Family picture

Family picture

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A special Christmas box

Something beautiful happened Christmas morning at our home. We opened our front door to see a large box sitting on the porch. When we looked inside, we saw that it was filled with Christmas gifts for all of us, even our oldest son!... Wow! We are so incredibly touched by this loving gesture. We don't know who to thank since there was no name inside of who sent those wonderful gifts, but we want you to know (if you are a bloggy friend and gave us this beautiful surprise) how very happy and joyful you helped make our Christmas day. What a kind and generous thing you have done for our family.

We took pictures of our family with those goodies so you could see for yourself how your loving gift has touched us. Thank you whoever you are! You were the hands and feet of Jesus yesterday, and our family will always remember the special Christmas morning we opened our door to see Christ's love wrapped up in a box and delivered to our front door.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry, Merry Christmas from our home to yours . . .

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus

King Herod

A shepherd and his little sheep (Snoopy) worshipping
baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The decorating of the gingerbread cookies with the grandmas

First, we visited a lovely couple, Bob and Pat, a few
days ago.  They are so sweet and just dote on our littles.

This is the third "decorating of the gingerbread"
with the grandmas.  It was such a nice evening.

Sophia gives a big smile for her daddy

Philip is deep in concentration

Elijah iced the cookies with gusto!

We are so blessed to have our moms live close by.  Grandmas are special, and our children's grandmas are extra special!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Agape Family Life House - Lanfang, China

Children in China need you!

International Voice of the Orphan (IVO) is currently hoping to raise $2,361 toward helping to build wheelchair ramps for Agape Family Life House in Langfang, China.  The children who live there mostly have a disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Brittle Bone Disease).  The old ramps were extremely dangerous for them and very difficult to maneuver up and down in a wheelchair. 

Our church team visited this amazing foster village earlier in the summer.  We all immediately fell in love with the children and the people who serve there.  It is a beautiful place. 

Won't you help make Christmas a little brighter for these fragile children?  If you are interested in helping out, you can go to IVO's website by clicking here

Friday, December 7, 2012

Below is a picture of our littlest son.

His preschool class was singing Christmas songs
at a local retirment home.

Our Elijah was supposed to be sitting
"crisscross applesauce"
at the moment.

See for yourself!

Hmmm . . . busted!

But looking "oh so cute!"

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Beauty from ashes

Three years ago yesterday, my much loved dad went into a hospice on my birthday (November 30th) and passed away the next day.  Quite frankly, my family and I thought we could never be happy again on those two days. 

But three years later, God has brought beauty from ashes, and the last two days have been filled to the brim with such joy!  I think Dad would be pleased that we can again see joy and beauty in this world, especially the day he left it for Heaven.

Yesterday my dear friend Cathi (whom we met in China while bringing home Philip and who lives just on the other side of town) and her two daughters, both Chinese treasures, spent the day with us preparing a Thanksgiving feast for the dads later in the day.

It was so much fun!  Our children worked very hard to make the dinner. 

There was bread making . . .

And butter shaking . . .

Cup cake decorating . . .

And eating, of course!

Tonight I celebrated my birthday with my husband, children, and mom.  We went out for pizza, and then we decorated our Christmas tree! 

Putting the tree together.  That tree is 24 years old. 
I am just a tad older (by about 30 years!)

Pausing for dessert that Ted made.

It was delicious!  Thanks Ted!

The first ornament is up.

A tired princess

Philip looks like a Christmas decoration.  He had lost interest in decorating the tree
and was busy completing a word search.  Too funny.

A quiet moment with biggest and littlest brother

The stockings all hung on the bookcase with care

An open door bidding you to enter in and celebrate Jesus' birth

Let the Christmas season begin.  What a beautiful couple of days.

Beauty from ashes indeed!

Friday, November 23, 2012

We are thankful for . . .

A God who loves us more than we can fathom . . .

Family and friends we hold dear (those near and far)

The marriage vows we cherish . . .

Our precious, amazing children . . .

The selfless people around the world who take care of the orphan and oppresssed . . .

Jocelyn and her family in Japan

Linny and her family's organization - International Voice of the Orphan

Medical personnel in China willing to lend a hand

Tim and Pam Baker from Shepherd's Field

(Just a few of the many wonderful and giving people being the hands and feet of Jesus around the world)

And a country where we still have so much personal freedom.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Thanksgiving lesson

Our homeschool co-op is so much fun!  Our littles have classes and field trips with others in the co-op frequently, and yesterday we had our Thanksgiving day together.

Tara presenting the Mayflower voyage

Concentration - so cute

Beautiful daughter

Sweet smile

Ready to begin

Busy little hands

Showing their work to us. 
Notice the yummy treats - brownie Mayflowers!

Happy children proud of their work

The finished projects -  Pilgrim houses with steep roofs, Mayflower ships with play figures,
bean bag toss Mayflower ships, and turtles that symbolize the rebirth through Christ

Throughout our time in homeschooling, Kevin and I have become homeschooling's biggest fans.  At first, being public school teachers, we could.not.even.imagine putting our kids in homeschooling (what with all of the stereotyping we knew about), but now, after seeing how wonderful it is, we simply can not imagine putting our children back in a formal school setting.

Homeschooling is the best of both worlds as we see it.  We can give our children one-on-one attention to help them learn to be the best they can be academically while still providing that all important socialization piece.  We have a 4-H group, frequent homeschooling events, church activities, sports, and friends and family regularly in our school year and daily lives. 

In addition and perhaps more importantly, we still have time to form that family bond they all three missed out on so early in life.  Our children are very close to each other.  They have normal squabbles from time to time, but they really enjoy playing together, helping each other, and looking out for one another.  It is touching to see.

Thanking God that we still live in a country where homeschooling is legal.  Yes, it is against the law in some countries, and to be quite honest, when this movement began back about 30 years or so ago, many homeschooling families did have to worry about our government dictating what they could and could not do.  So we are ever cautious about our right to homeschooling being lost.  It is so important for hs families to keep up on the latest legislation in our states' and nation's courts.  We really, really don't want to lose the right to educate our children as we see fit.

Today we are thankful for a house full of little children to teach, guide, and direct and very humbled that our God would trust us to do so!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Almost two less orphans!

When our group served at our Philip's foster village in China last June, one child in particular touched our hearts (as they all did).  But this one young man, Jospeh, will be turning 14 next spring.  If he had not found a family by then, he would never be able to be adopted.

Joseph was keenly aware that his time was running out.  He prayed often for a family of his own.  He watched with despair as his good friends, one by one, left the village to be adopted into loving families of their own.

In fact, after one such friend found out that he too would be leaving to join his forever family last summer, Joseph told one of the interns, a special young lady named Melissa, that he was losing hope of ever finding his own family.

Joseph eating lunch at the foster village


All who knew Joseph personally or who had followed Melissa's blog advocating for prayers to find him a family were broken hearted for this young man.  Oh, how the prayers went up to Heaven for Joseph.

But God . . .

He was already working behind the scenes to bring this amazing child into a loving, Christ-following family of his very own. 

Kai Joseph now knows that he indeed does have a family! 
See his sweet, sweet smile.  It melts my heart.  I know it
melts his family's hearts!

And now . . .

That special family leaves in just six days !!!

Six days until they can fly across the world to unite with not one, but two precious sons from China.  They were already in the process to adopt on dear son, Eli, when God directed them to adopt Joseph as well!

Eli is coming home, too!
Just a little bit of time now, and there will be two less orphans! 

Everyone is so, so, so excited to see these two boys join their rightful place in a family of their own.  You can click here to follow their journey home.  Could you pray for this family and their two new sons as they begin their adoption journey?  There may be lots of transition and adjustment issues as they form the bond that will last forever, and they will need prayers lifted on their behalf. 

Can hardly wait to see pictures of those two in the arms of their very own mama and baba!