Saturday, July 21, 2012

The wise man built his house upon the rock...

Hello again, anyone who happens to come across my humble little blog!  It's been a long time, and I thought I would make an appearance just in case you missed me... ; )  We are all doing well and enjoying our summer.  I hope you are too!

I went on a field trip of sorts with Josh today.  We visited an 82- year old man who lives with his wife out in the country, not too far from our home.  They live on a century-old Christmas tree farm that has slowly shrunk over the years as acres have been sold to neighbors.  Several acres remain, but other things have taken place of the Christmas trees.  There is a thriving garden there, boasting ripening veggies and a beautiful section just reserved for flowers.  There is a great old tree with about 15 bird feeders hanging from it, as if saying "Don't worry...there is room for all of you!"  There is a homely little cocker spaniel who runs around greeting guests with the happiest little smile and waggy tail you ever saw. And there is a hammock just waiting invitingly for any weary soul who wants to come and rest.

But the thing you will notice the most about this charming old home and property, is that this man collects rocks.  And when I say he collects rocks, I mean that in a very BIG way!  He has several  boulders, some of them more than 7,000 pounds!  And huge, garden-sized plots full of large stones of all kinds.  He has every kind of rock you can think of displayed as neatly as he could manage it, all over his backyard.  It's amazing!  He had been collecting these rocks for about twelve years until a couple of years ago when he decided he was getting too old to be going "rocking" anymore, as he called it.  We went there with the rock club we belong to, and it was a special treat for geology enthusiasts.  But what made the day so special to me was not so much the rocks, but the way God spoke to me through the very special man who so painstakingly collected them.

"Buck," as he likes to be called, is as charming a man as you would ever want to meet.  He is one of those sweet grandpa-types who has a kind word for everyone, a love for children, a twinkle in his eye, and a little mischief up his sleeve.  I enjoyed talking to him and listening to him share his stories of how he got those rocks. And as you spend time with him, you just feel like you have always known him.  Or at least you wish you would have.  You can tell that he is not the sort who would let the cares and stresses of this world get him down. When it was time to leave, I was sad that I would not have a good excuse to go and visit him again.  This sweet man who has lived a long, full life and has seen a little bit of everything, I would imagine,  has a way about him that emanates peace and contentment, and you can't help but just being drawn to him.  

I left his home wondering all the way why I am not that sort of person.  Why do I worry over every little thing so often the way that I do?  Why do I get myself all in a tizzy about this and that?  Mostly little things that will most certainly work themselves out with just a little time and trust. 

And I continued that train of thought and began to zero in on that one word in my mind...  TRUST. 

Maybe if we truly did trust God in everything--  like He so lovingly reminds us to all throughout His Word.  Maybe if we really DID let it all go and just let Him have it.  ALL of our worries.  All of our cares that take up so much space in our fretting little minds.    Maybe if we all decided to not be stressed.  Just as simple as that.  Maybe then we could have the kind of peace and contentment that Buck has found.  And maybe, just maybe, that heart full of joy that is so evident in him has been the secret to the long life he's lived...and it's a better medicine than every pill and herb and healthfood trend that's out there. 

I don't know, but through my visit with Buck and his amazing rock farm today, God helped me to remember once again the secret to that abundant life He's given.  And I am thankful I had the privilege of meeting a special man.  I won't soon forget our new friend.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sarah's new violin!

I am blogging even though I SHOULD be cleaning up the kitchen and ironing the clothes for the morning.  Procrastinating is such a lovely option, though, isn't it?

Just thought you might like to see Sarah's violin skills lately..

 See?  This can be a guitar, a cello, AND a violin!  And did you know markers can be a bow?

It is a bit awkward to use, however.

 Here is her newer model.  Much more compact.

 She made sure to include a shoulder rest just like Josh's.  Makes it much more comfortable to use.

And it stores so nicely.  I told you it was compact!

Sarah loves her special instruments, but she does realize that a real, live violin would sound better.  She finds pictures of real ones around, and brings them to me, asking me if she can have "one of these tiny violins."  I always tell her, yes, someday.  (Josh's teacher says it's fine if we wait a year or two for her, although I would like to get her started if we had the extra cash doing Suzuki, or something.  Anyone want to donate or discount some lessons for this poor, desperate girl?!  Or have a "tiny" violin laying around you don't need anymore??)  Okay, I'm kidding.  Kind of.

And don't worry.  She has not given up her dreams of playing piano and cello as well.  Just tonight I was letting her watch some Youtube videos.  I typed in Itsy Bitsy Spider, per her request.  She scanned all the thumbnails, trying to select the perfect Itsy Bitsy Spider video to view, and decided on a piano tutorial on how to PLAY Itsy Bitsy Spider.  She watched it intently, and then watched several more tutorials featuring various other favorite tunes.  Of course, her little fingers were poised just perfectly on the desk, playing along.

Oh.  And just so you know, she is unique, but not THAT crazy.  After that, she did get to business watching some good old water spout fun cartoons.  I wonder when she will ever tire of that song?

Have a great week, everyone! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dre-e-e-e-eam...Dream, Dream, Dream!

The other day my hubby took the kids up to spend half the day with his parents.  I decided to stay home and try to get stuff done, and uninterrupted, to boot.  Before they left, my hubby said to me,

"Make sure you do something you enjoy while we're gone.  Don't spend the whole time cleaning."

Oooohhh...did you catch that?  A direct order to do something I enjoyed while I had some time.  A "no-guilt," free pass to do something fun and luxurious!!!  Well, I don't know about the luxurious part.  But still... 

Problem was, I really, really needed to do a lot of work around the house.  Drat.  And, I had plans for the evening, so I really didn't have all that much time to take advantage of this awesome offer.

But what if I did?.......

What if I had a whole, entire DAY to do whatever I wanted?  WHATEVER I wanted??  A day to spend on myself.  What would I do?  What would you do?

Feel free to dream with me for a moment.

First, of course, I would sleep in.  If I did not need to get up and start school or go anywhere pressing, I would most definitely sleep in.  And when I woke up, I would stay in bed for a while, just enjoying my warm, comfy covers. I would spend an extra long time enjoying my time with God that day.  Nothing sweeter! 

If it was warm outside, (and since I am dreaming, I am ordering a warm day) I would go for a nice, long walk, just enjoying the sunshine and birds singing.  Back at home, I would sit outside with my breakfast.  My children could only join me if they promised not to say MOM a hundred times.  I would watch them playing and enjoy their sweet laughter.  (What?  It happens like that occasionally!)

Next, I would get ready and head out the door, all by myself.  I'd start by meeting a friend for a yummy iced coffee somewhere.  Then, I would go to some garage sales or thrift stores, or shop some clearance racks.   Nothing makes me happier than finding  the best deal!  (And that is what I did with my little bit of time the other day.  I got some fantastic deals.  So much stuff for the store price of just one of the items I  bought.  The joy!)

I would go to the library, or maybe a book store.  I could spend as much time as I wanted!  Mmmmm....the smell of books.  The feel of the pages.  None of those new-fangled Kindle-type devices for me. 

Then....I would go to a museum!  I would go by myself.  Alone is best so that I could take as much time as I wanted reading EVERYTHING with no one to hurry me along.  I have never been able to do that before!

By now, it might be growing late in the day.  I would call my hubby and invite him to go out to eat with me.  Some romantic music playing in the car, my choice of restaurant.....something Italian.  Maybe a little place downtown I've never been to.  Perhaps after dinner we could take a stroll together enjoying the twilight time.  We could end the evening with a movie...  In my dream I am imagining there is something great playing that is rated G and is not a cartoon.  It's a DREAM, remember? 

Finally, at home, the kids are already snuggled in their beds, the kitchen has been cleaned, the dishwasher is sweetly humming.  I check on my sleeping angels, retrieve one of the books I picked up today, get my soft blanket and a warm cup of tea, and curl up on my couch, reading to my heart's content.  It's probably historical fiction, by the way.  Or maybe a biography.  My favorites.  Oh, and how could I forget?  I bought some chocolate that day too.  I will not worry about indulging in some decadent, creamy goodness while I lose myself in those pages.  And isn't it very late by now?  Of course!  Just the way I like it. 


What do you think?   I'll let you know if it actually ever happens.  ; )

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's time for class!

Okay, so I decided I would venture out of my comfort zone a bit today and whine a bit.  Here on my blog. Instead of just keeping my thoughts to myself.  Here goes... 

Do you ever feel like so many women these days in this old world we live in are losing every last bit of classiness by the day?

Do you ever look around and wonder why it is that these lovely women...on TV, movies, singing on the stage...what have you...feel the need to show off large portions of their bodies to every man in the country who happens to be watching?  And not only famous people, but as the weather gets warmer and I am minding my own business at my local supermarket, I have no choice but to view skin all the way up to these lovely girls' tiny little shorts, barely covering their bottoms.  And my hubby and boys don't have much choice either. 

Honestly.  Honestly, I really do not know why this has become the norm in our country. 

And I know I am really showing my old-fashionedness now, but why has it become the norm for lovely girls and women (and men too, but I am mostly just shocked by the girls,) to think nothing of cussing like drunken sailors in normal, everyday conversation?  So many things about the culture we live in amaze me, but this one just gets my goat for some reason.  Such vulgar, ugly words come spewing out of girls' mouths.  And it's all considered perfectly normal.  They spend so much time trying to make themselves beautiful on the outside, but let this trashy talk ruin it all when they speak.

Forgive me, but I just don't get it.

In case any of these ladies might be reading this post who may have gotten swept away by this crazy world we live in, and are thinking, "Hey, that's me..."

Could I ask you for a minute, do you really think that this way of dressing and acting is classy?  When you picture the kind of woman who would be your role model, do you picture someone who is baring half of what God's blessed her with for all to see and letting those 4-letter words rip? 

Let's bring some beauty and class back to our nation. What do you say? 

Thank you. 

My little venting session is over.  You may go back to what you were doing. 

Have a great day!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter Day!

Yes, this post is a bit late...

but we had such a joyful Easter!  My heart was so full all day long.  I listened to "Amazing Love" by Graham Kendrick so many times.  I just couldn't get enough of that song.  Had a wonderful time worshiping at church. 

And we had fun celebrating with the kids.

 The shoes Sarah picked for the day...(Nope, sorry, I didn't let her wear them.)

I hope you had a very blessed Easter, too.  And if you would like to know more about how to have a relationship with Jesus, please visit this site. 

Have a great weekend!  I'm so glad it's Friday!!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday. What do you think?

Today is Good Friday.  The day we recognize as the one when Jesus was crucified.

I took this picture this past fall at our city's local artists' competition.  This amazing mosaic won the top prize.  And I think with good reason.  It is truly magnificent--especially in real life, although I think you can get a good idea from the photo. 

I took the picture of the artwork, of course.   But later when I looked at it, I found it moving for a different reason than just the sheer talent or the powerful focus of the piece. 

I noticed the people in the crowd.  Some of them are looking intently up at the cross.  Most are chatting, milling around, focused instead on this over here or that over there, seemingly oblivious to the Man on the cross above their heads. 

And I was struck by the comparison to real life. 

All of us here on the earth, milling around, going about our business...running here and there...some of us believing in this Jesus and what He did on that cross.  Some focused on Him, living for Him, and ready to even die for Him.

Some believing, but mostly just living for themselves while they take their ride around the sun all these years.

And some completely oblivious--not caring or even hostile to Him.  Many believing different things, in other gods, or only in themselves. 

And Jesus on that cross.  Pure Love. Arms outstretched, bleeding and dying, and three days later, resurrecting--  for everyone.  For all of us.  No matter what we think of Him. 

We are all of us--the whole lot of us--desperate sinners, in need of a Savior. In need of Him.

I don't know which group you are in.  Those devoted to Him, those who hate Him or think He is a fairy tale, or somewhere in between.  But I wonder if you don't know Him, if you might be curious?  Have you ever wondered if there might be any truth in this Christianity thing?  Eternity is something we all should at least think about, and I'm sure we all have at some point or other. 

I am reading a book right now called "The Case For Christ" by Lee Strobel.  Mr. Strobel was an agnostic journalist who went on a search to find out if there might be any evidence behind this man called Jesus.  He wanted to know if the Bible really might be able to be trusted, and if there is any evidence outside of the Bible that points to Jesus and the accuracy of the manuscripts that make up this Book. 

If you have ever wondered these same things, you might like to read it!  His research was extensive, and what he found was amazing!  I hope you will check it out.

I am spending time today reflecting on the amazing love of our Savior.  This song by Graham Kendrick comes to my mind:

Amazing love--oh what sacrifice... the Son of God given for me...
My debt He paid, and my death He died
That I might live!
That I might live!

Have a blessed Easter weekend, friends!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Xiaoyun speaks for orphans

Someone shared this with me, and I loved it so much, I just had to share. : )

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Sarah has two favorite pastimes. Playing with her doctor stuff, and playing instruments!

Recently we have discovered a new favorite music group called the Piano Guys. The name is confusing because really, it's made up of a pianist and a cellist. I personally think they should change their name, but whatever floats their boats.

Here is one of my favorite videos of theirs. Mmmmm....I could watch and listen all day to their music...

Sarah loves to listen to their music too-- especially this particular video.  She sits in front of the computer and mimics the pianist.  She will replay it several times in a row.  And THEN, she sits down with a guitar and pretends to play the cello.  She fancies she is really an expert cellist.  Sometimes she picks up that guitar and tries to put it under her chin so that it can be a violin too.  Yep...she wants to do it all.  And she is so resourceful!  One instrument can be three different kinds.  (She also wants to learn how to play the guitar, of course.)  Oh, yes, and the xylophone too. 

What do you think?  I'm pretty sure she will be a doctor curing kids in the oncology ward by day, and playing all her instruments in concert halls in her spare time. 

And how do you like that bow she found?  I told you she was resourceful!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Going to visit Dr. Aaberg

Sarah has lots of different doctors...  her oncologist, her pediatrician, her ENT doctor, her opthalmologist (well, she is supposed to be seeing her.  We'll get around to it...), and her eye specialist--our very favorite, beloved Dr. Aaberg!

I know I've said it before, but we really love our doctors and nurses.  They are like family in a way, and we always look forward to Sarah's exams since it's like a reunion!  Well, if the doctors and nurses are like family, Dr. Aaberg has to be the favorite uncle. : )  We just really love him, and I know he loves Sarah too.  If you are newer to reading my blog, he is the one who diagnosed Sarah's cancer in the first place, (and I had nick-named Dr. Doom at the time,) and the one who gave us the wonderful news that she was cancer free!  He is just a wonderful man and very special to us.

So, Sarah has to wait three months between eye exams from Dr. Aaberg, and that is a long time when you are 4 and you are anxious to go back.  So, we decided that it would be fun to help the time hurry along by writing a letter and making pictures for Dr. Aaberg.  Sarah often paints pictures intended for him, but honestly, most of them didn't actually make it.  However, last week, we did sit down and write a letter together, and Sarah cut out some pieces of paper, and drew a picture, and we gave it all to Dr. Aaberg today at her appointment.  I don't think he would mind at all if we shared the letter with you....

Here's the letter and the papers she cut out.  And she told me exactly what she wanted me to write on each one--sleepy mask (she is sedated with a gas for the exam,) froggy hug with no frog on it (you know Sarah loves froggy hugs--getting her blood pressure taken-- but the cuff at Dr. Aaberg's surgical center does not have a froggy on it like the ones at clinic,) and This is a broom for Dr. Aaberg (I think she just realized that the cuts in the paper made it look like a broom!)  ; )
 I wrote down word for word what she said. : )  The dentist stuff was in there because we had just gone for a check-up!  (Oh yeah, the dentist.  I guess that's one more doctor...)

 And here's her picture. 

And as I was putting on my shoes this morning before we left, I noticed she had laid her kitty in the cradle and covered her up and put the sleepy mask on her.  :)

Aside from the "nasty drops" as Sarah calls them that she has to get to dilate her eyes, we had a great time at Dr. Aaberg's!  And he loved her little letter....and best of all....STILL NO CANCER!  We are so thankful.  God is good.   : )

Monday, March 12, 2012

Jesus loves the little children...

A recent conversation:

Me:  "Sarah, you always make me smile."
Sarah:  "I make you smile every day!"
"Yes, you do!"
"Mommy, you're wonderful."

And another time in the car:

"Mommy, you are so precious.  I would open up a treasure chest, and there you are!  I love you so much.  I like you."  And then I hear kisses being blown in my direction from the back seat. (As precious as that sounds, she was parroting me with her treasure chest speech. She's heard me call her my treasure and how I would find her in a treasure chest many times.  But I believe she fully means it when she says it back to me!)  : )

Oh, my Sarah.  Our little girl whose favorite things are talking, (and she never tires of it.  Ever,) smiling, laughing, hugging, dancing, singing, playing instruments, (I wish I could type that the way she says it..."Mom, I'm playing in-stru-ments!")  being silly, playing doctor--every day,   jumping, spinning,  doing "gymnastics" (okay, it's mostly somersaults on the carpet,) sitting on your lap, being with people, talking to you, (oh, did I say that one already?)  bugging her brother, Ben, encouraging you,  and knowing she is making you proud.  She is brave, honest about her feelings, loving, and full of joy.  She is so very happy. 

Sarah is honestly, truly, in every sense of the word.....a treasure. She was created by God, in His image.  A masterpiece made to be loved and cherished.  She is our daughter, and we love her with all of our hearts.  With every bit of our souls.  Just, exactly like we love the rest of our children. 

I just now finished spending some time over at Wonderful, Waiting Kids.  I rarely spend much time on waiting children websites anymore because we just can't adopt right now, and my heart hurts so much to see their pictures, I can barely stand to look.  I feel like I can't even catch my breath sometimes when I read the profiles.  When I hear in my mind their sweet voices asking when their mommies and daddies will come, I simply can't bear it. 

All I can do is imagine our Sarah there in the orphanage.  A face in the crowd. Yes, maybe these children have a special nanny who loves them.  Maybe they have a best friend.  I am sure they have fun sometimes.  At least most of them must. 

But none of this is a substitute for a real family.  A family who will see them as they truly are.  Every one of them--a priceless treasure.  Just like Sarah.

Please, won't you consider adopting one of these children?  Children from everywhere--China, Russia, Ethiopia, or right in your own state.  They are not just statistics.  They are real children longing for love from a family.  And they deserve it. 

Why not take a minute and check out one of the sites on the right side of my page.  And really pray about adopting!  And if you are thinking about it, would you let me know in the comments?  It would make me so happy to know you are considering it! 

And I'm sure it would make Sarah smile too.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Can anything be more FUN?!

Our family enjoys the show Wipe-Out from time to time.  The other night, our family watched and guffawed along with an episode, and then played the Wii version that Daddy rented for the night.  It was a hoot, I tell ya.  But the best part of the night was when someone handed Sarah an extra remote that wasn't even working.  But she sure did think it was!  She believed with all her little heart that those  people up there jumping around and falling in the water on the screen were being controlled by her, (and for some reason, Sarah doesn't normally play the Wii.  Not sure why, because she clearly wants to!)  And that was enough to make that little girl one of the happiest people on the face of the planet that day. : ) 

 Getting started--Josh picked out a granny character.  : )

 Sarah realizing she has been handed a remote!

 It was a riot!

 "I fell in the water!"

 Best day ever.  Or at least the best day in the last few days. : )

 Can you believe it?  I am playing the Wii!

 This is almost as good as going to the clinic! (She didn't actually say that, but I'm sure she must have been thinking it.) ;)

"Mommy, take a picture of the remote!"

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sweet conversation...

There are many things that are so precious about Sarah.  One of them is that she is the most grateful out of all of my kids.  Genuinely thankful for just about everything, and she lets us know it!

Here's a little conversation we had today...

Sarah: "Mom, when I was a baby, you went to get me in China."

Me: "Yes, we did!"


"Because we loved you so much! We went all the way to China to get you!"

"You came to China to pick up me. Thank you! Thank you for picking up me!"

It just doesn't get much better than that. : )

Friday, March 2, 2012

The rest of our Make-a-Wish trip!

I suppose I should post some pictures of the rest of our trip, even though Give Kids the World was my favorite part.  The original wish in the first place was for us to visit DisneyWorld, after all!  Our family had never been there, and it costs a whole lot for all those we were more than thrilled when we were able to visit not just the Disney parks, but almost ALL the parks in the area down there.  We went to a park almost every day of our Make-a-Wish week.  And a couple of them the second week!

We visited Legoland  It just opened in November.  It was the boys' favorite park! 

 Sarah did not like this ride!  She still talks about it.  : ( 

 But she loved this one!

 There is a huge portion of the park--I think it's called Mini-land?  All national landmarks created from Legos.  The buildings are huge!  Pictures can't do it justice!

 We stopped at the lego store on the way out, and Sarah got a hospital!!

Josh helping put it together that night...

And we went to Hollywood Studios...

 Watching the Indiana Jones show, and we got to meet Indy afterwards!

Outside "Star Tours," one of the boys' favorite rides...

 In the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground : )

 Cassandra part of one of the shows : )

Meeting Green Army Man :)

And here is Sarah, trying to look under Minnie's dress.  Oh, yes, she did.

And Epcot...  but we didn't do too much there, so I barely got any pictures...

A nice little sword fight with a vendor to pass the time while we waited for everyone else to go on a ride...

And Universal Studios...

 Special moment with Dora : )

 One of the hi-lites of the week....getting to watch Barney live!

 And having our own private meeting time with him!

Other characters were there too...I like Curious George. : )

And Magic Kingdom...

 She loved her Minnie Mouse ticket!

 Her favorite rides were always carousels and trains.   Especially this monorail!

And...Downtown Disney (not a park, but a fun shopping area)

 Boat ride...

Another Lego store for my Lego fan boys...

And Animal Kingdom...

 We loved the safari!

Pretty girl, on the way back to our car in the tram...

And Seaworld!

 One of the roller coasters of the week...Josh was my brave boy who loved them!

 He says, thumbs up!

 Sarah loving another carousel. :)

 Watching the sea lion show

 Petting sting rays

 And waiting for the Shamu show to start!

We loved it!

Just going back and looking at all these pictures is overwhelming to me... how blessed we were to be able to go on this trip!  We would love to be able to thank each and every person who gave to make it possible for us to go.  And all of these parks donate the tickets for Make-a-Wish families.  Such a wonderful organization.  Such a wonderful time!