CHRISTmas and Emma's Birthday

As the title to this post implies...Emma's birthday falls on Christmas. 

She is our no-longer-little Emma Noelle.  14!!!  How is that even possible!?

For the record, she says she is thankful that she was born on Christmas because it meant that she didn't get stuck with Suzanne as a middle name.  The nurses talked me into a Christmas name.  And I love both the name (sounds like Emmanuel...God with us!) and the girl!

This year she chose an Oreo Cheesecake for her birthday cake.  As you can see...there was no shortage of desserts that day!

Christmas was an absolute blur in so many ways!  But one thing I was able to take in and enjoy was having both sets of grandparents over for Christmas and my uncle.  This was the first Christmas ever that we have been able to spend with him.  And I think his first with children as he has been a life long bachelor.

Christmas Eve was particularly sweet as Kevin & I and the three oldest girls each had a part in the Christmas service (reading Scripture).  It was such a treasure to see the tears in my uncle's eyes following the service!  I pray he felt the love of Jesus through the love of family.  Lily certainly did her part to make him feel loved and he fell head over heels for her!  Notice in the picture below who made sure Lily sat on his lap!

My dad is next to the Christmas tree, my uncle 
and Lily are next, then my mom.

Below are Kevin's parents with us.  They live a couple of hours away so we get to see them frequently!

With everyone gathered, the gift-giving commenced and the sweet smiles were gift enough for the adults!

The gift that keeps on giving!  A new Bible!
The conversation that day frequently came back to "next year Luke will be with us." We wondered what he was thinking of the gifts he had gotten from us.  I could just picture his sweet smile and was soooo looking forward to being with him the next Christmas.  

It's hard to explain how there is an emptiness in a day like Christmas when one of your children is oceans away.  In so many ways it was a wonderful day.  There was joy, there was laughter, there was family. Lots of family!  But Luke was not there. 

One of our family's traditions is to give each child a new ornament each year.  Once they have homes of their own, we will give them their collection of ornaments (if I can let  go of them!).  My parents did this for me and I hope to continue the tradition.  

This year, however, I was never able to find ornaments that I liked for them.  Quite honestly, I was bummed about it.

Then after Christmas, after we received the news of Luke's home-going, after I had had the seizure and while I was in the hospital...a dear friend of mine brought us a gift.  

And I instantly knew why I had not been able to find ornaments for the kids this year.

For 2011 there would be only one ornament.


As a memorial to our little boy who got to see Who I always long to see on Christmas.

In Him,


Aaron and Luke's Room

Had I been a little less busy during the month of December, this is  a post that would have been published.

A post of pictures of the "Boys' Room" as I was mentally calling it.

For those of you who haven't been to our house...our house has 4 bedrooms.  All of which are in constant use. 

Emma has her own bedroom.  Anna Grace, Ally and Lily all share a room.  Kevin and I, of course!, share  a room.  And the 4th bedroom (all the way down in the basement) is Aaron's.

One of the questions we frequently fielded was...where was Luke going to sleep?

When we began Luke's adoption, this was not going to be an issue because the 4th bedroom was empty.  At that point, Aaron was living on his own and had zero intentions of returning.  So the plan was...Emma would relocate to the basement bedroom.  Luke would move into the bedroom formerly graced by Emma.  Simple enough.

Suddenly, in September that all changed when Aaron moved back in.

After much discussion (and prayer for wisdom!), we decided that given the new set of circumstances, we would start out with Aaron and Luke sharing a bedroom and see how it went.  Make adjustments if necessary.

Our sweet friends...who have more kiddos than we do...had a bunk bed they weren't using that they said we could use.

So shortly before Christmas and the arrival of my parents and uncle for the holidays, we (in the Kevin and Aaron sense of 'we'!) acquired the bunk beds, washed them up with Murphy's Soap (love the smell of that stuff!), and put them together.

That is after we had boy #1 de-trash the room and locate the floor! 


Anna Grace and Ally lent some elbow grease to the operation!

We were thrilled with the results!

In case you are thinking...but I only see 1 bed...that is because the bottom bed which could fit under the loft at a 90 degree angle is along the wall opposite the loft bed.  For some reason I didn't get a picture of it.

Luke will take the bottom bed and Aaron the top.
Aaron really took this all in stride and actually seemed to be looking forward to having some male companionship.  We figured it would be good for Luke, too, since he was not at all used to sleeping in a bedroom by himself.  And, he would have help right there for anything he needed.

We were all soooo excited to be at that point!  Setting up a space for Luke.  More than just his pictures.  Now I could put my hands on a place, a space he would fill.  I could envision his sweet smile looking up at me from his bed...

As I look at these pictures now, on the other side of Luke's home-going, I see the hopes and dreams that were contained in them.   Being honest...I have an ache in my heart and the pain that filled my throat for days returns. 

But God!

Do you know what the Holy Spirit whispered to me as I looked at these pictures now?  

Sweet truth...words sweeter than honey...honey from the honeycomb.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
John 14:1-3

I am resting in knowing the my sweet, smiley Luke is safe and sound in the place my Jesus went ahead to prepare for him.  Knowing it's waaaaay cooler than anything we could have given him.

And it's perfect.

And another promise whispered to me? 
He's preparing mine, too!

And it will be there that Luke and I and Kevin are united...in Him.

In Him,



As I begin my backtracking, I thought I'd start with a post that has been sitting in my drafts box for about 2 months.  I'm not sure why I never posted it, but I decided to publish it because it expresses the condition of my heart leading up to Luke's home-going and the amazing foreknowledge of God. 

I remember getting to this point while waiting to bring Lily home.  I've been searching for adjectives to describe it, but they all seem to fall short.

The Depraved Indifference video expresses it well. 

My son is on the other side of the world and all I want to do is get on a plane and fly to his foster home and be a mother to him.  I want to be the one who makes his meals, washes his clothes, rubs my hand over his hair, listens to his jokes, tell him yes when he asks a question...or 'no!', tuck him into bed, watch him play with other children, hear him sing a song or giggle.

The ache in my chest grows it seems each day.  

I had thought that the Christmas season might help time go by more quickly while we wait for Luke.  But it has seemed to highlight that he is missing.

As I have prepared for Christmas (a scaled back version as most pennies are going to Luke's adoption), and planned special things for the girls and Aaron, it has stirred a longing to do these things for Luke.

I have felt like a  mama bird trying to get to her baby in its nest, only to bump up against the walls of a cage.  So close, yet out of reach.

Once again God knows my heart.  Today, during worship, the words of one of the songs brought a sudden flow of tears.  The song declared that God is our refuge.

Why did this bring tears?

I had learned a couple of weeks ago of some circumstances in Luke's foster home that were less than ideal.  God has moved in them and provided, but hearing of them brought out the mama bird/bear in me.  I wanted to go rescue and protect.

And God kept reassuring me that He was there.  And He was and is. 

But these words...God is my refuge.

They were repeated later when I sat down with Spurgeon's Faith's Checkbook.  God knows what I need and He is speaking directly to this mom's heart.

December 18

Defended and Covered

As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem. (Isaiah 31:5)

With hurrying wing the mother bird hastens up to the protection of her young. She wastes no time upon the road when coming to supply them with food or guard them from danger. Thus as on eagle's wings will the Lord come for the defense of His chosen; yea, He will ride upon the wings of the wind.

With outspread wing the mother covers her little ones in the nest. She hides them away by interposing her own body. The hen yields her own warmth to her chicks and makes her wings a house, in which they dwell at home. Thus doth Jehovah Himself become the protection of His elect. He Himself is their refuge, their abode, their all.

As birds flying and birds covering (for the word means both), so will the Lord be unto us: and this He will be repeatedly and successfully. We shall be defended and preserved from all evil: the Lord who likens Himself to birds will not be like them in their feebleness, for He is Jehovah of hosts. Let this be our comfort, that almighty love will be swift to succor and sure to cover. The wing of God is more quick and more tender than the wing of a bird, and we will put our trust under its shadow henceforth and forever.

As I reread Spurgeon's words, I see the preparation He was doing in my heart.  Reminding me that He would be my refuge.  He would protect me in the trials to come as a mother hen protects her chicks.  He would always be standing between me and the trial.  He would preserve me, as the last paragraph says.

One of the things that makes me fall more and more in love with God is to look back at something like this unposted post and see how God knew all along and was (in His unfathomable love) preparing me!  

He is so good.  So, so good.

In Him,


The Next Posts and CNY

Hopefully over the next several posts I will be able to back track and explain a bit of what has been taking place since December.  I feel I need to share (in a little more detail than I have up to this point) about what has occurred and how God has been oh so...good.


Well, other than I know many are wondering...1) I want a written record to remind myself.  2) I want to testify to how much Luke is loved.  3) I truly want to give God glory for the valleys.  

And I can only do that if I "open my mouth" and let others know  what has been going on.  

That means that the next several posts may be a little hard for me to get out.   But the Lord has been laying on my heart that I need to back up and share where we've been. 

And what God has been doing.

On a lighter note...

Emma dressed little Lily up in her silk dress and took 
pictures of her in celebration of Chinese New Year.  

Since it is celebrated for 2 weeks in China I 
figure it's okay to show them now!


The only issue is...

Lily wasn't overly thrilled with the idea!

Matter of fact...

She was downright underwhelmed...

ready to be done...


Don't think black and white even helps at all.

Just goes to show that being a model isn't as easy as it seems!

In Him,