Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Five Christmases

This is the ninth year that Kyle and I have celebrated Christmas as a couple. And as a couple we now answer to many family members, especially at Christmas time. For years we celebrated, and I mean the whole deal..presents, family, food, Christmas five times over a few days. Today we celebrate Christmas 4 1/2 times, we have only cut out one of those celebrations and we still do visit that family, it's just not on the official celebration day.

Whenever the topic of Christmas plans would come up and people would find out that we would be traveling to visit all of our families and celebrate Christmas five times, they would look at us like we were perhaps a little nutty or at least push overs. They would always say to us, well when you have kids you'll have to change that and do what's best for your family.

During the crazy busy moments, when we're shopping for a large number of people, wrapping, cooking, and packing to go, I sometimes agree, but those moments are brief and passing. The thing is Kyle and I really enjoy our family, even if it means celebrating Christmas five times.

As I sat on Christmas Eve trying to finish up my wrapping, a woman called into the local Christian radio station for prayer. She asked that we pray for her because this year she and her husband could not afford to travel to visit family. God whispered in my ear in that moment, what a privilege and blessing it was that I not only had so much family that I loved, but I could afford to drive to visit them all.

There are some stresses that come from the travel and the visits, but mostly it is a gift. One that I realize will not always be, one that many, many people long for each year, a room full of people who love you to laugh with and celebrate the birth of our Savior.

It is also a gift to have 360 days before we have to do it again!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Go tell it on the mountain



Jesus Christ is Born!


Merry Christmas from my family to yours.


I hope that whatever this day holds for you, that it is a day to remember how much God loves you. I cannot wrap my mind around a love that would cause the Lord of the universe to come to this earth to find me. Why He would leave a perfect place to live on this earth and suffer and die, I don't fully understand. Out of all the gifts I received today, I am most thankful for the gift of eternal life He gave me.
"But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son; and you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, "GOD WITH US." -The Bible, Matthew 1:20-23

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Watching God work

I have a friend who's blog has been so powerful and meaningful to me this past month that I want to pass it on to you.

Nilam has taken this month to post on a positive thing in her life each day. I'm sure it's much harder than it seems, especially since it has to be a unique thing each day. Ironically she began this journey as she was going through a difficult time in her life and marriage.

It is her story to tell, not mine, so you'll have to read her blog for any of the details she chooses to share. But as I told her, reading her story, has caused me to stop and praise God, it has reminded me that He is active and our prayers are powerful. It has been a blessing to get to watch Him work in her life, to see that if we let Him, he can take our darkest moments and turn them around.

I hope that you'll read it, especially if you're going through a hard time, be hopeful that God can turn things around, and even though you can't see it, there is something better just around the corner.

You can begin reading about her journey in this post.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A funny blog

Oh I just have to pass on a blog post that made me laugh out loud from the Big Mama Blog, here it is enjoy!

PS-It was the part about the vest that cracked me up, really what are people thinking wearing ugly clothes from the 80's again.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Local Salvation Army need

I just got around to picking up my paper and saw on the cover that the local Salvation Army still has 200! children from the Angel tree who have not been adopted, and today is the last day to adopt a child. I just wanted to pass this along to those of you who don't get the Eagle, in case you would like help meet this need or pray for this need.

If you would like to adopt a child(ren) from the Angel tree call 361-0618 or go to Post Oak Mall's food court.

I hope y'all are enjoying the wonderful gift of giving this Christmas season.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

12 days till Christmas



What the hey!

Someone just said it's 12 days till Christmas!

There is still so much to do.

Someday I'd like to have it together enough to get all my things done and save enough time, like a full two weeks, to actually enjoy Christmas.

Doesn't that sound nice. Just sitting still looking at your Christmas tree, drinking hot cocoa, laughing with your family and actually enjoying, reflecting, remembering.

Remembering what this is really all about. That You (God) love us that much. That you would really leave your heavenly home and come live in this world. Would grow up suffer a horrible death on a cross. Pay the penalty for my sins, be buried, and overcome death. Just because you love me.

I hope someday I get it right. That someday, I am overwhelmed this season by just how much God loves me. That I become fully aware that what we're celebrating is the most amazing love story ever told.

I hope you find some stillness this Christmas season, some time to just sit and know that He is God. That He came here only because He loved you. That He came here for you, and today He is still crazy in love with you and going to great lengths to meet with you.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christa]">[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2:8-20


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Now that we've gotcha

Today is a special day for our family, it's Jack's "Gotcha Day". One year ago today, we walked down to our adoption agency (very fast, because we were late!) and were officially handed our son to take home with us.
Looking back on it, I can remember so many details, how excited we were, how nervous, how overwhelmed. There were so many tears shed by all of us on that day, and the days that followed. I was so careful to keep my eyes on Christ during that process, I never let it sink in that what we were doing was stressful or difficult. In retrospect I am amazed at just how
easy it all was, just how peaceful the process, that could have been completely unnerving. Let's just say traveling for over 24 hours with an infant that you just met you is not the easiest thing I've ever done, but the entire time I felt like I was traveling with a very important person and everyone went out of their way to make our life easier. God definitely went before us and prepared a way, I felt held by the prayers of all our friends and family.

I know everyone says this, but I really cannot believe Jack has been home for a whole year. I cannot imagine our family without him. He has made us a stronger family, a family that counts their blessings more often, a family that laughs a lot!

I often look at Jack and am overwhelmed by what adoption has meant to us, that somehow that little boy, who's my son, was born in another country, not of my body. I don't understand it, but I know that it is the best thing in my life.

Jack-I'm so glad that I've gotcha, this is such a happy day for all of us. Our love for you is so big it hurts our hearts and causes our eyes to leak. Now that we've gotcha, will we never let you go.

*The picture was taken last year on December 11th as we waited for our flight to leave in the Seoul, Korea airport, Jack is in the carrier sleeping, so I'm resting too.*

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Father Botros

This interview was so moving, join me in praying for Father Botros and his ministry to share the love of Christ with Muslims around the world.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Toys

Today our church had a "Parent's Day Out", that's right you guessed it, a day when you can drop off your children for five hours and get some Christmas shopping done! It's practically free to boot.

We got a lot of our shopping done, and really enjoyed a break from the kids, I told Kyle that it was the first time since my cruise this summer that I can remember missing them. It's always good to have days when you get to miss your kids.

I wanted to pass on a great toy store that we got most of the kids toys at, Jacque's, on Texas Ave. in Bryan. I know it's not a new store and cetainly most people have heard of it, but have you shopped there? It was so much bigger than I expected, and full of wonderful and mostly educational toys. We were in the store for over an hour and everytime I walked back through the store I saw 10 things I had missed the first time. Their prices were great, you support the local economy by shopping there, and get this...FREE gift wrapping. I'm talking, cuter than you can wrap, gift wrapping (okay maybe equal for you crafty folks, but you get the picture). I highly recommend Jacque's this year to get your kids some really unique and educational or just fun toys.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful

As a stay at home mom, I often am careful not to sit down in the evenings too soon, because I know once I sit down I'll realize just how tired I am and will not be able to get back up. After chasing around a three year old and an one year old all day, I am tired. I am physically, mentally, and emotionally tired. I am behind on a thousand projects and only a small section of my home is ever clean at the same time.

But here's the thing, I am happy. My joy is complete and my cup runneth over. The exhaustion I feel, feels well earned, a job well done. There is a realization, although certainly in the back of my mind, that I am doing my life's work. God has entrusted two of his children into Kyle and I's care, and I get to use my time to raise these children well. My job is hard and it's exhausting and even frustrating, but it is satisfying.

When I have the hard days, the ones where I wonder if I will ever teach Kylynn to obey a rule or if Jack will ever stop throwing all his food on the ground in a fit, I remember that indeed I have never loved my life like I love it now. Being a mom is one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me and I am today and everyday thankful.

I am thankful...

*For Kylynn, for the way she needs to tell me she loves me around 10 times a day.
*For Jack, for the way he says "uh-oh", even if what just happened caused a mess.
*For Kylynn, for the way she loves the Lord, and desires to please Him.
*For Jack, for his smile, his beautiful smile, and contagious laugh.
*For Kylynn, for the colorful outfits she picks out every day, that perfectly match her personality *For Jack, for the way he looks when he's holding his blanket.

*For my sweet husband, if it weren't for him, nothing I've said would be true. He makes my crazy days sane, my good days better, and inspires me to love the kids better, be more paitent, and enjoy them more. I am happy at the end of the day mainly because he is my partner in this amazing call of raising children. After my salvation, he is the greatest gift God has ever given me.

*For my family, for the safety and the laughter I find with them. For the relief I feel when I come into their presence, I can leave any other personas at the door and just be me. A me, that only they fully understand because they know the whole story. To know that there are people in the world who will never stop loving me, it causes me to believe that indeed I can do anything.

*For my spot in this world. To live in this great country, this great state, this great town, our great home. Whenever I am away, I am reminded how blessed I am and cannot wait to return to our home. It is no small thing to have assurance you are exactly where God wants you to be.

*For my God. You are making me more aware of just how much I need you. How I cannot take my next breath without your help. You are making me more aware of just how much you love me, that I can trust you fully, and embrace the good gifts you are giving me. You are teaching me to be willing to abandon all my dreams and follow yours and in that is such freedom. Why you choose to adopt me into your family, to save this sinner, I will never understand, but there is nothing I am more thankful for.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Adoption Song

There is a local Christian artist, Ross King, whose music I love. His latest CD, Perhaps I've said too much, is one of my favorite CDs. Everytime I listen to it I get something else out of it and my favorite song on the CD is constantly changing.

Each time I hear it I am blessed by what I call the adoption song, it's actually called "Home". Ross and his wife have adopted their three children and what he has to say about it is beautiful. If you've adopted, are adopting, may someday adopt, or just love great music you've got to get this CD (or MP3s as you prefer).
You can buy "Perhaps I've said too much" at Ross King Music. You can also google "Perhaps I've said too much" and there are several websites where you can download the songs, including Amazon.

"Not flesh of my flesh, not blood of her blood. You are heart of her heart and soul of my soul. Mother and I we were broken inside, then you came and made us whole"-Ross King

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Good morning to you too!

Kylynn: "Good morning Mommy!" as she climbs up on my bed and lays on me.
Me: "good morning.."
Kylynn: "You smell like poo-poo"
Me: "What? Why would you say that to me?!?"
Kylynn: "Because you do"

I started to say, well I took a shower, but then realized I don't have to justify myself to my three year old, right? I mean surely she just said that because she's three and does things to drive me crazy, right? Right? :)

We remember


So many lives were changed ten years ago, when they woke up on the morning of November 18th, 1999, to the news that Bonfire had fallen and people might have been hurt. That moment is frozen in perfect clarity in my mind, but the week that followed when we learned that in fact twelve Aggies had died and we mourned them is such a blur.

I did not know a single person who died in the Bonfire collapse personally, but I understand a huge part of who they were, because I understand what it means to love Texas A&M.

I'm somewhat surprised that it is still such a painful memory for me. I cannot watch the news footage or read an article about that day, about those twelve, without crying. Maybe it's because all of us who were there that day, who saw those logs, who stood and prayed, who walked around a campus that has never been so quiet again, were forever changed. We went to sleep as kids who thought that nothing bad could ever happen to us and awoke to find that indeed the greatest of tragedies could come without warning and steal away members of our family and with it our innocence.

To the families of the twelve, to the survivors of the accident, to the friends and loved ones, I am praying for you today, for a peace that passes understanding to accompany you today and everyday. The sacrifice that you made on that day ten years ago you should not have had to make, but know that you are supported by the Aggie family, and your children will always be remembered by us.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A favorite

I think my favorite post I've ever written on adoption was almost one year ago on December 5th 2008, we were about to fly out to Korea to go get Jack and I sat down at my computer one afternoon and this is what came out.

"Dear Jack"

I hope that someday I'll be able to express to you the way you were anticipated, prayed for, and celebrated. I hope that in the times you find life to be hard or you perhaps try to think no one loves you, the number of people who called and wrote me crying and praising God for you yesterday will carry you through. I hope that you will be strong enough to be just who you are, your story is unique but I hope you take pride in that. I hope you stand tall that the Lord has such plans for you that He would give you three mothers who love you, two countries to call your own, and to have God worked miracle after miracle in your short 9 months.

Someday I'll understand this miracle of adoption better, right now I'm just walking in obedience and love and anticipation. It is only by faith that I know what I'm doing, practically speaking I have no idea how to raise a son, how to deal with the issues of being an "interracial family", how to help you through the certain hurts of not knowing your birth mother or father. But I promise you to always pray over my decisions for you, to walk in faith, to trust God's plan for your life, to parent you by the only Book that gives me true answers, the Bible, and to say I'm sorry when I mess up.

I've missed you for a long time, I cannot wait to meet you. Your big sister is so excited. Yesterday she gave me a long list of all the things she's going to do for you. Today she said, I'm ready for my baby brother to come home! We all are and this is going to be the best Christmas ever. I love you baby boy and if I'd go to the ends of the earth to get you once, I'll do it again, don't forget that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fear



When people find out that we adopted our son, if they have any connection to adoption, they will share that with me. I always enjoy this, getting to hear that friends of mine were also adopted or that they have friends or family who have adopted from Korea as well, I feel connected to them on another level.

I also hear quite often, "We have a heart for adoption too, but..." or "We really want to adopt a baby, but..." Those "but"s could mostly be summed up as "but we're afraid". They never say that of course but that is what they mean. I feel a connection to these people too, when we were discussing whether to adopt and many times during the process of adopting, I was afraid.

I heard it said once that only 2% of people who ever want to adopt actually do. I'm sure there are several things going on there, but I wager that most of them stop because of one or more fears.

"What if I can't love a child that I didn't give birth to as much as I love my birth children?"
"What if we can't find the money, or in finding the money we have to greatly alter our lifestyle?"
"What if I adopt a child of another race and our family is no longer accepted?"
"What if the child we adopt grows up and is angry that he didn't get to know his birth parents?"
"What if the birth mother changes her mind and the child gets taken away from us?"
"What if the child we adopt ends up have special needs?"
"What if he asks me hard questions and I don't know how to answer them?"
"What if, What if, What if....."

I could give you some reassurance in all the questions above, but if you are going to let fear stop you from adopting then you'll come up more "What ifs". And really the answer to any of those questions is not the point. The point is that being afraid is normal, you are always afraid of big changes like adding a child to your family, regardless of how that comes about. Don't allow fear to stop you from obeying a longing the Lord has placed on your heart. The God we serve is bigger than any "What if" you can come up with.

For me when we began this process, I was afraid, so I checked back with God, is this really what you want us to do. He said yes, then it became a matter of obedience and I was more afraid of not living out God's will in my life than I was of all my "What ifs". It was my experience, that the process of adoption is about so much more than just adding a child to your life. So as you go down the path and God begins to work on you, on your ability to trust, on your understand of who God really is and how great his love actually is, on letting go of your dreams and goals in exchange for His, you will experience pain and you will experience fear. But if you can just cling to God's promises and keep on going, you will be forever changed, made more like Christ, and know a joy that you've never experienced before.

If God asks you to adopt, just do it. Take one step at a time, trusting that He will provide for whatever you need in that moment. He will provide, the trust, the patience, the money, the support system, the resources, the changed hearts. Remember we serve a Big Big God, He's got this under control.

"Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Buy the shoes!

Once again I will send y'all over to Sit a Spell for this great post! This is one about buying shoes (what woman doesn't love that!) and at the same time giving women in Uganda a brand new future. Go on, click here, you've got to have these shoes!

Little Miss piggy



Kylynn has come down with "swine" flu. She's doing fine and we got her on tamiflu less than 24 hours after her first symptoms so she should be healthy again in only two to three days, the doctor said.

Please pray that it doesn't spread around our household.

More adoption posts coming soon, but right now I'm pooped from all the running around to doctors and pharmacists.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Favorite Quote of the week

Kylynn, while pretending to be sick:

"Mommy don't come near me or I'll get you a headache"

Truer words were never spoken, my dear.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A great adoption story

Here's a great story of a local family that ran in The Eagle last month. I have a theory that adopting is addictive, it's such an awesome experience you just can't imagine not doing it again, this family that has adopted 9 kids, would agree I think.

Alan Reese proudly wears the label of family man.

The Bryan man and his wife, Beverly, are raising nine adopted children.

But almost anyone who knows him feels like family, his friends and co-workers said.

Reese is greeted with high-fives and hugs from students he knows by name in the halls at Jane Long Middle School, where he's worked as a janitor for 11 years.

Reese said he and his wife decided to adopt kids when they realized they couldn't have children of their own. Reese's kids range in ages from 4 to 17. The couple first adopted in 2000, and the most recent adoption was finalized last month.

The first four children adopted are biological siblings, as were the last four. The only child adopted without siblings, Angel Reese, was four days old when the couple got her in 2001.

By adopting children who otherwise wouldn't be in stable environments, he's able to offer them something he never had, Reese said.

"Here's the thing with me," he said. "I didn't have a dad. I'm giving something back I didn't get."

The Reeses don't have plans to adopt more children, but that could change, Reese said.

The couple gets assistance from the state in helping to care for the adopted children.

Taylor Reese, the oldest of the nine children, said it was hard to truly appreciate being adopted when she was younger.

"Sometimes you wonder why you get taken away from your parents. But when you get older, you start to understand why," she said. "It was fun getting adopted into a new family and to start a new life."

Beverly Reese said she was not looking for a husband when the two met while working at a nursing home together.

"All the residents loved him, so he caught my attention," she said. "He's so humble. He's honest. He's not pretentious, none of that."

Lindsey Harris, Jane Long principal, said she appreciates the attitude Alan Reese brings to school.

"I adore him as a man and an employee," she said. "He really sends the message he doesn't come here because he has to. He chooses to be here, and that's important for the kids to see."

Former Jane Long student Benjamin Roberts, 21, said he met Alan Reese when he was about 12 years old and still keeps in contact with him.

"I used to talk to him every day at lunch," he said. "He was just really cool and I could talk to him about anything. He always gave good advice."

Students are drawn to Alan Reese because they trust him, said Beverly Davis, technology specialist at Jane Long.

"What I appreciate so much is the relationship he develops with kids," she said. "Students come to him when they don't come to other adults."

Friday, November 6, 2009

First Friday tonight

If you live in town, I wanted to remind you that tonight is First Friday in downtown Bryan. They are going to be showing "Rudy", such a great movie, at dark thirty. If you've never been and want to read more about it you can read my post about it here. You can go to First Friday's official website here.

Hope to see you there!

It's that time of year again



It's November which means a lot of things to me, but these days the first thing that pops into my head is, Adoption Awareness month. I hope to use this month to keep this blog focused on adoption and all that goes along with it, sharing our story, encouraging others who are on the same path, and making others aware of the role that they can play.

I thought it would be nice if we could use this month to focus on praying for orphans in need of a family and the families trying to adopt a child. Please consider taking a few minutes every day or every week during this month to lift up children around the world who are waiting for their mom and dad in the way God leads you.

Here is a guideline of ways you can pray, should you feel so led.

1. God would care for the orphans all over the world, providing for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
2. Every orphan would someday have a family of his very own.
3. God would speak into the hearts of families he would like to adopt waiting children and they would be bold to obey.
4. God would provide the financial assistance to families involved in the adoption process.
5. Processes would be put in place that are easier, quicker, and yet still safe for future adoptions.
6. God would comfort and draw near to Himself those mothers and fathers who are grieving after placing their child with an adoptive family.
7. People involved in adoption (children, birth parents, adoptive parents, agencies) will see God in this miracle and be drawn into a relationship with Him.
8. God would provide the strength and patience needed for those who work in orphanages around the world.
9. Children in orphanages would be cared for well, somebody will pick them up to hold them out of love at least once a day.
10. God would bless waiting parents with peace, patience, and a good support network.

These are taken from my post on Adoption Awareness month last year, and reading over them it is so awesome to remember the ways that God has answered those prayers in our lives. Your prayers are powerful and they accomplish much, it is no small thing to pray, God will use your prayers and answer in mighty ways.

"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father." John 14:13

*I have added a link to this post on the left hand side titled, Pray for Orphans, if you would like to get back to these prayer guidelines throughout the month*

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween in pictures

Friday, trick or treating at Kyle's office.
Kylynn getting her face painted at the Grace Bible's country fair video
Jack loved (I mean LOVED!) the band (at the country fair), here's a video of him dancing, he danced for most of the night.


Kylynn taking all the seeds out, she thought it was great this year.Here's the pumpkin Kyle carved for us, such a great kitty!



Halloween night, Kylynn's a princess.

Jack after his first house trick or treating, he's a sheriff. He will not take that hat off! :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Big prayers

I learned more about prayer than any other topic while adopting Jack. Through God's encouragement and some dear friends, I began to ask God for some very big things while adopting Jack. He kept His promise to me and He answered every one of them. I still put God in a box sometime, I still forget how big He really is, but at my core I was changed through the eighteen months of praying over Jack's adoption.

Strangely, it's kind of a let down, for life to be "normal" again. I know that sounds terrible, but it's weird I feel less connected to God in a way because now my opportunity for seeing Him at work has lessened (although I'm sure it shouldn't have). Adopting Jack was one of my mountain top experiences and it's always hard to come back down off of the mountain.

Then God decided to answer another big prayer in my life this past month. He gave us Korean friends. I know it sounds small, but to me it's huge. I had been praying (and had friends praying) that God would bless us with real Korean friends with children. By real I mean friends that truly loved us and loved that we had adopted Jack into our family. That is hard because, (generally speaking) Korean people are not super excited about Korean children being adopted by white Americans, and who can blame them really. They tend to be a very homogeneous society.

So on our first night of home church, you can understand why I had to excuse myself to the kitchen to compose myself, when in walked a white man, married to a Korean woman with two children. The woman was born and raised in Korea so she knows and understands a country that I really want Jack to know as well. But this family went against cultural norms and got married and had children as a mixed race couple in Korea. God worked it out, they were both Korean and American just like Jack, they had two children an older girl and younger boy just like us, and they love the Lord. Not to mention the fact that they go to our church and walked into our home...pretty easy to befriend I think.

The other night we had a social evening for our home church and since it was earlier Jack was awake and he got to meet the family for the first time. The mom, loved him, in a way that I think everyone does when you're far from your home and you meet someone from home. She picked him up and asked if she could speak Korean to him and call him by his Korean name. I said of course, because alas that was part of my dream. I stood there watching her whisper in his ear a message that was just for him and began to cry. I cannot fully explain to you what it was I felt, in part it was surreal to watch a dream unfold before my eyes, I could not fully believe that it was happening again, God was answering my very specific prayer. In part it was the mix of emotions that go along with international adoption, in hearing Korean again I was transported back to where my life with Jack began and I was overcome.

This family is a blessing in my life, an answer to prayer. I'm not sure how long they will get to live here, but of this I am sure. God will continue to answer my prayers for a Korean family that can be a part of our life. Jack will be raised getting to experience not just what it is like to be an American, but also what it means to be Korean, and that means everything to me.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Two little pumpkins

My cute pumpkins! Here's the kids dressed up for the Fall Play day at school.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Oh PBS how I love you...



Y'all I love PBS. If you took away every channel on my TV (which we pretty much have, now that we just have a digital antennae) and only left me with PBS, I would be happy, so happy.

Every morning we watch an half hour of PBS before breakfast while we all wake up. It is almost always, Sid the Science Kid. I love that show, we do the experiments from it occassionally, so fun! And Kylynn has learned so much from watching it. Just have her tell you all the types of simple machines, she can and she'll tell you what they do (in case you don't know it's a wheel, inclined plane, and a pulley...I think).

Well, this season there is a new show on PBS, The Dinosaur Train. Genius, total genius. I can just picture the creators of the show sitting around okay what is two things that all children love! Dinosaurs and Trains. Bingo, let's make that into a show.

Now here is where the point of the blog comes in. This show is not just about dinosaurs and trains, but also adoption and interracial (or should I say interspecies) families. The show consists of a family of dinosaurs that are all one species except for one of their children which they "adopted" which is another species. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have this show for Jack to look at see a reflection of his own family. It deals with the issues that come up so beautifully, very much stressing that he is their son, they are his family, period.

Regardless of whether or not you've adopted, you will love this show, I guarantee it. But for those of you out there who've adopted, do whatever you have to do to see this show. It will make you so happy to watch it.

Have I mentioned I love PBS?

30

“Thirty was so strange for me. I’ve really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult.” -C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

And...

4) she will take a really short nap, get up and make the rest of the day go on forever!

Note to self

Note to self:

Do not under any circumstance allow Kylynn to stay up late, like 9 o'clock late. Nothing good will come of this. Without fail she will:
1) get up extra early the next morning, the more sleep deprived she is the worse she sleeps.
2) have an extra cranky day that will turn into,
3) a screaming child, so out of control, that it is almost funny if you weren't worried that this might be a sign of some emotional problem or ADHD. This screaming will go on for at least an hour straight while trying to put her down for a nap because, "I'm tired" and "I don't want to go to bed" cannot live in the same brain without lots of crying and screaming.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Camping

We went camping this past weekend. God blessed us with beautiful weather and for that much I am grateful. There are many other things that I am not grateful for, but that is because I am still in progress and complaining is one of my many daily sins.

All in all it was fun, and it makes Kyle so happy, he just thrives on it. Jack loved it and did so great, he gave us no problems. Kylynn, well see above about my struggles with a certain sin.

Here are pictures so you can either daydream of going yourself (you can come with us, we supposedly are to go twice a year), or you can laugh and thank the good Lord that you don't have to do that!









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I will say that this time my list was almost perfected and the food was the best yet and the easiest yet. If you want any tips for what we pack and what we eat I'd be glad to pass it on, just know that we are the exact opposite of a lightweight camper.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It saved dinner



Pandora has saved dinner in our house. In our new house we have space in the kitchen that I can have the computer on and not be in the way of the cooking. So I've begun to listen to Pandora while I cook dinner..

Now I love to cook, in principle. Give me a perfect world, where I have unlimited time, someone to watch my children whenever I want, and groceries delivered to my front door free of charge, and I'll give you a wonderful dinner that will be fun for me to prepare.

Give me my real world and you have someone who goes through ups and downs of wanting to cook something, but hating doing it because of the screaming child, and the missing ingredients to not wanting to cook for a week straight.

But somehow Pandora has made the whole cooking thing fun again, on some level. So when Kyle gets home and he can take care of the kids, I'll turn on Pandora and start cooking..and the world seems almost perfect.

For anyone who's never heard of Pandora, it creates a custom radio station for you based on whatever information you want to give it. My station is a mix of 70s, 80s, and early 90s country music, by mostly women artists, for example Patty Loveless, Loretta Lynn, Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Judds, and Tanya Tucker. It's named, "The bed you made for me" which is a song that I love and wanted to hear music of a similar style. I've tweaked it several times and now it's amazing how much I love the songs it chooses for me.

I can't make any promises, but maybe listening to songs you really love can help dinner time be more fun for you too.

Princess teeth



Kylynn went to the dentist for the first time this morning. I was talking to a friend on the way there who said, you're going to take pictures right? Opps...that didn't occur to me, frankly I was glad to be their relatively on time and that Jack had stopped crying.

I got to go back for the first five minutes but then she was on her own. She did great and still loves the dentist as much as she did before, except for the whole no eating for 30 minutes after the flouride, she was not happy about that one.

She told me that they made her teeth princess teeth, I guess they had her pegged. Maybe it was the pink shirt, pink skirt, and pink knee socks that gave her away.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Letter

We mailed a letter to Jack's foster mom today.

I can't tell you exactly why it took 10 months. It was too hard to do. Our agency had guidelines for us to follow and even a sample letter, take a piece of paper and write one to two paragraphs thanking the woman who helped raise your son and give her an update on how he's doing. It should be short and sweet. I couldn't do it. It was too short, too simple, it was not the letter I would want if I was her. So Kyle did it, he wrote a simple but grateful letter with a good update on Jack, I added the pictures and we put it in the mail.

Here is the letter I would have sent:

Dear Mrs. K,

For the first few months that Jack was home with us, he looked for you. I could see it in his eyes when he approached women at the library that looked similar to you, he was terrified of any stranger, but these ones he walked right up to, close enough to touch, and looked up into their face, searching. I could see it when he would wake up crying in the middle of the night and I would go into him, seeing me would startle him, he was waiting for you, and it would take all I had in me to calm him down. He loved you fully and I know that losing you will be a hidden hurt in his heart for the rest of his life.

We keep your picture in his room. He doesn't notice it or ask about it. But someday he will. Someday I will pick it up and talk to him about you, about how you loved him, and the way that you cared for him so completely in the beginning of his life. I will take out the photo album you gave him and all the presents and he will be grateful as I am, that he has at least those things that are in some small way a part of you. He will be able to find a connection to his past, to his birth country, to you, through those items.

Jack is doing well now. It was a hard first few months for him. So much loss, so much newness, then sickness, and surgery, and pain. But now he is good, not just hopefully, but really. He is healthy, I know that will calm your worries. He is funny, so funny, and loves to laugh. He is a little ham putting on singing and dancing shows for us. So often when he giggles and when he sings I think of you, of how you taught him to love to laugh and to love to sing. Of how you told me that first day that these were things he loved to do.

Thank you, is not a good word. It is a word I use when the store clerk hands me my bag, yet in English there is only one word for thank you. I hope that there is a better word for it in Korean, that when this letter is translated they use a word that contains what it is that I feel, a feeling of being overwhelmed by the gift you gave us.

With love,
Jack's third mommy

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Almost Famous

Tonight was the first time that someone came up to me and said they knew who I was because they had read my blog. It was so wonderful, wow, somebody (who doesn't know me) reads my blog!

As we talked it turned out that they not only went to my church but I had also played bunko with the woman last month....
So I'm not famous, not even in a small town way...but almost.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

First Friday



Last night was the first Friday of the month, so we headed down to downtown Bryan for "First Fridays". This was the first time that all four of us had gone together.

Families, listen up. You cannot beat this kind of family fun. FREE family fun. Just when I think I couldn't love living here more, I discover another thing that makes me wonder why I would ever want to live anywhere else.

We rode our bikes last night (it was Live Green night!), and I think generally that's how we'll get there because we're close enough to do that. But once you're there, all the shops and restaurants stay open late. Even if you make it to downtown from time to time like we do, you will be amazed at all the new shops and restaurants, just awesome places. Their is often some type of theme or give away going on (more free stuff!!). Last night they also had a free craft that anyone could do (and yes if I could do it that means anyone), we painted Chinese lanterns, so fun! There is always live music, which Kylynn loves to dance to, she actually stopped traffic last night :).

Then here's the best part, they have a free movie playing in the Palace Theatre (that's an outdoor theater). Last night it was Happy Feet, but the time Kyle and Kylynn went it was Mary Poppins, it's always a family movie.

If you haven't checked out First Friday, you have to go. If you have kids and you've been thinking you need to find a time when you can get a babysitter before you go, don't!, it's really an awesome family outing.

Can you tell I had fun. And this cool weather is energizing me...a real Fall...I feel like I've died and gone to heaven.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Are you watching?



If you are not watching, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, on PBS, you are missing the most enjoyable show on TV. It's just on this week, through Friday, but if you've missed some you can watch them online at pbs.org.

I will never understand how anyone can look at the beauty of these parks and not believe that there is a God who created it all. It takes my breath away. I cannot wait until I can go and see them all in person someday. I've only ever seen the Grand Canyon, and it was one of the best weeks of my life, completely relaxing, full of worship for the God who created it all.

Really, I'm not kidding, turn it on. It's only in the evenings at 7 and then again at 9 (central), you will not be sorry. It's made by Ken Burns, who if you don't know is a genius and his documentaries are wonderful.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Verizon made me cry

So I didn't want to continue to bore you with the details, but we have yet to have more than 24 hours with reliable internet. It continues to have problems, including not working at all. Then the other day I opened my mail to find a bill for our "service" beginning August 10th. I know I will not be paying that and that I can get it taken care of, but after daily talks with Verizon, 5 days spent at my house waiting for the technician, and an internet that is as we speak not working (I'm at Chick Fil A), I was hurt to get that bill. So being a woman, what did I do, I cried and told Kyle I cannot handle this anymore, you have to get this bill taken care of. It's just too much I feel wronged, like a good friend lied to me, when in truth it's a big company continuing to meet my expectations, what can I say, I'm tired of it all.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Adopting? Show off a little...

If you are in the process of adopting you have got to check out this cute online boutique: Adoption Mama.

They have a shirt that says, "Yes I'm still adopting. No I haven't heard anything yet. But each day brings me closer to my child." Man, I wish I would have had that shirt back when we were waiting for Jack, maybe next time.

They also have pregnant on paper and pregnant with love shirts.

Oh, and they are all super cute, not boring t-shirts but nice shirts. I just bought an "Adoption Mama" one and can't wait to wear it around town.

Passion


It's funny the things your children love. Some of them you know clearly, that's from me, she has it in her blood. But others leave you marveled at the way that a little girl that you gave birth to and that you spend almost every waking second with, could have her own real passion.

For Kylynn it's ballet. About a year ago she saw a ballerina and it was love at first sight. Ever since then it's been her greatest desire to take ballet. Due to our crazy summer I never managed to get my act together and get her in a class, but when we moved it that all made sense to me. God had something different in mind, he blessed us with some wonderful neighbors who love the Lord and offer free (yes, you read correctly) free ballet classes.

She had her first class on Monday. She went in and sat on the edge of the couch as instructed waiting for class to start. She sat perfectly still with her legs crossed looking to be an adult trapped in a three year old's body. Then she proceeded to do everything the teacher taught her, her world now consisting of only the people in that room, I was a distant memory.

I was proud of her, raising a three year old who acts thirteen is hard. But it's moments like these that make me realize that I love that about her, I love her strong independent self, because after all she does get that from me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rainy days



We had a rainy weekend here, but it was one of those wonderful ones, where you are left feeling just as rejuvanated as your yard is. We played a little in the rain, then took baths and stayed in the rest of the morning and luckily I had run to the video store on Friday, so we had a fun family movie to watch.

That afternoon when the rain had turned to drizzle we took the kids out on a nature hike. We found some bugs to put in our bug jar and really neat snails. We found lots of leaves and plants to look at, and I even found some basil that I could pick for the capriese salad I was making for dinner (I miss my garden). Kylynn wore her rain boots and waded through giant puddles, Jack who is obsessed with water refused to not participate, so he swam in puddles! :)

I know for a lot of Texans it's the summer that makes them wonder why it is that they live here. But for me, it's the fall. There is nothing as sad to me as the way summer just sticks around here until winter is ready for his turn. But, this year has been the best transition to fall that I can remember since my first year here. It actually feels like we've changed seasons with all the rain, the cloudy days, and the much lower temperatures. I hope you're taking the time to enjoy it as well.


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Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Day of School


Today was both of the kiddos first day of school, or that's what we call it. Kylynn started pre-school (she was sick the real first day) and Jack began Mother's Day Out. So every Thursday, I'll have a few hours to start going through the piles and long lists that have accumulated around my house! :)

Does anyone know how to teach her to smile with her eyes open :)This outfit has finally gotten too small for Jack, whoop!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Loving your brother

I've been struggling lately with something. I felt the Lord speak to my heart a few weeks back that I needed to be setting my alarm and getting up before the kids in order to have time to spend with Him. This was not a call to legalism, rather a Father who desperately wants to spend time with me and He knew that in the morning was the only time (for me) that it would happen. But I've been failing, miserably. There's always something, a sick child, an errand I run at night, wanting to get things done around the house, that makes me disregard the specific longing He placed in my heart. I've been managing to get up before the kids once a week at most.

So today this was heavy on my heart as I went to Jack's check up. Then his doctor came in, he had a student in tow as usual. And he proceeded to tell the student about our story of adding Jack to our family. He looked at me and said, "You know I really admire your faith, talk about putting faith in action. If only more people would do that think of the difference it would make." I told him that I wish I would put my faith in action in many other ways that I fail at all the time and that I guess we all have our strengths. We went on to talk about Jack and how pleased he is with how he's doing. He hugged me goodbye, telling me how happy he is to know our family.

I left that office with my spirits lifted, my outlook altered. Our adopting Jack doesn't somehow undo any other sins of disobedience in my life, but God used the doctor to remind me that I am not someone without the ability to walk by faith, I am not a failure, just someone in process.

What a difference we would make if all believers would put their faith into action the way the doctor does, speaking of his love of Christ, his beliefs openly to his students, his paitents. Not being afraid to praise and lift up our brothers and sisters in Christ. I think this would be a different world if we really loved our brother as ourselves, took the time to pay attention to them, and find ways we can love them in what it is they're going through right at that moment.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I couldn't have said it better myself

For my thoughts on the debate over President Obama speaking to the schools of America, I will direct you to Sit a Spell because I couldn't have said it better myself.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Like father like son

One things about Kyle that was a surprise to me was his ability to fix, build, or create anything. If I can dream it up he can do it (he would say I'm exaggerating, but this is my blog and that's how I see it! :)

So Jack gets to see daddy fix things a lot, especially in the new house, the other day he found Kyle's tool box and decided to do some fixing of his own.


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You at 18 months


Jack,

You are 18 months old right now. Young enough to love me fully and perfectly, young enough to want your mommy to hold you and snuggle you several times a day. You still have no problem with me doing things for you, you let me hold your cup at night while you drink your pediasure milk, it has yet to occur to you to say, "I do it!".

And yet there are several things that you can do all by yourself and the cute way you go about it always makes me smile. You can climb a stool, brush your teeth, follow simple instructions, eat with a fork or spoon, and throw, boy can you throw things!

You are a giggle addict. You love to laugh, but you love even more to make others laugh. You are my little comedian. Your current act includes peek-a-boo, rolling your eyes back into your head, and making a funny face, simple yes, but very affective at getting a good laugh.

You have decided that the puppy is yours. You chase her around all day and because you are so light she actually lets you lay on her, much to my amazement. You now like to point to her and make your idea of a barking noise, and sometimes you point to her and moo...close but not quite.

You are going to get to go to "school" this year for one day a week, and I'm not sure exactly what I'll do with myself, I'll miss you so. But I know it's important for me to share you with others, there are people out there who could use one of your hugs or a good laugh.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Eyes

We traveled to Temple yesterday for Jack to see a pediatric Ophthalmologist, and the trip went really well and there was only good news. Although Jack does have a slight appearance of having crossed eyes (there's a fancy medical term), he doesn't actually have crossed eyes. They also used a machine to see if he needed glasses (for the life of me I can't imagine how that works) and his eye sight is pretty good, although he may need glasses to see the board when he starts school, which the doctor said is very common for Asian people-I never knew that.

While we were driving home I looked at Kyle and said, God really did answer my bigger than life prayer when we learned Jack was our son, that he would heal any medical problems that he may have. We went from thinking that there was potential for several health problems to a perfectly healthy little boy, I stand amazed.

We'll go back in a few months for them to make sure that they still don't see any evidence of crossed eyes.

Monday, August 31, 2009

40 days and nights

Well after 40 days, it appears that I am back online...maybe. After they left my special representative that has been assigned to my case, called and said they didn't fix everything they were supposed to so she's sending them back this afternoon (between 1 and 5 pm :) and when they get here I am to have them call her so it can really be fixed.

But at the moment I am sitting in my house and I am online, so at least for this moment I have the internet again, and what a sweet moment it is!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dancing, Singing fool

When we met Jack for the first time his foster mommy told us that he loved to sing. Well those first few months I heard him sing maybe a handful of times, perhaps the three month long ear infection, the triple surgery, the new home and family, had something to do with that. Because now Jack is a dancing, singing fool. He loves music so much and he can really boogie down! Here's a little video I managed to get.


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Foreverforever



The court hearing to finalize Jack's adoption went great, it was just ceremonious and it took longer to take pictures with the judge then it did to have the hearing. During the hearing we raised our right hands and swore several things including that we would be Jack's parents and he would be our son, in perpetuum. Later Kyle said to me that he liked that the lawyer used that word, I of course had no idea what it meant, and he told me it means foreverforever. Ahh...yeah I like that word too. Jackie you will be mine and I will be yours foreverforever...and ever..and ever :).

It was such a nice little trip to San Antonio and we are continually blessed to be loved by the family we have. We had 6 family members come out to court with us, and that meant there were three generations of Kyle's family there, in addition to aunts and my parents. It was a happy day. Here are some pictures for you.Kylynn and her Nana cooking together, see those super cute aprons Charissa made them!!

Jack eating ice cream, one of his major food groups.

We had to wait a while for a judge to be ready. Jack had a blast running up and down the hall (mopping it with his blanket as he went) and playing in the water fountain!
Being sworn in. Jack was not happy to have to be held for this part.
Verifying that Jack's new name is spelled correctly. It will be Jack and his middle name will be the name his birth mother gave him and our last name, of course :)
The judge signing the decree to finalize the adoption and legally change Jack's name.
The whole gang. From left, Laura (aunt), Linda (grandma), Mike (grandpa), me (mommy), Jack (Jack), Susan (nana), Dorothy (great grandmother), Kyle (daddy), Kylynn (big sister)



One month and counting

There was a time a few years back, when one could have gone without internet access for a month and gotten by relatively well, but now that is not the case, for most anyone. One month and counting since I made the innocent phone call to Verizon and asked, "Hey can I pay you some money to continue getting the internet."

And still no internet. And since then I have learned that even though I rarely turn on my TV, I don't own an iphone, I have no idea what it means to "facebook" somebody, I am very much fully on board with the internet.

I pay all my bills there, I manage my coupons, my photos, and most of my shopping there. I keep in touch with my friends, and most importantly I update anyone willing to listen on this blog. So please stick with me, I'm sure that it will be resolved soon, it has to be right...? And until then enjoy multiple blog entrys posted all at once whenever I can.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Official

Soon it will be official. Jack will be ours, his name will be Jack and we will celebrate again.

Really I celebrate every day. I keep waiting for the amazement to wear off, for me not to look at him and think him the most beautiful boy I've ever laid eyes on. For me not to watch him walk across the room and feel pure joy.

I told a friend of mine that raising a child that joined our family through adoption is different in only one way from raising the child that I gave birth to. With Jack, I take nothing for granted. Everyday with him is a gift I might not have had. Everyday a reminder of God's goodness. When I watch him eat normal table food (which he does now) and see him thriving in every way imaginable, it is my proof of God's love, of the power of prayer.

I am sure with time it will all become more mundane, but I don't think I will ever look up at Jack and not feel gratitude.

So you can be sure on Monday once "it's official" we will be celebrating. But for me it will be the usual, Jack makes me want to celebrate life, to celebrate him, to celebrate adoption.

*I will soon post pictures, once I'm at home using the internet again, hopefully that will be soon*

Silly Me

One would think that ordering DSL from a company that makes a living offering customers DSL, would be a good idea, no?

I called around July 24th, to say we were moving and I wanted our DSL service moved and our phone turned off on July 31st. You would not believe the ordeal that followed, something about not being able to turn off my phone till my DSL transferred and not being able to get DSL until the middle of August. I made nice became several employees new best friends (we talked on the phone several times) and got it all worked out, at least the canceling the phone part.

They told me originally I would have service on August 12th, then one of my many friends got it expedited for me (because she said there's no reason it should take so long to get it up and running at your new house, my thoughts exactly) to August 10th (WOW!). Then on the 10th I got the animated phone call announcing that indeed my DSL service was up and running and I would be billed from this point forward.

No such luck, it is not working, Kyle confirmed with the technician tonight and will not be until August 14th now...who wants to bet I still get billed starting August 10th.

So I am sitting in Kroger with my laptop that has zero battery life plugged into a soda fountain plug, in order to make sure that I am not missing out on any important events and to let you all know, I have not let the blog die, I just made the terrible mistake of thinking that getting DSL service at my new house would be simple for a DSL company, silly me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Dark Ages

I'm living in the dark ages. We have no TV and no internet. Thankfully I kind of long for that simplicity so I'm handling it well, not to mention I have a few other things I should be doing...unpacking, cleaning, oh and raising two kids!

We have successfully moved into our new home, we are all really happy and really enjoying it. I expected to kind of have a mini break down about leaving our old house, but instead I found that my sadness was quickly taken away by my excitement at the new house.

I am off at the Bryan library using the computer and who knew, they give you a time limit. So this will be short and unfortunately picture free. But in another week or so we'll have internet back at home again so I'll be better about posting.

By the way we don't have TV because we decided to completely cancel our cable (for the past 5 years we've had the most basic cable) and give the digital antennae a try, so check back if you want to know how that works out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Packed up and ready to go!

We are pretty much packed up around here. Although I am really sad at leaving this house, the month of being surrounded by boxes has made me ready to get it all over with.

I've begun the cleaning and remember why it is that I never really "clean" showers. I am convinced that I experienced the same effects from the cleaner as one does when huffing it, my nose is about to start bleeding.

We move Thursday morning and my parents are kind enough to take care of the kids for us for the weekend so we can get settled, thank God for grandparents!

We'll keep you posted on all the going ons.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Stop the music

I realized the other day that every time you open my blog that slide show of pictures automatically starts playing, which means you automatically hear the song I put with the pictures. I go to my blog often, to write, and also it is how I get to all the blogs I read, that song quickly became annoying!

So I asked Kyle, the closest thing I have to a computer expert, compared to me most people are. He said that it will keep doing that until I write enough blogs that it is no longer on the "front page".

So I am going to do my best to write something, anything, so that you won't be annoyed by my blog anymore, until then you can always mute it, I know I will.