 Corinthians 3: 12-15 says that I have the opportunity to build on the foundation of my salvation with either wood, hay, and stubble (that which is perishable, will burn when tested in the fire…is truly nothing...using my life for my glory instead of God's) or I can build with gold, silver, and costly stones which will only become more radiant when passed through His fire.

And then? Then I will get to take those treasures and hand them to my King. For His glory! For His praise! (Revelation 4:9-11)

Oh, that I will have much to give Him in that day. That I won’t be found empty handed.

I don’t want to get to that day and look back and see what I could have done for my Savior. I don’t want to wish I had lived my life more for His glory and less for my comfort.

I don’t want to just read about the amazing things God has done in and through other saints. I want to write my own story with Him.

I want my life to bring glory to Him now and tomorrow and the next day and every day until He brings me home.

Wherever that takes us…

In Him,


How God Brought Us to Luke...the Prologue: Rumblings

Yes, the story is that long! So long, I’ll begin before we really understood that it had begun.

Like many major events, there were signs it was coming. I’ve begun calling them “rumblings.” They are the noise, the weight of what the Lord is burdening my heart over and speaking to my soul about. They are rumblings because I practically feel them and they might as well be physical or audible. Like the tremors that lead to an earthquake, they are persistent, don’t go away, frequently grow in intensity. But much like those tremors, many are under the surface where no one sees but the Creator and those whose instruments are designed to see.

My heart is my “rumbling” sensor. I know there’s movement going on…”noise”…pointing to the Lord’s working, but what He’s bringing me to isn’t always obvious until it is...obvious.

As I look back over my life, I can’t think of a specific time when the Lord has not moved in my life without preparing me first…without His rumblings in my heart.

Before I begin to tell you about Luke’s story [so far] I must tell you in the next couple of posts of the preparation I see the Lord has brought me through…the rumblings.

“She doesn’t need perfect parents”

Without sharing more than I feel like I can in this venue, shortly after we returned from China we had a major incident with one of our children. A very difficult incident…the results of which we continue to live with. This event was not without its own “rumblings,” but it was still personally devastating. In the weeks that preceded it and the weeks after, I struggled with major feelings of failure as a mom. As you’ll read, the Lord had been laying a desire to adopt again after Lily on our hearts; but with this occurrence I would argue with the Lord about the wisdom of that (I laugh now at my audacity…”who is this who darkens my counsel?”). It was too late for Lily to get better parents, I reasoned, she was stuck with this lousy mom; but we didn’t have to put another kiddo through this!

After awhile the Lord spoke gently to my heart…Mandy, they don’t need perfect parents, they need parents who love Me and who are committed to loving them. Hmmm.

Do I mean what I sing? What I say?

Wow, this one I couldn’t get away from. Every time we entered into praise and worship at church, every time a worship song was on the radio, every time the girls or Kevin would sing songs to the Lord, I would find myself singing along…and at some point be totally struck by the words.

Pierced by words, really.

They were/are so easy to sing! But do I really mean them?

Am I living them?

Do I really want to “lay my life down for you, Jesus?”

Do I really “surrender all” or just the things I don’t really want anyway?

I would find myself praying as I was singing…Lord, make these words true of me. I know that in so many ways they are not…but I want them to be. I want to live them, not just say them.

I see He has been preparing my heart for what He was going to reveal. To go where He sends, follow where He leads.

Baby Luke...

...before God even moved in Kevin's heart that we were to adopt!

In Him,


The Whole Clan

After Lily's dedication at church last Sunday, we had a family cookout. My mom and dad had been visiting from out-of-state for a few days and Kevin's parents only live 2 hours away...so we got to have all the grandparents with us to celebrate!

Not wanting to miss the rare opportunity for a family photo, we cleared off the deck, carefully positioned the masses, set the timer...and smiled at the blinking light.

Amazingly, we got some real keepers!

Kevin's parents are seated at the bottom left. My parents on the bottom right. Aaron and his fiancee Alex are standing next to me.

With a wedding date set for mid-October and Luke hopefully coming home in that general time-frame...me thinks my family photos are only going to continue to get larger!

Just love this picture! All my kiddos with their grandparents! Lily was playing peek-a-boo with me...too cute!

In Him,


Lily's Dedication to the Lord

This past Sunday, a little over a year after we first saw her sweet face, we dedicated Lily to the Lord and committed ourselves to raise her according to Deuteronomy 6:5-9.

5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Ultimately, it will be her heart's choice to take my Jesus as her Jesus, my Savior as her Savior, my Friend as her Friend, my Hope as her Hope. I pray that the Lord would pour out His abundant grace on this sinner turned saint so that my daughter...truly all of my children...would see displayed in their Mama a love for my God Who is more desirable than any other person or thing. And that they would want Him too.

The video is a little long, but it is a memorial stone for us.

And in it, Kevin gets to share some of his heart.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the gift of Lily. We know she is Yours at at that we are Your stewards who are caring for Your treasure. Equip us for this blessing...

In Him,


VIDEO: Hello & Thank You

The sweetest gift...hearing the voice of my son!

Isn't he just precious! Oh, those eyes and that smile! They make my heart soar!

In Him,



82 days ago the Lord placed a face before us. A face that brought immediate tears...and one BIG question.

I think I knew the answer then and there.

But, as my faithful God always does, He walked us through a purposeful and sometimes painful process so that we would know that we know that we know...that we had heard Him. That He had made exceedingly and abundantly clear to us that...

We had heard Him answer our one BIG question....

Lord, is this the face of our son?

His answer?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

To say that we are overjoyed, thankful, excited, nervous, chomping at the bit to fly to China doesn't even come close! God has been exceedingly good to us!

But it has been quite the battle to get to this day. Over the next month, I will chronicle what the Lord has been doing in our hearts and how He brought us to Luke.

Tonight, however, we simply want to shout praise to the Giver of good gifts, to the One Who knows all and provides all and...really...IS all! All that I need, all that I want, all that I long to be.

And we want to introduce you to our son, Luke.

He was born June 18, 2005, in Jiaozuo City in the
Henan province
in the People's Republic of China.
He is currently living in foster care in Shunyi, a district of Beijing.

His medical update from this past March describes him as:

"bright", "outgoing", "kind and warm-hearted", "patient", "smart, conscientious, polite, and aware of his surroundings", "sweet personality","loves to laugh and joke and is very lighthearted", "almost always has a smile on his face."

And what a smile it is!

Take a look!

Luke, you are deeply loved and longed for by your Mom, Dad, brother and sisters! We can't wait to have you home with us...where you belong!

Celebrating one less orphan...and an addition to our forever family!

Rejoicing in Him,

Shout from the rooftops, what He's whispered in our ears!

A little less than a month ago, after a brief break from blogland, I wrote the following:

What I wish I could let you in on is what has been going on in the unseen. How the Lord has, yet again, been leading me...us. Speaking profoundly...and sometimes painfully. But it just isn't time. Maybe if He says to share I will, but not yet.

In the mean time, I praise Him. Praise Him for more than I can type and for more than eyes have seen, ears have heard, minds can conceive. I praise Him for all that He is. i praise Him that He is perfect.

The time has come.

He has said to shout from the rooftops, what He's been whispering in our ears.

And, I can hardly wait to share it all!

As I said on April 10th, He has been leading and speaking...profoundly. Sometimes the things that He has said have been painful. Self dies a painful death.

But, when I am dethroned & He is my sovereign King and Master...JOY comes in the morning!

So, tomorrow, I shout!

In Him,


Robin Watch 2011

For the last 2 and a half weeks, the girls and I have been watching an American Robin's nest. When we began the project, we were hopeful we would find a nest we could observe, but when the girls reminded me that the one that had been under our deck last year was knocked down by a neighbor boy who will remain nameless...I was a little unsure this project would "take flight."

After finding no nest under our deck, we went hunting. Within a few minutes...success!
We found a nest from last year sitting in a Bradford Pear on the edge of our yard'...right at my eye level!

We began looking the nest over and saw that it was still totally intact, but littered with the remains of the tree's pear blossoms. No tenant it seemed. So we took the picture below and continued our search for actual Robins. Several were about and the girls had a great time watching them, trying to identify males and females (females are duller in color and rounder in the breast'...seriously!)

The next day we returned to check on our nest and found that it had been totally cleaned out...not a single blossom remainder inside!

When we returned the day after that...we were greeted with one blue egg!

(Sorry, no picture of that day!)

The next day...day 4...Mama Robin had laid another perfectly blue egg.

Day 5...Easter...You guessed it!
3 eggs!

Every day after that Mama and Papa took turns sitting on their trio. For a total of 14 days from the first laid egg till now, they sat and sat and sat.

To say that the girls were getting a smidge impatient for
something to happen

is a bit of an understatement

Two days ago Anna Grace swore she saw a crack in one of the eggs. Emma suggested that it was a little something else...but who can say for sure?!

Today, after playing outside following lunch, the girls and their neighbor friends told me that they found a blue broken egg shell on our driveway.

With much excitement, I told them....

You know what that might mean, don't you?
The eggs may have hatched!

I walked over and peeked in and this is what I saw...

3 baby Robins!

I wish I had video of the kids' reaction when I made the announcement!

Wild screaming and cheering!
Jumping up and down!
Begging me to let them see.

I, of course, snapped my picture and then did my best to shoo the voyeurs away.

I was quite relieved to see the Mama return to her babies after we all went inside!

Stay tuned as we continue our Robin Watch 2011!

In Him,


Physical Therapy Update: the Super Walker

Yesterday, I said…’However, there is one piece of equipment that is quite different.’

Today, I explain!

The piece of equipment that is definitely unlike how the other girls learned to walk is what I call the "Super Walker" (insert echoing voice).

It is the fanciest piece of equipment that our therapist has let us borrow yet...and the most expensive, if we were to damage it! Try something like $1500!

It's technical name is the Rifton MiniPacer and adjusts in a bazillion different ways. The wheels can be adjusted to go forward, backward, lock, go slow, go fast or anywhere in between. You can make them swivel for turning or lock in a straight-only position. The height adjusts. The handles can move forward or backward, up and down. There was a chest harness initially so she didn't tip over. She thought that was there so she could do the "Look, Mom! No feet!" trick (lifting them up and hanging).

At first, we harnessed her in around her chest (to keep her upright!) and taught her how to move her feet in a walking position. A little hard on the knees or lower back, but thankfully she was a very quick learner! We did short sessions in there...like 5 minutes. She only tolerated so much before she would just pull her feet up and hang! After several weeks, of this combined with other PT exercises, our PT took the chest harness off and Lily began only using the handles as support. Since she'd already learned to move her "rightie" then her "leftie" and then her "rightie" again, this was an amazingly easy transition for her. She really seems to love that she can go without help. She's been crawling over to the walker and getting in all by herself!

For the last 2 weeks, we have been working on teaching her to swing "rightie" (her non-prosthetic leg) all the way through. Apparently, most amputees want to stay on their full leg as long as possible because it feels more safe or comfortable and as a result end up taking very short steps with the full leg (they want to stay on it as long as possible!). Our prosthetist said they usually tell older patients to take shorter steps with the leg with the prosthetic and longer steps with their non-prosthetic leg and this will usually correct the gait. Lily's too young to get this, so we have to follow behind and help her. The idea is this will build up "muscle memory" of the correct way to stride.

Here are a couple of cute pictures of her in her walker...

Here's a video of her walking in the walker. It's a little long and not the greatest, but she's just oh-so-cute that it kind of makes up for it!

In Him,


Physical Therapy Update: The Bench

So, it's been a while...long while...since I've done a physical therapy update.

We still do some stretching and ball exercises, but the U-seat and stander have moved onto other families and in their place have come a couple of pieces of apparatus designed to encourage standing and walking.

The first is the adjustable bench. The idea behind it is that Lily can stand and play with toys at it (much like she could sit and play with toys in the U-seat). Lily hasn't really gotten the memo on this one and much prefers to use it to simulate flying. She pulls herself up onto the bench so that her feet are no longer touching the ground. Then, she either hangs by her hands or "flies" on her belly. Haven't been able to catch her with the camera doing this, though.

The bench actually works a lot better for practicing cruising (if we can keep her from "flying"). We have a sectional so I'll place the bench at a 90 degree angle from one end of the couch (forming a U shape) and then put her at one end and goldfish or something like that spaced along the couch all the way down to the end of the bench. Works pretty well if she's in a cooperative mood. If you're able to enlarge the picture below, you'll be able to see the deliberately spaced goldfish.

Cruising down the couch...

Made it to the bench!

As far as teaching her to walk, much of what we've been doing really isn't that much different than what we've done with our other children.

Standing at the couch, refrigerator, chairs,...Mommy's legs! Encouraging cruising. Walking with her holding our hands. Over and over and over.

However, there is one piece of equipment that is quite different.

But, I'll have to tell you about it...tomorrow!

In Him,