Sunday, January 29, 2017

Chinese New Year 2017

We welcomed the year of the Rooster in 2017. The rooster represents fidelity and punctuality. I could use a dose of punctuality. We celebrated by making Chinese lanterns and decorating our dining room with the Chinese New Year decorations that we purchased in China. We also celebrated Chinese New Year with our sweet friends, the Autry's. They kindly hosted all of our crew at their home. We had such a nice evening, dining on an array of Chinese foods, creating rooster crafts, and reminiscing on our trips to China, while the kids played together. Their son Kai came home a few months before Lottie did. They are the same age and attend the same school. I love knowing they are growing up together and share a common heritage. It is a comfort that God placed this family in our lives. Our hearts were full.

We just happen to have a giant rooster in our dining room already!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Big Girl School

Lottie started big girl school at Whitehall Pre-K Center. We applied in the fall, where we went in for several assessments to make sure Lottie qualified for the program and to see what services she would need. The assessment process was long, spanning over several days. Then there was a very long meeting with each representative that would be working with our daughter, to develop her IEP, or individual education plan. This is wonderful because Lottie's IEP is tailored specifically to her needs and meeting her own goals. They worked very closely with us, her parents, to develop a plan that made us all comfortable, even allowing us to send our daughter part time this year, to allow further bonding time with her family. Lottie gets hours of classroom time in Ms. Starla's room with other developmentally delayed, three-year old children each week, in addition to physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Lottie has made great strides in the few short weeks that she has gone to Whitehall, even meeting some goals already. She loves school and expresses delight when we tell her it is time to get ready for school. We love the faculty that meets and cares for Lottie while she is at school. We get daily updates in her backpack each day, of the progress she is making and the new things she is learning and achieving. We are so proud of our daughter and the bravery she has shown in being away from us for an entire school day on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays each week. We really had no way of telling how she would react to such a public place without any parent or sibling. I did worry the entire first day, but she loved it!! I do think it helps that they serve her meals at school and breakfast is always waiting for her when she arrives. That is the way to Lottie's heart.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Word for 2017

Along with certain "resolutions" and quests for the new year, I have been given a theme word to remember. Each new word for each year, is simply something that I feel the Holy Spirit has impressed upon me to pay special focus, but is in no way the only focus. The theme for 2017 started to be whispered before I even began praying about it. It kept being recited over and over. To be sure, I still prayed for God to show me what He wanted me to focus on in 2017. Once again, He spoke clearly.

  • an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady
  •  a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.
Life is hard. That is so cliché, but it is also very true. I find is especially hard to "distribute the weight" of the responsibilities appropriately. My focus can lean heavily to the kids.....cause we have a lot of them, don't we? When it leans too heavily on them, there is inadequate care of my own physical, mental and spiritual health and I find my focus as a wife is lacking. This affects the greater relational dynamic between my husband and I . We begin to feel disconnected. This also does something else very significant, it begins to decompose the authorities placed within the family...Father, Mother, children. My role as wife comes before my role as mother. The role of Father comes before all. Then, there is the delicate balance of self care. "Mama always comes last" is not a healthy mindset. We are equally as worthy of care. We all know there is a fine line between self loathing and self obsession. Balance. Father, Mother, Child....and self somewhere in between. And, those responsibilities do not equate to one another. I know this because God placed these positions in the Bible, in this order. Relationships are substantially important, in this life, but neither of these are my greatest priority. I have one superior relationship that sadly gets a smaller portion of my time, more often, than the others. This is my relationship with the Creator of the Universe, the Author of the Truth. He wants a personal relationship with each and every one of us. One where we spend time with Him, where we listen more than we talk. One where we lift praises and requests before Him and not demands. And again, I say life is hard. It is hard because I make it hard. I do not act on the things that I know are true. I know this relationship fuels the entire rest of my life, and yet I allow myself to get bogged down by the tasks of daily life, because my relationship with my Savior wanes. Balance in life comes when we distribute the weight, not equally, but in proper proportion as "to remain upright and steady". It really does not sound hard. The Truth is that we will endure troubles in this life. I expect them. And, I do not think that my life is any harder than yours. All any of us need is the proper balance. 
I have been working very hard over the past months, to complete the many unfinished blog posts from the past. Finally feeling a release and freedom to do so, I have focused on past accounts....heavily. So much that I have not kept past and present in "correct proportions". I am remembering to live life now and enjoy living it. I can still finish up things from months ago, but I must be sure to be present in the here and now. I must live for today more so than yesterday or tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Clementine: 6 months

Our littlest beauty is six months old yet. She is trying very hard to sit, but she is not quite steady. She does really well supported by the Boppy. She will have it in no time. No teeth yet! She is still dazzling us with her smiles and squeals. This one is going to be spicy just like the rest. She is quite demanding, wanting to be held and entertained much of the time. She babbles da, da, da, da and ma, ma, ma, ma. She is still nursing exclusively 6 times a day and usually twice at night. At half a year old already, I know the adage "long days (and nights), short years". Time goes so quickly.
It must mean we are having fun!!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Snow Day(s)

The kids have asked and wished and asked and wished.....for snow. It only snowed once in 2016, while we were away in China. Finally, the much sought after snow arrived!! The kids took their sleds and braved the cold, sledding over every small hill we have in our yard. They had hours of snowy fun. When they could no longer take the frigid temperatures, they came in for homemade hot cocoa, after dumping wet clothes in the dryer. Then, they did it all over again.


We took the kids to the big hill around the corner. I thought we would never get them to leave.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Out of the darkness...

It has been almost an entire year since I have blogged. Well, actually since I have made a post public. I get on here and go through the motions, upload photos, reminisce and my mind goes to unhealthy places. Many times I get bitter and angry all over. So, I leave the post here, hiding feelings and photos of the life I am living. It has been a year of an intense, swirling soup of emotions. At the beginning of last year after our home invasion and the realization that our pictures could not be recovered, I tried very hard to make myself bypass the grieving process. Then when that did not work, I tried to move faster than my heart was willing. That is just human nature. Pain and suffering is not fun. We do not like it. We try in every way to avoid it. We try to pray against it. Often we do not see the need for it. I stayed frustrated for a long while. I cannot say that I am over it now, not completely. But, through pain and suffering comes growth...the good, healthy kind. The kind that stays with you. The kind that brings a death of something unneeded, then renewal.
Marcus and I were looking back with our children on New Year's Eve, discussing what 2016 brought. I initially wanted to believe that it was not a good year. 2016 was a hard year for me. Just plain ol' hard, man. Then, he begins listing all of the beautiful blessings God brought and I felt truly ungrateful, like a first world brat. God brought Lottie home in 2016, without a single shred of debt. God promoted Marcus, thus radically changing His provision for our family in 2016. God delivered Clementine into our family in 2016. Those are some major highlights. We were warm, fed, loved, healthy and protected in 2016, just like we always have been. In 2016 we again, found favor with God, again undeservedly. It was a good year.
God had had me in His hand even when I did not feel like he did. Through those circumstances, when we feel God is far from us, but we trust that he is still as near as ever, we grow. He fills cracks and even gashes in our hearts. Our soul is stretched, and though we groan with pain, we grow. We are being sanctified. Sanctification is serious business. It is preparation for eternity. If you are in the midst of a season that is dry, lonely, excruciating, exhausting, or mundane; trust that He has you here for a beautiful reason. The enemy is always near. He would have us to believe that we are unloved, useless, invaluable and that we suffer in vain. Those are untruths. These moments do not feel so beautiful by our standards, but we will stand in a new place one day, where these manmade standards are no more, and see how beautiful this really was. We have to believe that. "Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19. We must stay vigilantly in the Word and in prayer, less we fall or become ensnared again.
Now I feel like it is time to get back to this blog. I have been beckoned and I oblige. To whomever this blog means enough to encourage me, I do so appreciate it more than you know. Sometime we need a little nudge. We need know this is not all know we are making a difference even a tiny one. So, I have gone back and posted a lot from time past. I will continue to do so, until it is done. Much of what we have salvaged is not great quality, but sometimes we must appreciate what we have and not get sidetracked by what we desire. 
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."
1 Peter 2:9