Counting Our Blessings

Counting Our Blessings

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Celebrating Forever Family Day!

We had a beautiful celebration today. We started off the day with a visit to Jason’s work. I did not realize that it had been almost a year since they have seen Hannah. My husband works with a bunch of great people and it is so much fun to visit him. Then we were off to swim class, home for naps, and an authentic Chinese meal at Hong Kong Palace in Rowland Heights. The kids all got gifts from china. The boys got Chop blocks and Hannah got a lady bug purse. We want it to be a tradition that they get a gift every year celebrating the day we became a forever family.

I can’t believe we have had this beautiful blessing for a whole year now. It has gone by so fast. We are truly blessed and can not even imagine our lives with out her. In the year that we have had her she has...........

gone from being able to sit on her own, to crawling, to walking, to running.

She talks up a storm

She joins us in prayer, sings, laughs and dances

She has taken Gymboree classes and is now taking swim class and a music class

Loves Blues Clues, princesses, and shoes :)

takes her medicine like a pro

loves to tackle her daddy and brothers

loves to eat everything.

loves to play outside and loves taking a bath

She is very busy and keeps me on my toes.

Because of this sweet girl we are so much more aware of how precious life is. We are so thankful for the Lord speaking to our hearts. So thankful for listening to the holy spirit and not giving in to fear. So thankful that we did not miss out on the opportunity to become her Forever Family. Thank you Jesus for this precious gift.


Monday, March 28, 2011

My Montage 3/17/11 at

In Honor of Hannah's Gotcha day tomorrow. Here is a look back in pictures. It has been an amazing year. I can't help but think about her birth mother and what a huge loss she must be feeling. I'm so grateful to her in so many ways. I only wish she knew that her daughter is healthy and doing so well.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Martha Stewart kinda Day

Today I watched some sweet boys for a friend. The kids had a blast outside while I cleaned up the house for our LAST social worker visit. HOORAY! Did you catch the enthusiasm there? The social worker ended up calling and asking if we could just do it over the phone. Hello! Does she not know how adorable my daughter is in person. Ha! Truthfully I was relieved because it allowed me to stay in my grubbs and not have to look presentable :) I finished up school with Noah and began to prepare for dinner. Did I mention what wonderful friends I have. I do a meal swap with some wonderful ladies. There are four of us and each of us come up with a recipe and buy all the ingredients for each other and when we swap we come home with four different meals all ready to go. It has made my life so much easier and has got me cooking things I would have never cooked before. Tonight we had a whole roasted chicken, baked potato's and salad. I decided since I was already feeling Martha stewart like that I would attempt my first ever homemade cheesecake. If you know me well, then you know I'm not the best baker and my beautiful kitchen aid collects a lot of dust on my counter. Well I was shocked when my hubby said it was the BEST cheesecake he has ever had. It was super yummy. So glad for no more social worker visits(for Hannah anyway :)) and wonderful cheesecake.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

True Religion

I wanted to share a post I read that really spoke to my heart.

True Religion

If you are a blog reader of mine, you know I process through writing what God is teaching me–and you also know any time I take a few days off from writing its usually not because I’m busy (because writing is HOW this momma unwinds from her busy)…it’s usually because He’s teaching me and it’s hard to process. I haven’t blogged since Sunday publically–but I did write on Monday, Tuesday and today…very long posts—prayed over them…processed them…and then stowed them away in my heart–and for now that is where they will stay.

The Lord is really teaching me a lot right now–through walking with others in their hardship (their distress) and pain…orphans and widows…choosing to do life together and saying, “We are in this together—for the long haul…and we will look for God and His faithfulness through it.”

While some of my readers may come to my blog and feel “moved” to consider adoption after hearing our experience…or after seeing a sweet coming home video–that, my sweet sisters and brothers, is not really what James 1:27 is about at all—or else anyone not called to adopt wouldn’t be offered a part in true religion–right? Adoption is growing my family–it’s choosing to follow God in growing my family in a different way…and to be willing to do for my newest son what I would and will do for all of my children to be there for them and when need be–walk through times of hardship, healing and pain with them. I can some what guess that it may be more often, however, for the children God brings to me through adoption–but that of course is no promise. We are NOT all called to adopt…any more than we are not all called to have more children biologically–but adoption IS one of the many ways God can use us to change orphans to sons and daughters…and this is GOOD…it is a CALLING…and discerning that calling over emotion is very important.

SO…what about James 1:27? How do we LIVE true religion? Because this–as believers we are all called to–if we want to experience Him fully and live true religion (James 1:27). How do we care for, visit and look after orphans and widows in their distress? How can we help walk with orphans and widows during their time of pain? This verse isn’t about changing orphans to sons and daughters or finding the widow a new spouse–but about going there with them in their distress—and THIS is what true religion is. While only 1% of the estimated 140 million orphans worldwide are considered eligible for adoption, and 90% still have one living parent–or you could say 90% have a widow as a parent. How can we live James 1:27 to these? How can we look after, care for and visit them…and really begin going there in their distress with them? The Lord has been showing me more and more about the answers to these questions–and while my home right now is pretty crazy and may not be the best fit right now to add another one of the precious 1% to come join our crazy–how can God use me right where I am for the other 99%? To really LOOK AFTER these in their time of DISTRESS…oh–I think I’m ready to go there.

When I think about visiting orphans and widows–the first place my heart naturally goes is to our “other family”…my son’s first family. There is a widow and single orphans across the world. Then I think about our next closest–those already around us. Our church alone has countless single orphans whose mom or dad is no longer with them–and essentially in many ways single moms are modern day widows in our culture. How can I live James 1:27–pure and faultless religion? While we follow where the Lord leads in these ways and choose not to always share the ins and outs here–God sees our hearts and our hands–and that is enough. And it is good.

And while most times my tendency is to start at home and move outward–I want to also remember where the places are where the forgotten live? I think about our ministry in Zambia/Africa–where adoption is closed yet more than 1/3 of their children are orphans. WOW. Our eyes are opened when we VISIT them (James 1:27) but naturally more people visit the countries they adopt from. SO–what about these countries that some times fly under the radar? Use us Lord to live James 1:27–to YES serve in our neighborhoods and to live true religion here–but to also some times leave where we are comfortable or feel personally connected to and visit, look after and love widows and orphans in places that aren’t as convenient or as attractive…meeting someone in their distress will never look fun–it’s not a brownie sale and the pain through it is not “blogable” and thankfully so…because there are some things so sacred where true religion resides that should be treasured in our hearts and leave us in worship as we see Him working through us. Following the Lord in the way of James 1:27 will not be easy–but I can promise it will refine and change…and you will be amazed when you see Christ come through. You WILL see His glory. He will be faithful with His presence. And it will be SO SACRED that you won’t publically share it with others…because you will know–it is HOLY…you won’t be able to write about it because you can’t even express it’s power. It is TRUE RELIGION…it is beautifully painful, yet good—and you will want to follow Him again and again in true religion to see Him over and over…and over again. And it makes sense why He calls us to serve and be His hands in this way.

And speaking of visiting orphans and widows in their distress–if you would be interested in joining us on our next trip to Zambia this June–please contact me. We have just a few spots–but we’d love to take you with us! There’s no building. There’s no painting. But there is sitting. We sit and we listen…and we love. As simple as that. And you probably not be able to find the words to write about it either…or words to express how YOU were changed in the process. But James 1:27 doesn’t have to just be around the world…it can be as close as next door. It probably won’t knock on our doors–but when you are ready ask Him to take you there and begin leading you to true religion and worship in this way. I never want to lose sight of what this verse means and what through it we are being asked to do.

As believers, let’s pray how He can use us to live James 1:27 fully and to be used for His great glory and good…

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sew Shay

I Love blogging, and reading blogs. I have met some of the sweetest people through the blogging world :). One of my favorites is Shay over at she has three Bio girls and two china dolls. They are in the process of adopting a sweet little guy from china. You can read about her sweet story on her blog. Shay is a talented sewer and is sewing her way to her precious Will. She is hoping to raise enough money to pay the orphanage fee. Please go browse her Sew Shay shop on her blog. This is where I got my adorable camera strap pictured above.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Give-Away Winner

Congrats to Sara from you are our winner. Please e-mail me your address so I can send you the adorable bunny. That was super fun. Thanks to all who participated.

Well last week we took sweet Jonah to the ENT doctor to see what he thought about my poor child's nose. It was of coarse the only time that Jonah's nose was not all runny and he could breathe. The Doctor said well it looks like the nose spray did work and to keep taking it. I was pleased that my son would not need surgery but frustrated that he told me that the nose spray takes four weeks to kick in and thats why his nose is finally good. Well two days later Jonah wakes up in the middle of the night and can not breathe through his nose again. I decided i would take him back to the pediatrition to get a second opinion. She was able to see him at his worst. After a lot of questions and exam he was diagnosed with cronic allergies and given a heavy treatment of sprays and allergy medicine to get him to breathe through his nose and we will follow up with Zyrtec everyday. After our remodel last year we put the washer and dryer in the boys room. the doctor feels that this may be a trigger so she said out it goes or Jonah sleeps in another room. she also suggested to remove all books(my kids have two huge bookcases filled with books) and to get a air purifier. She said also allergen free linens. woah a lot to take in. Tonight they will sleep in the living room until we come up with a solution :( anybody else want to offer some helpful tips on dealing with children with allergies. this is all new and we have no idea what the trigger is. It is going on nine months and he tested negative for everything at the allergy doctor.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Great Sunday

We had the best Sunday. The service this morning was outstanding. It was on Isaiah 58. John really encouraged us all to be God's hands and feet. That all God wants from us is to Love him and by loving others we show God our love. He gave examples of some sad things that people are going through in our community right under are noses. People are so in need of a Savior. So many of us get so comfortable in our busy lives that we become blind to the needs around us. Lord I pray that we would have eyes to see, and willing hearts to serve.

After service a group of five wonderful college students brought us lunch to our home and served us a delicious meal. It was part of an assignment. They had to make and serve a meal to an elder and their family. It was such a special treat. We enjoyed the beautiful conversations and delicious food. I wish I could have captured the moment but I have been terrible at remembering to take pictures :(

We ended our Sunday with Grace group time. We reflected on the service and thought of practical ways to be showing Gods Love to our community. It was an end to a very great Sunday.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Happy Sobriety Birthday!

Today was such a special day. We celebrated my mom's 20 year sobriety birthday. We had a surprise dinner for her with over forty of her closest friends and family. It touched my heart to hear people stand up and share how my mom has impacted their lives. They spoke about her being an inspiration and it filled me with tears. I'm so glad that she is living for the Lord and that he saved her from a life filled with sin and loneliness. I love you mom and I'm so proud of you.

P.S. One more day to enter the adorable give-away.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Swim Lessons And Hospital Visits

We started swim class for Jonah and Hannah this week. They both are doing them together for a semi private lesson. I was worried about Hannah and thought the girl was going to scream her head off. Well once again she proved me wrong. This girl is a fish and is loving her teacher Ms. Katie. Today she jumped off the side of the pool. This from the girl who couldn't even sit up on her own 11 months ago. I'm constantly amazed by her. Jonah is doing great as well a couple lessons and he should be swimming by summer.

After swim lessons, I went to be with a friend at CHOC hospital. Her 4 month old son has a similar heart condition as Hannah. He had major heart surgery today. He made it out of surgery and is doing well. The next 48 hours are very critical so please keep him in your prayers. It was very surreal being at CHOC. Xander was in the same room as Hannah and it just brought back a flood of emotions for me. I was so happy to be able to be there for her and support her. These kids sure are fighters. It just amazes me how great our God is. I can't wait to see Xander all healed and jumping off the side of the pool like my firecracker.

Don't forget about the give-away(read older post for details) end this monday.

Adorable Rabbit

Four more days to enter this give-away from Jiayen Designs. These are too cute. They are made by a special girl from Hunan China.

Hi friends. I have decided to do my first Give-Away. I love blessing others and I'm real excited about this product. It comes from Jiayin Designs and the rabbits are made in the province that Hannah was born Hunan. It is so unique and I hope it will bless someone. Here are the rules to enter the Give-Away.

1. You must be a follower of this blog(you can click the follow sign on the right)
2. Leave a comment in the comment section for another chance to win
3. Mention this Give-Away on your Blog and let me know for another chance to win.

I will announce the winner on Monday.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Since Noah was sick for his birthday we rescheduled his party. Yesterday we spent the day at Boomers in Irvine with three of his buddies. Boomers is a place that has, lazertag, go-karts, miniature golf, rides, games and pizza. What more could an 8 year old ask for. It was great to see him so excited and having a blast with his friends. I loved that Jason and I could participate and that we haven't hit the stage where he's too cool to be with us :) The best part of the party was I did not have to clean up or worry about any of the food it was all taken care of those kind of parties are the best. All the kids were so grateful and told us Thank you about a dozen times. He has got some great friends. I still can't believe he is 8 :(

P.S. Don't forget about the Give Away. Click on my last post for details :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Give-Away!

Chinese New Year Rabbits
slightly due to it being completely handmade.

Hi friends. I have decided to do my first Give-Away. I love blessing others and I'm real excited about this product. It comes from Jiayin Designs and the rabbits are made in the province that Hannah was born Hunan. It is so unique and I hope it will bless someone. Here are the rules to enter the Give-Away.

1. You must be a follower of this blog(you can click the follow sign on the right)
2. Leave a comment in the comment section for your chance to win
3. Mention this Give-Away on your Blog and let me know for another chance to win.

I will announce the winner next Monday.

Good Luck Everyone!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Go Dodgers!

Today was Opening Day for Jonah's T-Ball. He took pictures and had a pancake breakfast. He is so excited to be playing and we already see a love for the game. Thursday was his first game and he played so well. Dad could not be prouder that he is a little dodger. When he would throw or bat he kept looking over and giving us the thumbs up sign it was hilarious. we are looking forward to a fun and busy season. GO DODGERS!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Flu Did Not Win!

Yesterday was Jonah's first game. Noah was feeling better so we all went to cheer him on. Unfortunately when we got home Noah's temperature spiked again and to bed he went. We decided to reschedule all of his birthday plans until next week. This morning he was feeling a little better. I made him the traditional cinnamon muffins and Hannah helped out. Noah's good friend Abbie skyped him on the computer and completely made his day. He opened up a few presents and we rented a movie he had been wanting to see for awhile. We did not let the flu win. It was a good day after all.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Noah's Birthday Letter

I have always written a letter for our children's Birthday reflecting on the past year. We hope they will enjoy looking back through the years seeing how they have grown. My baby will be 8 tomorrow and it seems like just yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital.

To my oldest Blessing Noah

Happy 8th Birthday. I can’t believe how fast you are growing and maturing before my very eyes. You have become the sweetest most tenderhearted soul and it has been a joy to watch you grow. This year you have performed in three shows and will do your fourth this spring. You love theatre and get so excited when you get to play a part. This summer you went to a theatre camp at Biola and grew to love the theatre even more. You were an adorable puppy in 101 Dalmations. You enjoyed it so much that you can’t wait for next summer. You love school( especially with Mrs.Barneson) and enjoy playing the Wii that you so proudly saved up for. You conquered your fear this year and went on California Screaming Roller Coaster with daddy. Daddy was so excited that you were finally tall enough and he no longer had to ride alone. You lost your first tooth a few months ago and took a huge fall almost knocking out your two front teeth. You had been saving your money up for a particular WII game but before Valentines you decided to buy your best friend Abbie a necklace because you said she is your very best friend and she likes pretty things. This made your mommy’s heart melt as I thought ahead at what an amazing husband you will make someday. The Holy spirit has been working in your heart and some of your responses to things have been so evident of this. When we found out by the dentist that your adult teeth were not effected by your fall and he did not have to pull your baby teeth. You told me thats because you prayed to God and he works all things together for good. When you threw away your last bit of food because you wanted dessert you were so filled with guilt that you came to me later and confessed and said that even though I did not know that Jesus did and he wouldn’t be pleased if you didn’t tell the truth. There are so many more examples and it warms my heart to see the Lord working in you. This has always been my biggest prayer that you would Love and serve the Lord all your days. You have also become the greatest big brother always looking out for your little sis. You witnessed God perform a miracle in her life and I believe it had a huge impact on you and your sisters relationship. You tell everyone that you call her princess of miracles. I’m excited to see what the next year holds for you. I love you sweet boy and wish you a wonderful 8th Birthday.

Love Mom and Dad