Sunday, July 31, 2011

So Loved – A Giveaway to Remember

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So Loved was created By Wild Olive Tees to help bring Esther home from China to her forever family. Two months before coming home, Esther passed away from a virus that was complicated by her heart defect. Wild Olive Tees is proud to carry “So Loved” in their store in honor of Esther, and orphans around the world, so that God’s love will be glorified.

100% of the proceeds of the sale of each So Loved tee will be used to fund a future heart surgery for an orphan in China.

Please visit Wild Olive Tees and check out all of their tees.  I wish I had one of each plus several of the children tees!  They are beautiful.  The “So Loved” tee is more beautiful in person.  Right now they are having a giveaway of their “So Loved” tee.  Entry deadline is August 14th. Winners will be announced on the 15th.

Wild Olive is looking forward to seeing what God does with their efforts, it is their prayer that Esther’s short life would be honored, and that His love for Esther – and for orphans everywhere – would be glorified.

 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Unplugged

When Captain Daddy’s sweet Mama passed away, we spent the better part of three days doing about 10 years worth of spring cleaning of our house.  I think the last time we cleaned the outside windows was after Hurricane Floyd in 1999!  We wanted to have friends and family come to our house following the funeral as we live closest to the cemetery. 

We use every square inch of our house to live in.  I grew up in a house that had a living room and dining room that were off limits.  They were being saved for that special occasion that never seem to come.  So when we built our house some 20 years ago, I wanted a livable house.  With four kids, homeschooling, etc.  things can pile up pretty quickly!  One thing about our house is that it has a LOT of windows.  That translates into very little wall space on the interior.  Our TV (10 year old massive box) was sitting on top of a coffee table and pushed up in the corner because when we upgraded our cable, it was just too much to try and put the TV back into the cubby hole. 

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So our house didn’t exactly look like out of the pages of “Southern Living.”

Captain Daddy decided he just wanted to remove the TV from the living room.  Now this is where the girls watch TV.  Which seems like all the time.  The plan was just to get it out for the day.  However, it has now been 2.5 weeks. Now we do have 2 other TVs in the boys’ rooms.  But we have managed without a TV for 2.5 weeks.  The girls will occasionally go into one of the boys rooms to watch TV, but it has become less important to them.  They are actually playing together more, and with somewhat less arguing.  We all are reading more, and listening to music.

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We have racked our brain trying to come up with some sort of more attractive way of incorporating a TV into our living room, but I think we are just going to not have one.  I am sure I am going to regret this decision when the new season of NCIS begins!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What?

 

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I either need a lot of coffee this morning,

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or I should just go back to bed.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Goodbye Marie (Grandma)

Captain Daddy’s Mama went to be with her Lord and Savior this past week.  She was greatly loved and will be missed very much.  She was the last of our parents to go. 

Marie was born in 1933 in a rural county here in North Carolina.  Her parents were farmers and she was raised on a farm.  Farming is one of those things that has to be genetic as she always loved to grow a garden and flowers.

Marie married and had four children, Captain Daddy being the second oldest.  She was a strong-willed woman, but in a very southern gentile way.  She taught all of her children (boys and girls) to cook, sew, clean house, iron clothes, etc.  She equipped them to each be self-sufficient.

I first met Marie when I was 18 years old.  I remember I was driving past Captain Daddy’s house and gathered up my nerve and stopped to see if he was at home.  He wasn’t home, but his Mama told me to please come back when he was home.  I was a;ways welcomed in her home from the gitgo. 

My “courtship” with her son was a long one (13 years) and she wondered as often as I did if we would ever get married. We did finally marry.

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My Mama, me, Marie on my wedding day.

I never considered her a mother-in-law, but a mother-in-love.  I know that sounds sappy, but she loved like her daughters and I loved her as my mama.  She never, ever meddled or intruded into our marriage.

She taught me much throughout the years.  I learned to sew and I made my own clothes during college and grad school.  I learned to cook biscuits, gravy, and chicken & pastry.  Although, my chicken rice will never taste as good as hers.

She loved all of her grandchildren.  She was my prayer partner when God first laid adoption on my heart.  Long before Captain Daddy was on board with it.  I guess she had “adopted” me as her daughter and understood it.  When we were going through the paperchase, she had planned to go to China with us.  However, health circumstances prevented it.

Grandma and little, Big Tuna.

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Grandpa Darrel, Godzilla, and Grandma.

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Grandma and The Princess.

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Grandma and the girls.

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Marie retired from her career in retails sales about four years ago.  She reached out to many and considered it her ministry.  Marie had gone through some painful experiences and God used her to minister to others.

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Marie had heart issues for many years.  She underwent several heart procedures.  The last procedure was different.  She went into with two expectations.  She would be physically healed, or God would restore her.  She was at peace with this knowledge.  God chose to restore her.  The doctors said they tried everything, but that her heart could not be fixed.  I think her her was just too tired from loving so much.

Goodbye to a beautiful woman, friend, wife, mother, and grandmother.  We will see you again.  But in the meantime you will be greatly missed.

Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11, 2005 – Gotcha Day!

I know many people cringe at the words “Gotcha Day” as they do not like how they come off, but I can think of no other way to describe it.  After spending about 22 hours in an airplane, we landed in Guangzhou around midnight on the 10th.  We were expecting our guide XiXi to be at the airport, but instead we were met by “Bob” and a driver.  Needless to say, it took a huge leap of faith to climb into the back of a van in the middle of the night with two men speaking Mandarin!

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We arrived at the White Swan hotel, checked in, and attempted to sleep. 

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I have to admit that the sight of this crib in our room almost made me hyper-ventilate!

On Sunday, we met the other families in our travel group.  We had been communicating via a Yahoo group for months, it was nice to finally meet everyone in person.  Our travel group was split into two provinces.  There were eight families with referrals from MaoNan SWI.  We would meet the remaining 15 families the following week.   Our guide XiXi and her cousin Bob guided us through filling out paperwork, etc.  We went through a little training session where XiXi would call out our child’s name in Mandarin, so we would know our child’s name when we received them on Monday.

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Our last breakfast as a family of four.  Don’t you love my attractive footwear?

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Around 1 p.m., all of our travel group met in the downstairs lobby of the White Swan to travel to the Civil Affairs office where we would receive our children.  For some families, this would be their first child, for others it would be their second adoption.  Regardless, we were all excited, nervous, and beside ourselves!

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It all seemed so surreal after months of dreaming of this moment.  We were herded into a conference room to wait as the babies had not yet arrived.  After giving birth two times, I can tell you this was the craziest “delivery room” I had been in.

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Someone was always peeking out the door watching until the babies were spotted!  The babies have entered the building!  Most gathered around the door trying to get their first peek of their child.  I was frozen to my seat. 

One by one they started to bring the babies in.  The Queen’s name was called!  I made my way to the door.

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My first glimpse of The Queen.

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I took her in my arms and said, “Hey Baby, I’m your Mama.”

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The Queen just stared, and stared at me with that same serious look we had seen in her referral photos.

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“Who are these strange looking and funny sounding people?”

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Godzilla had brought a few of his baby toys for The Queen.

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The Queen did not cry.  She just watched and watched everything.

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The Queen’s Ayi came over and showed us her tickle spot under her chin.  It was the first smile we saw!

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The Queen and her Ayi.

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We had the opportunity to ask the caretakers questions about our child.  At this point I could barely form words, much less put them into a question.  I asked some really silly, non-information questions.

We left after a bit and travelled back to our hotel completely smitten with this bundle of love.

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I cannot believe it has been six years since The Queen was placed into our arms. 

Happy Gotcha Day!

 

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 8, 2005 – The Trip (Literally)

Six years ago today we were on our flight to China to adopt The Queen.  But I would like to back up a few hours prior to our departure.  First, our adoption journey actually began about three years earlier (2002).  So, the fact that we had gotten to this point was truly a dream come true.

Our flight our of the US to China was scheduled for July 8, 2005.  We were departing out of an airport in another city.  We had decided to drive the afternoon before to the city, spend the night, and then fly out.  But we all know what they say about “the best laid plans..” 

The morning of July 7, 2005 I had finished packing our bags.  We were traveling as a family of 4, and going as “carry-on-only.”

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Four carry on bags and four backpacks with enough for five people.  I surprise myself sometimes.

Since Captain Daddy is a business owner, and as is usual for any type of vacations/time off, he had been working around the clock.  Which means I had only seen him in passing in the last few days. 

We were planning on leaving at 3:00 p.m.  I had been taking a Beth Moore Bible study, “Living Beyond Yourself, Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit.”  While waiting for Captain Daddy to come home I thought I would continue with the homework.  I was working on “Peace” and I must admit to having a felt very peaceful and calm at the moment.  About that time Captain Daddy called saying he wouldn’t be home for another hour or so.  He asked for me to go check something in the garage for him since he was running late.  I went out to the garage and on the way back into the house I stepped into hole in the yard.  Down I went and snap went my foot!  My easy, peaceful feeling immediately vacated my body!

My first response was, “I broke my foot!”  My second response was, ‘There is no way I just broke my foot!”  I was still in denial as I crawled back inside the house.  I thought if I just elevated my foot it would feel all better.  Wrong. When Captain Daddy came home I told him that we needed to make a quick stop by Medac on our way out of town.

The x-ray and doctor confirmed that my foot was broken.  He said that the type of fracture had about a 50-50 chance of healing without surgery as long as I stayed off my feet for the next few weeks.  I interrupted the doctor at that point to explain that whatever needed to be done to my foot had to be done right then and there because I was on my way to China and NOTHING was going to stop me.  The doctor just threw his hands up in the air, put a wooden bootie on my foot, and said, “good luck.”

It was now about 8:30 p.m. when we finally drove off into the sunset to get to our departure city.  But since Captain Daddy had been working so much and had so little sleep, he could not drive.  So I did.  With my broken foot.

So here we were on July 8, 2005 waiting to fly to China.

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My carry-on bag came in handy as a walker.  We made it to China, thanks to God and Ibuprofen. 

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to be continued….

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tiny Dancers

Three years ago, my girls began taking a ballet/tap/tumble class at a local dance studio.

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We really liked it, and it did wonders for my girls.  The studio was sold last summer and many of the things we liked about it changed.  At that point we decided not to continue with that studio, but were then too late to get in to another studio.  So last year we did not participate in dance classes.

This year we were able to get registered at a really good Christian dance school.  Yesterday we purchased all of the required dance items in anticipation of the classes starting in the fall (and also to take advantage of a big sale at the dance clothing store!).

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We will start with beginning ballet.

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The Queen is a “precision” kind of dancer.

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I think The Princess is mostly a “HipHop” kind of girl, so we will see how well this goes.