Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Just Live by Faith

Well, once again, I'm feeling really down about the adoption. Let me be more clear, not the adoption, but the TIMELINE of the adoption. I know you've all heard me say it before... we expected to be home with our daughter Christmas 07. Ha!
I thought once we accepted Jia's referral it would be better, and it was for a while. I had things to do. Gather dossier documents... again, check. Get everything notarized, certified and authenticated... again, check. Go through the homestudy... again, check. Drive the social worker nuts until she completes the homestudy... again, check.
You get the picture, I had things to accomplish, checks to write, people to politely call, daily... But once everything was submitted to CCAA... again, there was nothing I could do to 'push' the process. It is totally out of my hands and all I can do is.... wait. Ugh.
I never really thought of my self as a control freak... I mean I do 'prefer' the dishwasher loaded a certain way, the towels folded a certain way, the van pulled into the garage at a certain angle... (hmmm!!!) As long as I had some 'control' over the process, I was good. But now... well you get the picture!
Anyway, I was reading in my bible tonight and ran across a favorite verse in Habakkuk.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it taries, wait for it, Because is will surely come, It will not tarry. Habakkuk 2:3
An appointed time speaks of a determined time in God's eyes, not mine. God knows His plan and how it will all work out according to His purpose. The fullfillment of the vision will not take any longer than God has planned all along.

Why is it so hard to give up control, or better yet, realize I'm not in control. Oh, I may think I am, but I'm forgetting Who really is. I'm not trusting Him, His plan, purpose or timing. Although His Word tells me His way is perfect, I want it my way. Do I want to wait for perfection? Or do I want to settle for less?
I am human though, and the thought of Jia still in the orphanage, not having someone hold her, love her, teach her, touch her, play with her etc... it breaks my heart. I know how blessed I am with my family now and I don't mean to discount that. But I also feel a real pain from wanting my daughter home. Each day she misses out on her family and we miss out on her. I feel stuck, not complete. I want to move forward, but I feel like I'm on pause.
I'm sure once the weather warms up, we can get outside, the boys will start baseball... the time will go by more quickly. I know it will all be worth it when I finally hold her. I know in the grand scheme of things, this is just a bleep on the radar... but that doesn't make it any easier right now.
People are so kind and always ask if we know something, but it just serves as a reminder that, unfortunately we don't. It's just hard, it stinks.
Maybe I'll write out that verse and put it on my bathroom mirror. Oh, and at my desk at work. And probably in my car would be good to...
Now I think I'll go listen to that awesome song by John Waller from Fireproof... Worship While I'm Waiting...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

He heard my cry...

Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD! Psalm 27:14
I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry. Psalm 40:1
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25
Yesterday started out as such a low day. LOA's usually come in on Monday's and many people were announcing their good news. There are some days I feel like I'll wait forever. Each step has always taken longer than I originally thought it should.

In the beginning, we were told 8 - 10 months. I thought I'd be home with my daughter by Christmas 2007!!! Boy was I wrong! So anyway... you get the picture! Some days are so hard. To barrow the line from Facing the Giants... "I keep asking myself how I can miss someone so much that I've never even met."

Then at lunch time my friend Sherri showed up at work and we got to have lunch together at Huckleberry's! She has been in Texas taking care of her parents since the first of December, and her dad recently passed away. It was so good to see her and spend time with her. She brought gifts for Jia, but unfortunately I left them at work and don't have pictures to post.

When I got home, I had this lovely little box from my new friend Aimee! Aimee and her husband are adopting a little girl from the same orphanage as Jia! So right now, Jia and Caiya are sista's! Aimee had made matching dresses for the girls and also included some adorable barrettes and a quilt square for Jia's 100 Good Wishes Quilt. Although Caiya will live in SC, she has family in S MO, so the next time they're close we are totally getting together! It has been glorious getting to know Aimee and I look forward to sharing many stories about our daughters in the future!
Aimee- your gift really cheered me up and thank you so much! I can't wait to bless you in return!
Here's my quilt square and sqwish from Aimee and Caiya!

Here is the dress that Aimee made for Jia. Isn't it just beautiful?! I love the toile fabric and simply can't wait to see Jia in this!

Check out the hem!!!!!! What a seamstress!

Another bow! I just can't wait! I am praying for an opportunity to get a photo of Jia and Caiya in their matching dresses! Oh how I wish it were in China, as Aimee and her husband already have their LOA and tenative travel dates for May. (sigh)

Anyway... I believe God heard my cry and gave me some encouragement. I will wait patiently upon Him. I know His ways and His timing is perfect.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Dr. Olswing

Today was Dr. Olswings birthday so I made Pioneer Womans cake balls for the occasion!
Grant it they don't look nearly as adorable as PW,
but they tasted very good!

To make the cake balls, first you make a cake! After it's baked and cooled, you crumble it up and mix in a tub of frosting. Then refridgerate it until it's firm enough to roll into balls. I did this last weekend and then froze my cake balls.
PW used a little plastic candy mold to make hers.. well here in N Mo, those aren't readily available... so I used my mini muffin tin. Rather than them being bite size... they require 2 bites!
Here are the cake balls after being put in the chocolate in the mini muffin tins.

Next you dip them in the white chocolate, sprinkle some sprinkles on them and top with an M&M.

When Dr. Olswing walked in and seen them on her desk she squealed "ARE THESE BAKARELLA'S?" Apparently, I"m not the only PW follower in our office!
I think she liked them! Happy Birthday!

Check back tomorrow to see the contents of a special package I got in the mail today!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

FCCLA Daffodil Days

Jadeth's FCCLA group sold daffodils all over town today to raise $$ for the American Cancer Society. His group of kids was set up at Pamida and there were others at HyVee and I don't know where else.

So anyway, I dragged my self out of bed on Saturday morning to go buy daffodils! Over all, Jadeth said they raised over $400! Way to go guys!


Okay, we're sitting in our new Sunday School class last week and we're disussing the 'Covenant Couples' group. Remember we're new at church, but I think that the couples get together monthly and do something fun. They have babysitting at the church and do something different each time.
The last time they all went out for Mexican food and bowling. Jack and I had just started at that time and weren't comfortable leaving Jory with sitters just yet. But we are soooo excited for the next one!
Anyway... we're throwing out ideas of what we might like to do in the future and someone mentions karaoke. It brought back memories and I thought it would be fun to share!
Years ago.... I mean years.... we had 11 other couples that we were really close to and hung out with all the time. So we decided to start a 'Party of the Month' club! Each month one couple would host and plan an evening for all of us. We went bowling, had a newlywed game after one couple married (I was the mastermind behind that one and it was the most fun ever!), we had a dart tournament, we barbequed, we had a scavenger hunt and the one I want to share about was a 'Fear Factor' party!
Remember I said it's been 'years' ago, so I can't recall all of the details. We worked as couples and it come down to where each of us had to do a 'stunt'. One of us was going to have to get locked in a trunk with pet mice crawling on us and one of us was going to have to sing karaoke. I remember we argued over who was getting locked in the trunk! No karaoke for us thank you very much!
THANKFULLY!!! enough of the other couples at church spoke out against karaoke that we're not doing it! Jack and I were laughing after church saying we were definately going to skip that night if they did karaoke!
BTW... I had to do the karaoke that night at the party... It was very sad!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Random Thoughts...

Tonight Jack and I attended Wednesday night bible study at, what I think will soon officially be our new church, if they'll have us. That's another post... but we're excited! It's been a while since we've been in a bible study group or Sunday school group. We attended both this week and are very happy! So, tonight our bible study was all about forgiveness. Pastor Randy asked me if I felt the study went okay and if he made his point. The answer is yes.

But what he doesn't know was that something that he said got my thoughts going another way entirely. I sort of went off on my own for a bit... (sorry!)

We read the verses, Romans 14:8-10 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

I believe after reading vs. 8 - Owe no one anything... Pastor Randy paused and asked "wouldn't it be nice to owe no one anything?" Here's where I went down my own path... Yes, that would be nice! In fact, that would be down right awesome. But it bothers me that I worry so much about paying my financial debts, but I don't worry about the one debt I owe, I could NEVER pay.
I must let you all know that I have the best loan officer in the world! I do! I can call him up at his home at 9PM from 2 hours away and say "I want to buy this jeep I'm looking at" and he'll tell me "write and check and come by the bank in the morning." WOW! True story!
I do worry about paying my loan payment to his bank... because I want to be able to borrow again someday, because he's been kind to us, because it's the right thing to do, etc... I worry about how I would look if I defaulted on my loan... But as kind as our banker has been to us... it's nothing compared to what Jesus did for us.

He paid a debt for me that was so great... I would never be able to pay it myself. And He doesn't ask for monthly installments in return. He did it out of LOVE for me. I'm asking myself why I don't worry more about how I look to Him. What Christ did for me when He died on the cross is worth everything to me... a little 'ole home loan can never compare. Why do I fret over how I look to my banker... and the world.... but I forget about the One who loved me so much He willingly took my shame and wrongdoing upon himself and died in my place.
There are times I'm guilty of thinking I'm better than someone else, because they've done worse things than me. I'll think to myself... 'Well I may have drank alcohol, but I've never even seen drugs... I'm glad I don't have that shame to carry around.' But Jesus, Who is perfect, took my ugly shame and sin upon Himself willingly. And right now He's sitting at the right hand of the Father interceeding on my behalf constantly... because I need it a lot.
But often I don't think about how what I do or what I say reflects on Him. It just irritates me that I worry more about what the world thinks of me than what Christ see's when He looks at me. After all He's done for me... He paid a debt He didn't owe, I owe a debt I can never pay.

I get that Salvation is a FREE GIFT. I can't earn it, I don't have to be 'good' to get it... but shouldn't I want to be? Shouldn't I be appreciative of that gift, not take it for granted?
Why? Why? Why? do I worry so much about financial freedom, but I don't accept the freedom I have in Christ?
I know... it's a process... I'm human... I'm working on it daily... pressing on toward the goal...
Unconditionally Surrendered... Joy

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patricks Day!

May your neighbors respect you,
Trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And heaven accept you.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fun Day with the Boys

Today Jack had to work, so I took Jacen and Jory to Bethany. We bought Jacen a new skateboard and then headed to Bethany's 'tiny' skatepark. Unfortunately it was locked up, so we just went to the park for lunch.
Well, Jacen wasn't about to miss out on skating...
so he found some picnic tables lined up
and jumped off of them.
This little shelter is where we used to have our family
reunions when I was very little.

Jacen being a 'cool dude'!!! And yes... that's the new skateboard all scratched up.

Jory monkeying around!

Jory and I... doesn't he look thrilled to stop playing
long enough to pose for picture??? NOT!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

4 Things

To go along with my 'regrets' post yesterday... I ran across this and wanted to share.

Four things you can't recover:
The stone.......after the throw.
The word.........after it's said.
The occasion........after it's missed.
The time..........after it's gone.

Sound off...

Okay, I'm not going to start a big 'ole post about regrets... big ones anyway... but I am going to share a little one. Have you ever wished you'd spoken up when you didn't and regretted it? Yesterday I went into Casey's and this cute, enthusiastic young girl was running the counter when an older 'salesman' come in to speak with the manager. He walked in and asked "how are you?" and the young girl replied "Fabulous!" Then the dirty old man, I mean older salesman said "I heard that about you."
How wildly inappropriate and disgusting. He went back out to his car to make a phone call when the manager did come in. I so wish I had told her not to do business with the jerk. All the way back to work I was thinking I should have said something....
What a jerk....
Anyone else have those moments?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cool T's....

Hey I just found this site for cool Christian T Shirts! Wild Olive Tees!
I LOVE Christian T shirts with a message... that's what I wear. Totally a jeans and Tshirt kind of gal!
What's even better... when you buy a Tshirt, 10% goes to charity!
Buy a Tshirt and GIVE all at once! Each month is a new charity and this month is Shohannah's Hope. It doesn't get much better than that!
If you buy before the end of March not only do you get a cool T and free shipping... but you help support Shohannah's Hope as well!
So go buy a T and Get Your Verse On!
Oh, and if you don't need a Tshirt, I'll take an XL please ( I like mine loose!) - any style!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Great News!

A Child’s Right has been given a generous donation that will allow them to put a water filtration system into every orphanage in China. Last year they were given access to all orphanages, and this year they have the funding to make it happen.
You can read all about it at The Huffington Post.
You can see the orphanages on a map at A Child’s Right.
Wens orphanage is listed as 'funded'. God bless the generous giver.
And to take a look at their upcoming trips all over the world, go here.
Clean water should be a right, not a luxury.
We truly take for granted how extremely blessed we are in the United States.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

With Sympathy...

My great friend Sherri lost her father last night after much suffering. She has been in Texas with him since before Christmas. She still has a long road ahead of her.
Your family is in my prayers....

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Jack Rocks!

I told you we went to Acquire the Fire this last weekend and just like any other event you may go to, they sell Tshirts, hoodies, books, CD's, necklaces, scarves, bags, etc....
On Friday, I spotted this really adorable bag. I don't really need a bag, and for me, it's too big for a purse. But it was so cute! Well, Friday we talked about needs vs. wants. This adorable little bag fell into the 'want' pile for me.
I kept seeing this little bag all day on Saturday and kept commenting on how cute it was and how I thought it would be a cute little diaper bag for Jia. Yes, I know that Jia turned 3 in January. But most likely she will still be in diapers and there's just 'stuff' we'll need to carry around for a while! But I didn't give in a buy it.
So it's about 9:30 PM Saturday night and we're waiting to leave. People are making their last minute bathroom stops before we get on the bus and we are literally fixin' to leave KC. Well, I couldn't find Jacen. I was afraid he'd gone on to the bus. So Jack wondered off, I figured to look around for him. Well, turns out Jacen was right where he should've been, with the group. He was just tired and not making any noise!
So Jack comes back and stands next to me and we're on ready to go. I keep bouncing back and forth in my head, should I go get the bag? Should I not? Do I really need it? Will there be any left? Will I regret it if I don't? Will I never see anything as cute as this bag and always be sorry? Well, I voiced my thoughts and asked Jack "Do you think we should just go 'look' at the bag before we go?" Jack said "This bag?" and held up the bag he had just bought for me when I thought he was looking for Jacen.
All the girls were Ohhhhing and Ahhhhing over how sweet he was! He really played that right! No, all sarcasm aside, it was entirely sweet and I truly appreciated it! It was so kind of him to go buy it for me and surprise me with it rather than discouraging me from getting it or even giving me the money to go get it myself. I was really touched! It will always be Jia's bag that daddy bought for her at ATF!
Isn't it cute?

The inside is red polka dots to match my blog!

Monday, March 2, 2009

We are beyond thrilled to finally introduce you all to our daughter! We've known it's a sure thing since October, but our agency wanted us to get to a certain point with our paperwork before sharing pictures and information.
Her name is Gang Qiu Wen and she is in Maoming City, Guangdong Pr.... a beach baby! Her birthday is January 7th, 2006. So she just turned 3!
Gang is her surname and it means Harbor/HongKong. If you look at the location on the map, you'll understand. It is the last name of all kids in her orphanage.
Qiu would be her first name and it means Autumn/Harvest. There are many kids in her orphange who share this first name.
Wen is what we would consider her middle name here. It means multi colored clouds. This name has some sort of significance to her specifically or the day she was brought to the orphanage. So this is the name that they most likely address her as.
Since she is most likely called Wen or Wen Wen in the orphanage and we really LIKE that name, we may end up calling her that... there's a theme there... A lot of our early years were all about WIN!!! Then it became all about WHEN???? and from now on it's all about WEN!!!!
We will officially name her Jiana Ellan Qiu Wen Stotts. Jiana means God's Grace and that she is. In the very beginning we looked at Chinese names and found Jia - but I thought it need to be a little more 'flowery' if you will, so I made it Jiana and we'll call her Jia or Wen, depending... Ellan is signifcant, just as the middle name of all 3 of our boys... I'll keep you guessing on that one. And I know the Qiu Wen makes it a mouth full, but her name is the only thing that she has that's really 'hers' and so we're keeping it. No, we won't yell out the full name when she's in trouble. Heck, she'll probably never get in trouble, but it will be on her paperwork. It's there if she wants it down the road.

This is the very first picture we seen of Wen... Her referal picture.
Those are the lips I fell in love with!
These are frozen shots from a video we received of Wen. The video was taken in July of 2008. At the time of this update she weighed 18 pounds and was 28 inches tall.

And this picture is within the last 2 weeks! We requested updated photo's and this is what they emailed us! I was shocked at how much her hair has grown! I hope they don't cut it again! We also got new measurements. She is currently 22 pounds and 31 inches tall. It's good to know that she is growing, but still such a peanut. On the US size charts, her weight puts her in a size 12/18 months and her height in an 18/24 months size. When I got the updated measurements, I went home and went through all the clothes I have bought. It's been 3 years, mind you! I'll have to change her 3 times a day at least to make it through all the little sundresses this summer!

We switched agencies entirely to adopt Wen, so that meant starting from scratch with paperwork and it's taking longer. Our paperwork has been submitted and CCAA has sent word that they have it. They will have to review it and send up an official LOA (letter of acceptance) to sign and then they will send us travel approval. At this point, I've seen LOA's come anywhere from 6 days to over 90. So it's really hard to tell when we'll travel. Our new agency rocks and they are really going to bat for us to speed things up!
More later....

Happy Birthday Dad

My dad turned 67 February 25th. Since my brother is a truck driver, we usually have our celebrations on the weekends. So after church on Sunday, we went to my parents to have lunch with them and my brother, Rob.
Jory took my camera and was snapping pictures. I thought a few (of the thirty+ that he took) were pretty cool. It's fun to see what Jory was seeing and what he wanted to get pictures of. Usually I find my camera full of pictures of our cat, the TV with Spongebob on (lots of those), Jory's toy cars and trucks lined up on his dresser, lots of pictures of his teeth, up his nose, etc...
But here are a few he took today!

This is of my mom's and my brother's arm, with Rob's bowl of vegetable soup.
It just looks artsy to me!

Here's my Dad's legs under the table!

My Dad taking a drink of his iced tea.

And finally one of me!

Like I said, my brother owns and drives his own semi. I've also mentioned in previous posts how terribly he spoils my boys and always has something for them. Well, today was no different. He said he had 'playdough' in his truck for Jacen and Jory. Well, this isn't exactly the kind of 'playdough' I was imagining. It makes 'sounds' if you catch my drift... I said "I have never seen anything like this before" and my dad replied "well, you don't shop at a truckstop". True! 'Nuff said!
Here's a little video of Jory and Uncle Rob, playing with the 'playdough'!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

ATF 2009

This weekend end, Jack, Jacen and I attended Acquire the Fire at Kemper Arena in KC. This was my 5th AFT event and Jack and Jacen's 2nd. We've also bought our tickets for next year already! Our seats, once again, were the 4th and 5th row from the stage, center section.
You couldn't ask for better seats, but I could've asked for better bands this year! Unhindered led worship again and I think that they're awesome! Friday night we seen Leeland. I really like them as well. We seen them open for Casting Crowns last year. I was excited for Jacen to see Leeland, because the lead singer has that 'skater' look to him.
But Saturday was Everyday Sunday... not too bad, but not my thing. The lead singer was obviously not feeling well and cut their session short. God bless him, he did great and gave it his all, but you could just tell he was miserable. Then Thousand Foot Crutch took the stage. Sorry! Too much head banging. Although the kids like it and that's what ATF is all about, so there you go! I lived! It will be very hard for ATF to beat their 08 event with the 'BEMA' drama and the Newsboys! That was my favorite year of all!
So anyway, we leave our town, about 1 and 1/2 hours from KC. It's calling for 5 inches on snow at home and just a 'dusting' in KC.... As you can tell by the picture, the opposite happened! Not a bit of snow in N MO!