Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year from Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland!



Have you ever heard "It's 5:00 somewhere?"  Well, that's what our crew decided at 6:59 tonight when we did our New Years countdown.  We even researched it enough to know that the new year was ringing in just a few miles away in Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland.  Population 469. 

We began our pajama party with lots and lots of food.  Keep in mind that the only guests were my sister's family of four.  Just about every dish was laden with cheese.  Who's counting though?  We don't weigh in until tomorrow!  After our wonderful dinner, we took a few photos of the kiddos in their party wear.  They are so cute and fun.  We are so blessed to have these five sweet gifts.
My nephew, Parker, and my Cavan were styling and profiling!

My niece, Macie, wore her party gear most of the night!  Amazing!
 
I do believe that Airlie had lots of fun at the party.  She LOVED the food and ended her meal by eating at least five of Auntie's cookies!

 
Little Kian wasn't a fan of the food or the beautiful glittery New Years Eve garb we bought.  However, he REALLY enjoyed the balloons!


 
After our dinner and photo session, our party TRULY began.  Jamie and Chris (without too many complaints) blew up about 200 balloons.  We placed them all in a sheet and when it turned midnight in Ittoqqortoormiit, we had a GRAND balloon drop in our den, followed by the popping of all 200 balloons!
 

The balloon drop at midnight....or 7 PM!

 
Poor Little tried his best to pop a balloon, but he just doesn't weigh enough.

 
Airlie?  She sat on the couch looking at us like we were crazy for popping all of those perfectly fun balloons!


 
Happy New Year from our family to yours!  May you love without boundaries and enjoy each moment that God gives you!  We can't wait to see what 2013 has in store for our family!

Love, Stacy & Crew

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

 
"Do not be afraid; for behold I bring you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord."
Luke 2:10-11
 
 
 
Merry Christmas to all of our friends!  It has been such a beautiful holiday to celebrate this year for our family!  We rejoice with the edition of our new member, Airlie, but we especially rejoice in knowing that our Saviour was born to seek and to save, to free the captives, and to lift our burdens and ease our fears. 
 
 
We have had so many quality family moments lately.  Moments that I love...moments that I wish could stand still.  A warm embrace from my Cavan, a squeal of pure joy from my Airlie, and the sound of my sweet Little laughing are moments when my heart simply overflows.  Sure, we have our moments that are a bit of a test.  For example, when Airlie and Little scrubbed the hardwood floor with a super thick layer of Eucerin cream.  Or when  Little and Airlie escaped out the back door one day and the front door the next.  Or when Little demonstrated his artistic side by utilizing a black, thick point Sharpie marker on our desk.  Or when I caught Little dancing on the dining room table while holding a poinsettia and receiving cheers from Airlie and Cavan.  I knew something was terribly wrong when I heard the chant "Go Kian! Go Kian! Go Kian!"  Or when I caught Airlie and Kian brushing ALL of the dolls' teeth with their toothbrushes and toothpaste on the COUCH.  I should probably stop....and that is really just the beginning!  No one can make this stuff up, and I am so glad the Lord has blessed me with a large amount of patience (most of the time).  I LOVE LOVE LOVE my babies in spite of their naughty creativity.  Any tips on channelling this so-called creativity are welcome!
 
Even on the Eucerin cream, Sharpie drawing, table dancing, doll tooth brushing, house escaping kind of days, I wouldn't change a single thing (except maybe pray for even MORE patience).  My babies are a joy.  My heart's delight. The love of my life.  The butter on my bread.  AND a true blessing from our King.  I am so glad he came to Earth and died for me.  I will live for him...and my first ministry is in my home.  Happy birthday Jesus!
 


 
Poor Macie didn't care for our Christmas Eve photo shoot.  Kian loves her so much!

 
 
Cavan would be an excellent boot model.  He loves his new boots.  Thank you Granny and Big Daddy.

 
Kian's new boots.

 
Pink ones!  Nice.....

 
Our last figure to add to our advent calendar was added today...baby Jesus!

 
Practicing with his new bb gun

 
How many cousins can fit on a bed?

 
I found this pile of half-clothed kids in the hall...

 
 
 
Even though she is three-years-old, it was my baby's FIRST Christmas!  I love her zest for life and how she embraces each moment with a thankful heart.  I am honored to live in a country where children that have been captives...by no choice of their own...can be free.  Free to love and serve the God that designed them to be the unique individuals that they are.  As Airlie says 100 times a day, "It's baby Jesus' birthday!"  May our hearts celebrate His birth every day...
 
Love, Stacy
 
 



Thursday, December 13, 2012

4 Months Together...

I tried to think of a catchy title for my blog today, but I finally settled on a typical title that says it all.  TOGETHER.  We are together.  Together as the unique, loving, and the perfectly-designed family we were created to be, faults and all.  We are all committed to our life together, no matter what.  And to think...just four months and one day ago, our baby girl had no idea what FAMILY TOGETHERNESS was.  No love of a mother, father, or brothers.  No excited passion for a Gigi, Big Daddy, or Grandaddy.  Four months later?  She is fitting right in...

I suggested that they hug for these pictures.  That is probably why it appears forced.  Ha ha....However, they really do hug several times a day.  They all love each other so much!

 I can think of no better way to celebrate our four-month-as-a-family-of-five anniversary than to share how God is using Airlie to touch other people's hearts.  Meet the Shepherd Family...


They are some of our sweetest, kindest, most compassionate friends.  They are a family that HEARD and HAS ANSWERED (two very different things!) God's call for them to adopt an orphan.  I believe that God was working on them way before Airlie danced into their lives.  However,  I also believe that in His perfectly orchestrated plan for both of our families, Airlie was placed with us to touch their hearts as well. 

It's amazing to see the aftermath of the power of His plan for our lives.  God never calls us on a mission that He doesn't adequately provide what we need.  Adopting Airlie has proven this fact to me over and over.  Did I worry every single day about the financial aspect of the adoption?  Sure...every day for three years.  Did I need to?  No. God provided every cent in crazy-cool ways.  Did I worry about how she would fit into our family?  Yes.  Did I need to?  No.  Did I worry about her special needs and if we could provide the type of care she needed?  Tremendously!  Should I have?  No...Vanderbilt did not even refer her for a single developmental evaluation.  When she cried tears of pain for four days in my arms, grieving for the loss of all she had ever known, should I have worried?  No, but I did.  Honestly, it was so emotionally difficult that I even doubted His plan. 

Four months later, it all sounds crazy.  Why do we worry?  God is in control and PROVIDES for us.  He loves us enough to encourage us  to lay our bags of worry at His feet and allow Him to take them for us.  He takes the weight from us so that we can travel light.  Please join me in praying for my friends, the Shepherds.  I can't wait until they begin their blog so that I can share their journey with you.  One more orphan is going to be rescued.....HOORAY!!!!!! 

(P.S.  That's the GREAT news that I have been waiting to share!)

Here are a few photos that capture the happenings around our house.  It may look chaotic, but it is PLANNED CHAOS!  God has a plan for these sweet babies and He is using them to touch other's lives even at their young ages.  Isn't that the coolest thing ever?

Airlie's hair is just getting long enough to stand straight up after a rest!

Little is climbing on EVERYTHING these days...and falling.  Note the gigantic bruise on his forehead.

Airlie enjoyed her first Christmas party last weekend!

Airlie always chooses to wear Cavan's camo hat.  She is truly Chris's child!

Cavan's new preferred hairstyle is the "spiky dinosaur."  He named the style "all by his own self."

They went missing for five seconds, and I found them in the bathtub, clothed (well, partially), running their own bath water.

The cat won.  I have been warning her....

It's been four months and one hour and 43 minutes.  Wow how our lives have changed!  We are TOGETHER.



John 14:18

New International Version (NIV)
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Please pray for the Shepherd Family as they begin their journey and as they BOLDLY follow God's call.  I love them.

Blessings, Stacy

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sweet Moments


We have had many sweet moments with our babies as we enter the holiday season!  I just love Christmas!  We managed to decorate both of our trees, and they are still standing.  Considering the fact that we have three kids under four-years-old, I think that is remarkable! 

Cavan is really debating on his list for Santa.  He is having trouble choosing between all of the 100 Nerf guns that are on "Internet.com" (that's what he calls it when he asks to look at toys online!), an art easel and paint, and superhero costumes.  Daddy is pushing for a BB gun.  Daddy may have some influence over Santa's decision, so I suppose we will have to wait and see!  Underneath all of the Santa stuff, Cav will be the first to tell you all about the true reason we celebrate Christmas.  I especially enjoy his dramatics when he says, "The angels appeared in the sky and said wait!  Don't be scared!  I have come to give you good news.  Jesus is born!" 

Little Kian just lives for the moment.  He is enjoying our advent calendar that will eventually display the nativity.  Our sweet friend Sue also sent us an online advent calendar.  All of the kids really like it, but I especially love to watch Kian's face as we enter our virtual cottage every night to see what the day's surprise will be.  He GLOWS with delight! 

Airlie is taking in everything in an attempt to figure out Christmas.  Last Sunday night, we drove through a living nativity scene at a local church in our county.  Airlie and Kian squealed with delight when they saw the camels and donkeys.  It was precious.  The most precious part, however, occurred as we were driving home.  We were listening to Steven Curtis Chapman's Christmas CD. On the CD is a song titled All I Really Want for Christmas.  It is about orphans and how all they REALLY want for Christmas is to have a family.  Of course, the song itself had me all teared up.  What truly touched my heart was Airlie's comment after the song.  I explained to the kids that last year Airlie did not have a family and this year she does.  Chris, Cavan and I talked about how thankful we were that Airlie was with us this year. Our conversation ended like this:

Me:  "....and so this year Airlie has a family!"
Airlie:  "Yes, yes.....and my school.....and my Jesus!"

She is so grateful for the important stuff.  She has taught me so much, and I am the blessed one.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
God places the lonely in families...   Psalm 68:6

Thursday, November 22, 2012

ThanksLIVING!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our blog friends!  We have been on such a powerful journey during the last year.  Our lives have been changed, FOREVER!  Thanksgiving has so much more meaning today, and every day.  I can truly say I am celebrating ThanksLIVING daily, with an abundant heart that is overflowing with God's rich blessings!

Happy ThanksLIVING  from my crew!  Despite the looks on our faces, we really are a happy bunch.  This was our 150th (at least) attempt at a family photo with everyone looking at the camera!

 
When I consider all of the things I am thankful for, my Savior is the first and foremost.  He carried me and my sins to the cross and suffered, ultimately DYING, so that I may live.  Wow!  I am just so honored to be adopted into God's family and be a child of His.  I am honored, but so very undeserving.  Somehow, in the midst of my life's chaos, He still finds a way to use me, a sleep deprived, working mother of three kids under four years of age.  I wouldn't have my life any other way, not for a second.  And my daily goal is to honor Him in all that I do.  Thank you Jesus for seeing the good in me and using it for your glory!  I can't wait to see what He has in store for my life over the next year!

When my kids were in my womb, I remember praying, asking the Lord to give me children that would be world changers; kids that would make a difference in this world for His glory.  I prayed that prayer daily for four years.  When I hit year four, I felt like the Lord was saying to me loud and clear that if I truly wanted to raise kids that were going to change this world, I needed to show them that I could change the world.  I have no idea what God has in store for me, but I am ready.  I am ready to be the change that I want to see in the world.

Opening our hearts and our home to our sweet baby girl Airlie has been life changing.  Chris and I were chatting today about Thanksgiving and about how special it is every time we have a new baby to be thankful for.  This year is super special!  We have a little girl that now has HOPE!  She now has LOVE, A FAMILY, and BOUNDLESS OPPORTUNITIES!  Last Thanksgiving, she was 1 of 170 kids under four years of age, who went to sleep in a room in one of fifteen baby beds without being told she was loved unconditionally, who was left to console herself when upset, who was likely hungry, and never kissed good night.  This Thanksgiving, her life has changed.  Through God's divine and absolutely PERFECT plan, her old life has passed and her new life has began.  I am so incredibly humbled and honored that God has chosen us to be her parents.  I am forever thankful that her life has HOPE...

I am also incredibly thankful for my Cavan and Kian.  They are compassionate, caring children that are learning so much every day.  I am doing my best to teach them to see the bigger picture and not just focus on their wants and needs.  That's challenging for a four and one year old!  I was so proud when we made our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes last week.  They were so excited to make them and overjoyed to turn them in at church! 

Chris is so supportive of all of the WONDERFUL ideas (ha ha) that I have!  I am thankful that he is a man that loves his family and listens to God's call for our lives.  I am thankful for my parents.  They are such kind hearted, generous folks.  My daddy, who has battled Multiple Sclerosis for years, is a daily inspiration for me.  The challenges he faces each moment are enough to bring me to tears just thinking about them....yet, he takes it all in stride and stays so incredibly positive!  He is PRECIOUS!  I am thankful for my sis and her hubby, and my BEAUTIFUL niece and nephew.  They light up my sky...

My heart is just overwhelmed with thanks to my loving God for the beautiful life He has given me.  Here are some of my favorite photos from the last couple of weeks:




We made these super cool turkey shirts.  The backdrop of this photo is an autumn colored abstract painting by the Daniels' children. 

 
Trying to take pictures is so challenging with three kids....poor kids.

 
Airlie and Kian getting ready for their baby dedication last Sunday.

Airlie and Kian's baby dedication was last Sunday.  The sweetest thing....Airlie has carried her Bible around all week and has made sure that everyone knows that it is hers.  She calls it "my Jesus."   The word "Bible" just isn't sticking....
Oh and Bro. Trent, do you mind if we use your picture in our blog???
 
Airlie holding "my Jesus"

 
Bath time fun!

 
Cousin love!

 
Hanging out with her cousin Audrey....pure joy!

 
I am thankful for my Cav...

...and for my sweet Little...
 
...and for our newest edition, Airlie!


May we live every day giving thanks,
Stacy