Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Picture!!

Yesterday our adoption agency sent us an updated picture of our precious little girl. Look at her! She is walking all by herself now and lives with a family that has three other children. She is the youngest of the four, just like she will be when she gets home.

Right now we are waiting for this pesky piece of paperwork from China called the LOA (Letter of Acceptance). My hope is that we will have the LOA by my birthday in late September. Once we get that we file an I-800 form with the US government. I hope that will take less than 4 weeks to get back. Then, we send a letter to China for travel approval (4 weeks) and then we get issued a travel date (3-6weeks later). I think that puts us in late December at the earliest and maybe into next year for travel. I really, really, really hope God's plan is for her to be with us before the end of the year. But, no matter what, all is grace and I am thankful today for her picture. They even reported to us that she can say mama and baba (dada in Chinese) and looks at our photo album almost every day!

~thankful for her little fingers
~thankful for her toddling walk
~thankful for a clean home for her to live in
~thankful she has warm clothes to wear
~thankful she is known and loved by her Heavenly Father
~thankful that her brothers and sister pray for her
~thankful for grandparents that share our joy over a new picture
~thankful for friends who delight to hear our updates

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Reading through Colossians

God has brought me to the book of Colossians for scripture memory lately. By focusing on memorizing just one verse every day and repeating all the previous verses each day the Word is coming alive in a whole new way. God's merciful, endless grace poured out and described by Paul in Colossians calls me to thankfulness.

Most recently I have been concentrating on the first part of Chapter 2. Paul is struggling to reach the world with the awesome message of salvation and rejoices in the labor. I am challenged by this devotion to people he knows and even those that have not met him personally. He struggles with the energy of Christ to reach the lost for the glory of God. (1:29-2:2)

Do I rejoice in my light and momentary burdens in suburbia? Do I complain and throw little tantrums when my children test me? Do I elevate stuff over relationships? I wish my answer was no, but far to often I find myself compelled by selfish desire with complaints instead of praise.

But, praise the Lord! Even when my humanity rears it's ugly sin nature, God's grace is poured out into my life. There is conviction from the Holy Spirit that redirects me and illuminates the narrow way. I am so thankful for grace that leads me in everlasting ways instead of down a dead-end, selfish road. Grace gets me back on track.

Paul goes on to write that he delights in how orderly the Christ followers are and how firm their faith is. This reminds me that order and discipline is part of me staying on the right path. (2:5) Order in my daily life helps me so that I will not be deceived and led astray by the world's temptations. So, I am thankful for order in my life and how God works gloriously in the routine of life to show me the way.

Thankful for these routines:

~Waking for an early morning run
~The constancy of meeting these women for running
~The kids doing their morning chores...bed, clothes, teeth
~Unhurried breakfast
~The rhythm of school days
~A kiss from my husband before me leaves for the day
~At least two calls from Ryan every day
~"I love you" before we go to sleep every night
~Church every Sunday
~No TV on Sundays
~Sitting around the table as a family at dinner
~Bedtime story every night with Daddy reading in our big bed
~Scripture memory while I drive

Monday, August 15, 2011

1000 Gifts

There is nothing more powerful than seeing Jesus. You might ask, "Katie, have you really seen him? Seriously?" My answer to you is YES! When we see his bountiful, overflowing, never-ending gifts poured out so freely and lavishly over us every day we encounter him and we get glimpses of him. Counting these blessings has opened my eyes to see Him and his grace and mercy.

Although I may not actually count them past 1,000 I will keep counting them in my heart and mind because this acknowledgment of His gifts is life giving. My life has been changed for good, not because everything always goes my way and not because my eyes don't see the evils and heartache in this world, but because the light of his presence is brighter. When you count the gifts and see him in all things then even hurt and sadness gets consumed with the light of His love.

1 John 4: 12, 18 comes to mind..."No one has seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us...There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..."

When I see the love expressed so freely from friends, family, co-workers and even strangers I give thanks. Why? Because I am seeing God and this practice of acknowledging his goodness drives out fears I might have about the future. His love poured out consumes evil and hurt. Praise the Lord!

991. Seeing Jesus in my friend, Rhonda. Her faith is strong as she deals with her son's cancer. I have seen Jesus!
992. My ten running friends gathering together to celebrate Melia and offer generous gifts of love, support and friendship at her baby shower. I have seen Jesus!
993. Ryan's parents sacrificially caring for his 97 year old great aunt as she painfully gets ready to exit this life and enter the presence of Jesus. I have seen Jesus!
994. Watching all three of my boys play catch and Ryan saying yes over and over again to, "Dad do you want to play catch? Are you ready?" I have seen Jesus!
995. My parents offering to give up their dreams and travel plans to go with us to China, or stay at home with Zac while we travel. Whatever we want, they said. I have seen Jesus!
996. My friend calling me today to tell me she needed to repent of the thoughts and words she so honestly shared with me and then tell me the beautiful lesson of love that God revealed to her. I have seen Jesus!
997. Watching our three kids each show their friends such polite hospitality at the movie night we had on the driveway. I have seen Jesus!
998. Listening to the encouraging, authentic, convicting words from our pastor this Sunday that drew my attention to 1 John. I have seen Jesus!
999. Meeting a stranger at the pool and sharing our adoption journeys and God's provision all in 45 minutes. I have seen Jesus!
1000. Feeling the breeze, listening to my kids play with toys in the front yard while swinging on the front porch swing in 75 degree weather and reading my bible. I have seen Jesus!

So, #1000 is not some over the top gift that anyone would even normally pay attention to, but that's the point. It's all grace. It's all a gift. So, I will continue to see Him and know Him in everything, for His glory alone!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Look who's seven!

So thankful that seven years ago God graced us with the gift of Jacob.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back To School

The Third Grader
The Kindergartener
The First Grader

August 10th and we are back to school in Millard! The summer was absolutely wonderful with the kids and I am sad to see it come to a end. BUT, I am also excited to see what unfolds this next year with all three of my big kids in school!

Yesterday, the boys and I went to the park one last time and my heart hurt a little thinking about not having them at home today. But, at the same time I gave thanks that God was giving me another daughter to love and care for at home in just a few short months (I hope).

Last night we had our back to school dinner inspired by my dear friend, Jen in Texas.

We had three-cheese stuffed pasta, broccoli and carrots, strawberries and sparkling grape juice! We set goals for the year, worked on memorizing our verse for the year (Psalm 121:8), wrote prayers out for our teachers and then daddy prayed over each child and gave a toast. Simple and wonderful!

After dinner, Grammy and Grandpa joined us for ice cream sundaes to wish the kids well on their first day of school.

This morning I woke to happy, excited children and everyone was ready to head out the door on time at 8:00. Each of the kids had a great day and is eager to go back to school tomorrow. I am so thankful!

976. Trips to the park on scooters
977. Best friends
978. Zac's confidence in meeting a new friend as he waited in line to go into school
979. No tears, all joy!
980. Phone calls to grandparents
981. Jacob's happiness about being calendar helper next week
982. Brushing Hallie's beautiful, golden hair before school
983. Daddy making eggs for breakfast
984. Thoughtful prayers for the kids teachers from the kids' hearts...patience, peace and health
985. Singing our memory verse at the table together.
986. Eating ice cream with Grammy and Grandpa
987. Talking to my mom, uninterrupted, while the kids were at school.
988. My mom's inspirational ideas
989. Friends calling to see how the lone mommy was doing...just fine!
990. Excitement about tomorrow.