Saturday, December 27, 2008

A slice of our Christmas day...with "the girls"

12.27.08: This little video shows our girls (dogs) on Christmas day with their Stockings and their gifts. They're so sweet. When the tree goes up, and gifts are under it--they sniff around, cause they know there is a gift for them. But they don't touch it until Christmas day. I usually don't put their toys in their stocking until Christmas night, because I didn't want to tease them with them. But this year, I thought, why not..so when Dan brought home their new toys, I gathered them together to put them in the stockings..the girls went wild and thought they were going to get them right away. But as soon as I put them in their stockings they stopped whining and were totally fine. Until Christmas Morning..when Dan told them Santa had come. This video is of that time--we share with them every morning. They are such a joy. Enjoy...we do EVERY Year, we feel so very blessed.

Dreams Really Do Come True....

12.27.08:o I know so many have prayed for us--your prayers are being heard. And we are moving through our journey, in the perfect way--and it truly feels perfect. Where do I begin. Thankfully, we have video to document this amazing blessed holiday for our family. But, it's too personal and emotional to share here. But, I do want to share it from my heart to Izabella.

What a whirlwind Christmas this has been. Christmas Eve Day, as you know we applied for the Waiting Children Program the first of many blessings and then Christmas Eve, Dan got home later than expected (darn snow), so our nice home cooked dinner plan was scratched and we just got ready and rushed off to the 6pm Christmas Eve Candle Light Ceremony at HOPE.

Christmas Eve Service that moves me to tears--OK--every service moves me to tears...so this one was no different. It was especially moving--as the message was, "what a shame if we end our Christmas message in the manger with Jesus as a baby". His life was an amazing story of miracles and so they took us through the tombs, the Jewish temple, and even to the prisons of "Hanoi Hilton" (we have a parishioner at our church that was held captive and tortured for 7 years at the Hanoi Hilton) he told the story about how his faith and the fellowship with fellow prisoners, singing songs and praying together gave him the strength he needed to keep going. He even told how his captors relaxed their treatment of the prisoners during the Christmas holiday. It was extremely moving...and then ended at the foot of this amazing 30 ft Cross in our church! Tears just streamed down my face with the joy of knowing what an amazing gift He was to us--amazing. They sang one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Mary did you know..." Do you know that one--it's precious. They also sang a new song--I never heard before that talked about "hold on, he is coming" How poignant was that? They also fed my creative soul--by inviting a parishioner that is an artist. He paints with his fingers. And did a painting that evolved during the service. It he started with a simple black cross on a white canvas. The next time I looked--it was the face of Jesus! Oh my--it was moving. So...it was a beautiful service...I love our church. It so fills my soul. It reminds me of the church I miss so much, that I attended 3 times a week when I lived in California--called Maranatha Chapel, and we don't go regular enough. We need to work on that this next year.


Lisa's Dream Un-folds in the most perfect way--
Our plan was to go to GI (about a 4 hour drive), like we always do, Christmas Day afternoon, for dinner with Dan's family at 4pm. I love this tradition--cause it is like living out the song "Over the river and through the woods to Grandmothers house we go"....it's a great way to spend our afternoon. We had one of the most beautiful Christmas day's...truly. We finished our tree gifts, called my mom while we opened our gifts from her--and when we hung up--I said, "Dan we forgot about our stockings." So, Dan put my stocking in front of me. After pulling out "two tubs of Body Butter-on my list" and "little white socks" also on my list, at the the bottom, in the toe of the stocking, was an itty-bitty, beautiful little blue box with a white ribbon. I had already gotten my "sparkly" so I was shocked to find another small box. I carefully opened it--and it was a beautiful Anglo box. When I opened it--it was a beautiful gold heart--with "IZABELLA" engraved on it. I was bawling, un-controllably-I couldn't speak. Tears streaming down my face, my heart was going 80 miles an hour, and my head was reeling. Then Dan says, what is it? (he was video taping this whole thing), so I told him what I saw. He said, "It's a birthstone heart!" I said with a puzzled look, "it is?", as I strain to see the stone, that I can't see it very well, as my eyes are so full with tears of joy. Then the meaning of this beautiful, so deeply thoughtful gift sinks in. Again, I can barely speak. And Dan says, "we can put her birthstone in there when we know what her birthday is"....my heart was in a puddle on the floor. Each year my husband buys me what we affectionately call a "sparkly". I'm not a big jewelry person, but I love wearing special jewelry he buys for me. It was his first gift to me when we were dating (a valentine heart necklace) and he melted my heart that day too--telling me "I had his heart forever". That moment was a memorable one for me, and one that endeared me to him even more--if that was possible.

So, when I put my list together--it was long before the agency merger, and I was feeling like maybe I'd never be a mom. So, my top of my list item, was that my "sparkly" this year would be a reminder that "I WILL BE A MOM SOMEDAY." So, this gift--oh my--I can't tell you how deeply moved I was. I don't ever remember feeling this way--maybe the day Dan asked me to marry him. But even this surpasses that day--which I never thought would be possible. I looked at him and said, "oh my gosh, how sweet is that...so, I guess dreams do really come true huh honey." Then, I just sat there and let the moment pour over me. It makes me cry to even write about it and I can't watch the video, it moves me to tears. I can wear it around my neck, near to my heart, it's a visual symbol that no matter how tough it gets, no matter what turns this journey takes, I will be a MOM, that there is a little girll, that's growing in my heart and has for over 35 years, her name is Izabella Danielle, we have not met her yet, but she lives half way around the world in the ancient country called China and we will meet her soon, in God's perfect timing. It's sooooo amazing. And the missing birthstone--is so perfect--as it is the place in my heart waiting for her to fill. It's beyond perfect.

Truly the best Christmas Ever! And only one to be surpassed by our first Christmas with her here with us. So, this Best Christmas Ever,very well could be our last Christmas as a couple without children, as one of my sweet friends so perfectly pointed out to me on Christmas afternoon. And if you had asked me that even a few weeks ago--I would never have dreamed that even a possibility.

We still have lots of decisions to make, lots of things to do, before she will be with us. But, this all gives me renewed strength and inspiration to continue on this journey of a lifetime.

God is good, God is soooo very Good.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Live Life Today...in all it's glory...don't wait another second....

12.24.08:

First, I want to share some sage advice from my friend Chris--she said, "Just live life today, in all it's glory, it is what life is all about..just do it and soak it all up! It will all be fine, better than fine." Thank you Chris...for your friendship and your wisdom.

I woke up this morning--made "yummy stickie buns" for Dan's work party, and settled in for my morning ritual coffee and catching up on blogs and emails. I was crusing through the tabs opened--and when I hit the one of which is the AWAA Waiting Children Application, my heart went a flutter and I got butterflys in my stomach. Mind you--I've had this tab/page open on my browser for weeks now--and visit it daily, researching the medical conditions and trying to decide what to do. So, this feeling was so strong, yup today is the day, that we complete this application and move forward. We had completed most of the questions, it was a matter of "when" we'd hit the submit button. So, we completed our application for the Waiting Children Program at AWAA today--Christmas eve day...It's in God's Hands once again and I am so happy for that. Well, it's always in His hands, but I mean, that we have done what He has layed on our hearts to do. And now, I have a lump in my throat and a joyful tear in my eye and a warm heart, in anticipation of what is in-store for us next on this very magical carpet ride--what a blessing this journey has been.

Merry Christmas Izabella. :) I pray someone is holding you, caring for you and protecting your health and well being. That you would know tonight--in your heart that a child was born in a distant land that we could come to call our Savior, the Son of God, Jesus Christ (that you would know his story--and that He too was adopted by his Earthly Father Joesph, just like you) and most of all that He is with you--and that you can be at peace in knowing that. And that He will guide you to the perfect place that He has prepared for you. That He will lay upon your heart that He did not create you to be abandoned, but that He has prepared a place for you as a result. And that you will know that place in His perfect time. That until then, He gives you great patience, strength and courage to hang in there. My precious one, I believe your soul knows many things we can not imagine--that you instinctively know that all will be ok--and that peace my little one is called the loving spirit of our God. God Bless you this Blessed night and every night until we meet. Love, Mom

Another Blessing....

12.24.08: I contacted our insurance company today to ask about medical coverage for our little Izabella and I just got the reply. My concern was it would be considered a pre-exisiting condition...but here is the reply...it's like music to my ears.

"THANK YOU FOR YOUR INQUIRY. PER YOUR BENEFITS PRE EXISTING EXCLUSION PERIODS DO NOT APPLY SO IT SHOULD NOT EFFECT OR LIMIT THE DEPENDENT'S COVERAGE AT ALL."

So, one more un-answered question answered in God's perfect way! Hee, Hee...:) God is so good!

Lisa

Monday, December 22, 2008

Making a Difference in the lives of people...

12.23.08: I am reminded tonight--after a very deep discussion with my husband--of the days when I was alone. Hoping to find someone to spend the rest of my life with, someone to build a family with. There were many, many times that I wondered if it would ever happen for me. I could always visualize things in my life--but there were times I used to think and confide with mom-that I couldn't see it happening, it scared me. So, I decided there and then, that I had to decide to do something else with my life incase that never did happen. I feared I would walk this precious life I had been given, and when it was the end of my walk, that there would be nothing left to say I had done with my walk. So, I decided, if there was one thing I'd like to leave behind, it would be to make a difference in peoples lives. Not any one organization, or in a formal way, just in my every day. Funny thing is, it is me that others made a difference in. Families from Vermont to NYC to North Carolina to Arkansas to California and Iowa, opened their homes and their lives to me on holidays, and on just an ordinary evening after work for dinner. I have spent more holidays with other families than with my own. But, I never felt very far from home. If I could I'd find a way to shout from the top of the tallest mountains and hope they'd all, each and everyone of them, how cherished they all are to me....but truly, even if I could, I don't know if there are words. So, after I met my sweet Danny, I realized I was really home, and I was safe, and that now, with all the beautiful lessons and love of those many, many friends and families, I could make a family of my own...and hopefully invite someone to my home..someone that needed a place to be loved and not alone. I think that time has come. And it trully is the biggest, and most amazing thing I will ever do in my life. I can't wait to get started. Every day that goes by, every step, I can visualize her in our lives. My head is whirling with all the things we'll do together, and share together. Thank-you God, you always knew my heart, and you have been preparing me for this moment all my life.

Whew--that was a dump from the deepest part of my heart...so it probably didn't make a lot of sense to anyone but myself. It's truly the best Christmas I've ever had--next to the Christmas we had nothing but handmade gifts as a child. :)--posted earlier. That one will always remain top of the list and precious. This one is at a whole different level.

Merry Christmas everyone--I truly wish everyone a deeply moving and touching Christmas.

* This post is dedicated to my sweet, sweet mom who has never left my side in this journey--who knows how to let go. And how to hold you so safe and tight at the same time--who never gives up on me--even when I doubt myself--and a special note to my dear friend Chris--who so wisely told me--to go for it--be alive--live life in all it's scarey moments and worries--it's means you're a live. Live it! Thank you for being there so solidly.You are wise beyond your years. And my friend Annette for the most amazing "girl time" I've had in a very long time--it was good for the soul--I can't wait for Izabella to meet you.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It is "magical" how your heart knows the way...

12.19.08: Big "special needs" conference call today, I say "big" , but just as I say that--I realize it's just an informational meeting. The big part is to see if the information answers enough questions for us to make a decision and move on this program. If this is the plan for our family. I have to tell you--I get more and more inclined to do this everyday.This program has always peeked my interest--but never considered seriously, as we did not have a program available to us to pursue. So with the merger--it started our as an option to investigate that was new to us, like we thought a couple other options were too. But of late, it's more about how, it has been how God has laid on my heart that it's possible I have always been up to this task, that this is my destiny really. At 13 I decided I wanted to give a child a home, that wouldn't otherwise have a home and family--and said that as an alternative to having my own (bio kids). And it's clear to me--the kids without special needs in China will most certainly have homes. Or so I hope. Certainly the youngest ones-and in China being older and orphaned is a special need. What's perfect about SN program--as it relates to that profound teenage moment in my life--is that these kids just might never have a home, if it weren't for us. Now that's perfect to my heart. And, I've also realized--we have our own special need--that she too would be meeting--that of an older couple--wanting a family--and too old to have one. So...I think it's pretty neat. The perfect messing of two lives to make a perfect life for all. In our own definition of "perfect". We'll see how this journey unfolds God has a plan..that as you know, I am positive about...so..this magic carpet ride is pretty sweet...and I'm anxious to find out. AND we might even get some financial assistance if we do special needs vs. non-special needs through grants provided to families willing to adopt a special needs child. Which would be a blessing also-if we should be blessed with that kind of gift to our family.

Just FYI--I use the words "special need" but they call the program and the children "waiting children program" and waiting children.I like that terminology better. But, whatever the label, they are waiting and they are special.

AND a sweet thing--my friend has a daughter--who I never in my wildest dreams thought of as a special needs child that has a birth defect that is similar to one listed on the needs list for children in China. She is perfect in every way--trust me a true blessing. In corresponding with my dear friend, I realized that if a child with a medical complication has a family--obviously the medical need is addressed with available quality medical care immediately--so it's never labeled as such. It's only when the child was abandoned, sometimes because the parents couldn't provide the medical they needed--that the label is attached. My point is--there are millions of special needs people in our society--and we think of them and they lead very normal and often phenomenal lives as "normal" without any labels. For instance, my friends mother has a disease that's on the list ( a minor case of it yes ), but she's lived a full life without that label. I'm sure we can all think of may people in our lives that are similar. Or...am I just looking at life through rose colored glasses. If so, so be it...I like these glasses. There's enough reality to keep us in reality. Seen without a choice.

Blessings to all this holiday--we're seeing our share of blessing and are so deeply and profoundly appreciative for them all!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Cause you have a big heart..."

12.18.08:My husband isn't much of a talker. Oh he loves to tell a good story, or will chat forever with someone about football. But he rarely talks much about what he feels. But the day I met my sweet Danny, I took one look in his eyes, just knew he had a heart of gold and was a salt of the earth kind of soul. I could tell what his heart is feeling without words. Mind you, this is the complete opposite of me. This is why we are so good for each other. In the over10 years of knowing him, I have learned to be quiet and still, a lot more. I have learned to keep my feelings to myself, until the time is perfect for sharing. I won't tell you I've learned practice this new found skill all the time, but, more than ever before in my life. On the other hand, I have taught him to open up more, especially to those you love and care about. To reach out to them, instead of sitting and waiting for them to call you. I've taught him to say "I love you" before he hangs up the phone with someone he loves. And as a way silly little thing I do, when I'm in need of hearing from him and his heart--I ask, "why do you love me?" And he tickles my soul and my heart with his answers.

After a long week of bad weather and only seeing him about 6 hours all week, I really needed to hang with him. Especially with our meeting tomorrow-I needed to be near him. But, he has to go to work at 2 am and the ice is the most treterous of all storms for snowplow operators. I worry all the time, but nights like tonight I worry a lot! So, after dinner he headed up to bed, I finished cleaning up the kitchen and made his lunch for tomorrow--and then headed up to hang with him. Normally, I don't like to bother him--cause if I go in the bedroom he wakes and there is precious little time to sleep, so I stay out. But I broke all the rules and went over and curled up with him. There are so many things I want to say. About the meeting tomorrow, about our decision, about our little Izabella, but something told me to be still. As we laid there, I prayed, and I thought of Izabella home with us, of the day we have her in our arms. This whole time, Dan's arms are wrapped around me so sweetly, I feel so safe. And I so want Izabella to feel his safe warm arms around her too. It's hard to explain his touch, his non-verbal way of telling you you're special. lI almost fell asleep. Dan rustled and I woke, and I said, "I love you so much." Of course he replied, "I love you too honey." Then I said, "Why do you love me?" I didn't ask because I didn't feel loved, I asked because I knew there was something really cool going on in his heart that I wanted to know. I wanted to hear it. He said, (and he's said this before) "Because you have a Big Heart." I said, "You do to, you just don't show it, but I knew it the day I met you. I even wrote it in my first love note I wrote to you after I met you."

This was special to me. It occured to me, with two big hearts like ours, it seems to me we can handle whatver little one God has planned for us. She doesn't have to be perfect, cause we aren't perfect either. She just needs to be ours and we need to be hers...forever.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I-171H Renewed Today--Our 17th Month Anniversary

12.17.07: Today is our 17th Month LID (Log-in Date) Anniversary. For those of you who don't know what the Log-in Date is--it's the day our "Arndt Family Paperwork" arrived and posted rec'd by the China Center for Adoption Affairs Office in China. It's the day we truly became "paper pregnant". It's funny, cause I don't usually pay attention to the day of the month--but as you know from previous post--I've been especially aware of this month's anniversary day. Since I don't believe in conincidences, and I do believe God stirs my soul and focus' my attention when needed to things I need to pay attention to. I believe this was all meant to be. Cause you see--on January 3, 2009 our I-171H (Advanced Adoption Petition to Adopt Approval) we applied for and was approved for 18 months ago will expire. Therefore, we have to re-apply for a renewal of this document every 18 months. Without we could not accept a referral of a child. So..it's a huge deal. We also had to renew our fingerprint clearance first and get approval for that--then comes the I-171H. So, this is my anniversary to patiently waiting gift. It's a relief. Thank you GOD!

Can I also say--"I am so happy with our New Agency". I loved GOL and still do. But this new agency has been responsive, helpful and timely in all correspondence. I can't thank them enough. What I thought could be a very scary move--has turned into a huge blessing.

Thank you again to all those friends and family that continue to offer us up for prayer. Today is our agencies Wednesday Prayer Meeting Day. And I know there are families out there that prayed just last night for our family. It's special beyond words.

Izabella--the journey continues. Hold on--we're doing all we can. I pray you are safe, feeling the touch of someone who cares, and are warm.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Simple, but so true...

12.16.08: My post today comes from a woman in our Yahoo July 07 LIDr's Group. I love it...and it sums up how I'm feeling right now.

"It's not the ticket that I purchased, but it's the trip I'm going to take."


Yes, I will. And willingly so. God has blessed me over and over again and sometimes with things and a path I wasn't sure was going to work out. So why shouldn't I take it and go with it?

PS--there is a conference call for our GOL families that just merged over to AWAA on Wednesday. Apparently there is lots of interest and they want to get all the questions answered in a group setting as much as possible. So we'll see what comes of this. I'm anxious to know more about it. Still no family coordinator meeting set up--but this too is in God's time. So when it happens it will be perfect timing..I'm sure of it. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 15, 2008

12.15.08: Just two days now to our 17th month of waiting--and this was posted to our agency web blog, by another waiting mom. It was so perfect--I wanted to share:

She says: God knows the struggles of my heart and His timing is always perfect (I have said this a million times in our blog--lisa). It's about waiting on God's promises and the things you can do while you wait.

"There is a great lesson that comes to those who have spent the good part of a lifetime waiting. Sometimes you have all your papers and necessary credentials, you are in exactly the right line at exactly the right time, but you still have to wait. An agonizing wait. An I-wonder-if-I'm-in-the-right-line wait. A much longer wait than you had expected. All the time, you may be in the right place facing the right direction, but it's not your turn yet."—Wallflowers Dance, by Angela Thomas

Blessings--and praying for patience while God shows us the way to His Perfect Timing.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My girls are so sweet...


12.14.08: Only the dog lovers out there will appreciate this post. Our girls continue to give us the most amazing unconditional love. And they teach us daily the meaning of that. It's something you can't describe until you experience it. Every day they do things that are funny, cute, sweet and down right funny sometimes. We love every minute. Yesterday morning--we were reading the morning paper and enjoying a cup of coffee when our oldest, and talker (Montana the one on the right) let us know-she always gets a "chew bone" when we do this. So, Dad gave in and got them one. this is a ritual of sorts. So I wanted to post it, as our girls are getting old, and lately I worry they won't be around much longer. Every moment is precious...and this one is one of those. They tails waggin' go and laydown on the kitchen rug..side-by-side and happily chew. I love how they are so good together, no fighting, no food wars...nothing. They will often sleep on top of each other even. Poor Montana gets the worse end of that deal. I have a hard time capturing those times, as if I get up to get the camera, they wake up and move..and it's all over. So, these pics show a couple things I love. One is my Montana's pretty "graying" face. A few years back she had a complete liver colored face, then she started to get gray over her eyes, I said she had "eye shadow", now she has a "full face foundation" on. I love the little look on her face...it's so her. Hard to capture that face. And then, I love, love, love the way she holds her bone with those little paws. Too cute. And the funniest part--is typical Sadie fashion--nothing disturbs her--she just keeps chewin', and chewin'...Enjoy...we do..everyday. I hope they live long enough to meet and be friends with our Izabella. She would be so blessed to know them--and them her.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Speaks of my heart..."Merry Christmas"

12:12.08: OK..I've posted more today than I have in months. Another dear new friend had this on her blog and I had to share it here. It's in perfect harmony with my last few posts and exactly where my heart is.
First--watch this introduction by Brad Avery of Third Day (the adoptive dad and songwriter)introduce this touching song he wrote called "Merry Christmas". He explains how he wrote this to capture the feelings that go with knowing there is a little girl that you have made a home for in your heart--out there somewhere--and you can't see, know or hold her yet. It's beautiful and speaks to my heart in a way that I find impossibly perfect.



Then watch his song here.

But, insert our faces, insert montana and sadie where they have children (yes our dogs have their own stockings and Santa does visit them each year--he loves their orphan souls too), our families, and our Izabella where ever she is--and you have our story this Christmas. Merry Christmas Izabella--whereever you are.

Gifts..they come in all shapes and sizes...

12.12.08: I love Christmas--we share so many memories and reflect on the past year and in some cases the past YEARS gone by. The economy forces us to see things in such a different way. I just got off the phone with my mom--I love her so dearly--as you probably all know by now--I talk about her so much. But we were visiting about Christmas, she's wanted me to know there is a package coming and to look for it. We won't be together for Christmas. I've only had a handful of Christmas' with my extended family since i left home to start out on my own for college in 1977. So sending a box full of gifts to my family is a ritual of sorts. I actually got mine in the mail EARLY this year--no express postage--see the economy changes how we look at things and how we DO things. :) In the end, we had a beautiful conversation--I reminded her she didn't need to send gifts..ok, but her gifts are often my most meaningful ones...so I love them..just didn't want her to spend money she doesn't have on anything. I shared with her the Christmas Memories post from earlier, and she shared how all of us refer to that Christmas as the best Christmas ever. And that we all LOVE Christmas and it's not the gifts part for any of us. I told her--how ironic--the trauma of Christmas for you as a child--you have managed to turn into the best time of year for all of us. Now that's "breaking the chain" if I ever saw it. Funny thing--until today--I don't think she got it--that it's not about the gifts. That's her lesson to us--we learned it. Now it was her turn. She said, "ok, I get it...we'll start that next year." I love it! I love her!

In a conversation about this very topic with a new and very wise friend--I had some thoughts about this subject I wanted to share and again save for Izabella.

My mom always said--my kids are happier playing with the pots and pans out of my cupboard as they are all the toys in their toy box. And she was so right. I remember mom used to give us the Sears and Roebuck Catalog and tell us to circle the things we wanted most and put our names next to it. I can so clearly see that marked up copy with all our circles and carefully pen-ed names throughout. As promised, we always got "just one" of the items we wanted. And I always remember thinking it looked "way cooler" when it was a dream and in the catalog--than when we got it for "real" under the tree. It was the gifts that we could use together--like the HUGE toboggan my grandmother got for us one year. I can still see it standing there in the corner by the tree on Christmas morning and we have so many incredible memories of using it--all four of us could ride on it together down our big hill out back. And we'd take turns who had to "go in the front" and get snow in the face! The ones behind hid our faces from the flying snow behind the person in front of us. My dad actually put a stiff hitch on it--so we could pull it behind the snow machine, and we used it to haul wood to heat our home.

Sounds like a 60's/70's style little house on the prairie-it was of sorts. But, I think we often under estimate the ability of our children to want and need the "together-ness" toys. We start to believe the commercials and the media in all it's hype of the latest craze. All kids really want is to have fun--open a few fun gifts--and spend the day doing things together. I know it's different these days--with all the technology and the way kids are so flooded with all the "things". But, we didn't have much as kids, and honestly, I never remember feeling that way. I always thought there were people much worse off than us. And that was true. I

Surely kids understand how to make something beautiful out of nothing. Funny thing is--I think they're actually naturally that way. It's adulthood that transforms us. I think sometimes it's our own guilt about making sure our kids have everything that causes more upset than anything. Don't get me wrong. There were lots of things other kids had that I didn't--but I was able to get a job and work to pay for those things myself. Sometimes, I thought it wasn't fair that others got those things given to them. And when I told my mom that--she said, "You say that now, but wait til you grow up, you'll be glad you had to earn your way." AND walla--she was so right.

This post is dedicated to my new friend Kelly who inspires me and touches me with her heart felt love, compassion and concern for all who encounter her, including abandoned and injured animals.

A Christmas Story Inspired Moment....

12:12:08--I rec'd an email from our agency today and I was moved by it to write this:
Here is the verse that was in that email:

“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.”

—Luke 1: 39-49


It is simply beautiful and very poignant for where we are right now. Many say that Christmas is a hard time to be waiting. For me—it’s a comforting time. The air is full of the “magic” of the holy spirit, the volume love and prayers, fellowship and worship is over the top, and that always summons a powerful air around the world (I wish it was like this all year!), and all those important things we need to focus on come home—like “believe—have faith”, and “forgiveness—it’s a new day” and “sacrafice and giving”. I could go on and on. So at this time of “just believe” I say—rejoice! He will provide. You only need to look, ask for his guidance and pay attention to what he lays on your heart and in front of you.

As you all know we are new to the AWAA family and feel very much like we were lead there by the Lord. With that comes our new challenges and decisions. Like most families adopting--no matter the program or country--we started this journey 2 years ago to start our family (although for me it is a lifetime journey from the day I understood at the young age of 13 that there were children in the world that needed homes—I knew I wanted to make a home for one of them someday). We have been patiently waiting and thoroughly enjoying this journey—even with the extended wait time—we saw it as an opportunity to prepare for our child—prepare our marriage—our home—our work lives for the addition of this precious child. However, a couple weeks before the merger happened we started to feel a stirring of restlessness (similar to what Mary feeling Jesus stirring in her womb), one we couldn’t explain. I just knew I needed to be doing something, something to move us closer to building our family. Yet, what? What could we do—I’d already asked about all our options and we were right where we should be—but I’ll ask again. So I called Beth at GOL—and visited with her again about our options--seeked her guidance on a couple things. She couldn’t tell me anything at the time—but she assured me God had a plan and it would all be ok. And in fact, God was preparing us for the next section of our journey—just a few short 5 days later, we rec’d the news that our beautiful GOL would be merging with AWAA. The opportunities that opened up for us are such a gift. (Thank you GOL and AWAA for taking such good care of us). I sensed a change in our journey—still do. But don’t know what that should be. We have been in prayer for guidance about this. We are considering several options—and can’t wait to meet with our new AWAA family coordinator to discuss all of them and get her valuable input and guidance at our first family meeting. But as we approach that meeting—I pray and would ask anyone reading this blog to pray--That God would guide us and show us the right decision. That we would make the decision that is “HIS” perfect plan, in “HIS” perfect timing—not ours. That He grant us the wisdom to know what is His will. And that He grant us the courage and strength to pursue whatever avenue He has chosen.

Thank you in advance for your prayer--I’m sure it’s not a unique prayer—there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of families needing that very same prayer. Anytime anyone takes the time out of their busy, busy day to offer up a prayer for anyone is such a precious gift. A truly precious one. That alone is comforting. Thank you.

And may the spirit of Christmas move your heart, and rock your world to amazing new levels!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's a new look...

12.10.08: It's time for a face lift on our blog. It's been just one week shy of 17 months of waiting since our Log-in-Date and as you know from previous post, our magic carpet ride made a few swoops and swishes of late. All is good, all is going to be just fine...just as it should be. All kinds of things are flying around us, opportunities we didn't know existed and some we did and didn't know were available to us. God sure is working hard for us out there. And all our friends prayers are working overtime too. So, tonight I was compelled to give our blog a little swoosh, swish change. And, I finally figured out how to create my own blog designs. So I'm going to try my hand at that next. I'd love to start a little blog design studio--as a fundraiser for our adoption. Some of the options available to us will require some serious funds. And this is something I've been contemplating for awhile. My design studio mission and tagline is "meaningful design" and this little fundraiser would maintain that consistent design mission. Who knows what it will bring. Or if I can even pull it off. But today's facelift was the first step. Happy Days! :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Our AWAA Paperwork signed and off via Fedex

12.9.08--We signed the paperwork and sent it off to AWAA yesterday (12.08.08). Next step is our meeting with our new family coordinator. In the meantime, Dan and I are still discussing and considering the options. I want you all to know--I am much more at peace with it all. In essence, without getting into too much detail. I don't believe this merger was a coincidence-I don't believe in conincidence--everything is part of God's master plan for us. And that in this merger lies the answer to how we will grow our family. We just need to move through this process with love and thoughtful consideration and much prayer for direction. I know it will be ok. So, we'll await our next meeting with much prayer for answers and guidance. Thank you for all you out there that I know have prayed for us. I can't tell you how much that means to me. And how much it makes a difference in our lives--everyday.

Christmas Memories

12.9.08--I was emailed a story today from a friend, of a single mom with 7 children. I forwarded it along to some of my close friends and was compelled to share my own story that was similar. So I thought I"d post this for Izabella.

I know we all have experienced hard times or been very sad at Christmas time, for one reason or another. Me too. But, I have to say, the hard times often bring us the most JOY. My own mother was raised by a single mom from age 9, the oldest of 6 she never really had a chance to be a kid, she was too busy helping her mom care for her 5 younger siblings. Her father died at age 9, leaving her mother to raise, her and 5 siblings between age 9 and 2. I don’t remember my mom sharing a traditional Christmas memory. So one day I asked her. She would only say “the fire department” brought our Christmas gifts Lisa. This explained why she tried so hard to be sure we had a wonderful Christmas. She created some traditions that are just ours and will always be our family treasures. Including one Christmas we will all remember for ever and is SO VERY DEAR to us. It was 1965, I was 6, my brother 7, my sister was 4. Dad was a Vermont State Trooper and Mom was a secretary. We had a warm home, a VW bus van and a dog “Gerty”. It really was a good time, but I guess we didn’t have any extra. So Christmas was going to be well—handmade. We went to bed Christmas eve with our letter to Santa, cookies and all. In the wee hours of the morning, I heard something down stairs, thinking it was Santa, I had to go check it out. So I creeped down the stairs, into the living room, no Santa, then I peered into the dining room, and there at the dining room table sat my Dad, folding paper airplanes! Wow, that’s cool! There had to be 100 of them on that table! Un-Discovered, I headed back to bed. The next morning, there was a bike my dad had refurbished a used bike into a shiny new one for my brother, along with the 100+ paper airplanes. There was a little table, he had built and painted with a marble formica top, with brown carefully painted trim and the coolest little stool type chairs that he had designed himself. On the little table was two placemats, designed by my mom with artex fabric paint—one said “Lisa” the other said “Shelly”. Under the tree were gifts that were wrapped. They were all handmade. My mom had taken old coffee cans and painted them with fun drawings on the side—and when we asked what they were for, she said, “it’s like getting new toys, these cans will hold all the toys that you already have, and never play with that are at the bottom of your toy box. Now you’ll have them to play with if you put them in these cans.”

I had to share this story with you. Cause it was and continues to be the best Christmas my family ever had. My parents gave us the gift of Family. It was my parents battle cry of sorts, “family is everything!”, that Christmas we learned, if you have each other, it’s all you need—that and a little ingeniuity. :) Christmas to this day has never been about the gifts. And it’s always a struggle to write a list of things I want for Christmas. I never need anything...I have so much to be thankful for. Each year, I receive one gift that moves me to tears. It’s always a gift that was handmade or holds special meaning. Now that gift I always anxiously await.

Happy Holidays to everyone. I bet you can all guess what was on my list this year. A family of my own--to build and make Christmas memories with. Dan and I have traditions of our own. But, every Christmas--although it does not dominate my day--I am so grateful to have Dan and our ever loving girls (monatna and sadie)--I so wish we had a child in our family. So, anything to do with her--would rock my world. I know Santa can't bring her to me on Christmas Morning. But I know that Miracles happen because Christ was born, and it's a time to believe in the magic of his birth and that we all feel so much during this very special holiday. So, with that said, I pray everyone experiences whatever miracles "big or small" in their lives that go beyond a package, somewhere deep in their heart. And that our hearts are open enough to recognize and appreciate them when they happen.