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
 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Three Months Ago Today...

Three Months Ago Today…
I will never forget how nervous and scared I was three months ago today.  I will never forget those precious little eyes that looked at me with fear as I held her like a baby as she cried.  I will never forget her emotional homecoming.  When I pause to consider how far we have all come, I know, in my heart of hearts, it was all the perfectly designed plan of our Father.  Now, we dance, we sing, and we have many conversations every day about how Airlie is not in charge of our house…ha ha!  Our once scared, fearful little girl is no longer living in fear.  She is one of the most confident, fun-loving, precious children I have ever known.  She definitely feels at home, and she certainly has a home and a forever family.  It seems crazy how we learn to love each one of our children more and more each day.  Their laughs, their smiles, their tears, their squeals…all make me so grateful for each moment we share. 
However, with all the blessings I am afforded, I know that much is expected.  I can honestly say that God is working in my heart daily and breaking it more and more.  147 million orphans.  The number is staggering and it is simply not okay with me.  I am haunted by my experiences in China.  It’s not a haunting that is scary…or maybe it is.  It’s a haunting that rips my heart to pieces every day.  The vivid imagery that plays in my head daily brings me to tears.  Children, pulling their bodies as close as possible to the edge of their cribs, just to get a glimpse of a REAL mom and dad.  Orphanages with no rocking chairs.  Children with no clothes, dragging their precious little feet through urine covered floors.  Row after row of baby beds…beds where no child is tucked in at night, read to, or kissed and hugged.  There are also the intimate souls of the children, and the desires of their hearts.  I can hear the conversation between a little girl and our translator, her begging the translator to ask us to take her too.  I can see the little boy’s face that led us around the orphanage, pointing to things he liked.  I can see the scar on his chest stretching from his throat to his waist.  I can hear the translator telling us of his desperate need for life-saving surgery in America, and I can also hear her telling us that he had no family identified at that time. 
These babies need us.  They are placed in an orphanage by no fault of their own; no action of their own.  Please join me in praying for a home for each of the 147 million orphans in the world.  They deserve an opportunity, a chance, but most importantly, they deserve LOVE. 
Here are some glimpses of our family's joyful, magnificent, and amazing journey over the last month.  God is good...




Airlie was a butterfly for Halloween

Cavan was an Army guy...


...and Kian was a very ANGRY shark!


When one goes to time out, the other two join for moral support!

Little Kian has fun where ever he goes...even to the doctor's office!

We had our first photo session with three kids...woo wee!  Cavan did great!

Kian did pretty good, but we didn't get too many smiles out of him!

Airlie?  NOT INTERESTED.  I have my work cut out for me...

My sweet China bug...

My sweet little bug...

My sweet love bug...

I was trying to pose them for a picture, but got this instead.




This is what happens when we say "smile!"  Ha ha

These three melt my heart.  I could sit and kiss on them all day...

Look at how proud Airlie is to be cuddled up with her daddy!  We had to take this same picture three times so that everyone could have a turn to sit by daddy.


Beyond Blessed But With A Broken Heart,
Stacy