My babies are 6!

Obviously, I’ve been gone a VERY long time. When I pulled this up today, I had drafts from this time last year saying “My Babies are 5!” The time truly goes by quickly.

The girls have always had their own distinct personalities, but this year has seen them coming into their own confidently. Because we live in China and many of the locals think they should be treated as if they are half of a whole, the girls struggled to be themselves at times. Not this year.

My quiet one has stepped out independently and confidently. She’s reading and doing well in school because SHE.WANTS. TO. She will always need to have some quiet, alone time (to her twins’ dismay) but she is thriving. She’s less of a tomboy, but still loves Spider-man. She’s, more often than not, in a dress or skirt with her cowboy boots!

My vocal one has shed her skin as well. The decibels and dance moves that come out of this little diva are unreal. She told us recently that she wanted to grow up and be a rock star so we should just start calling her “Rock Star.” Little Stinker. He father called her name and she answered, but then said, “you know you can call me Rock Star.”

One big thing they learned this year is their entire name (First.Middle.Ethiopian.Last). And, let’s be honest, just learning their last name can be a daunting task. They’ve been naming their baby dolls by their own Ethiopian names. They understand adoption and they know they are adopted…but the connection is not fully there. They watched a video of an “all brown” family and said repeatedly, “Mom, they are brown like us, but not like our daddy. Ours is peach.” They’ve asked if they were in my tummy and been interrupted before I could answer. And 5 year old attention spans forgot they asked the question.

They sing and dance and memorize scripture like there’s no tomorrow. They are givers except to each other. LOL. They are night and day. Loud and quiet. Soft and tough. Determined and unable. And then just when you think you have them pegged…they switch.

What was life like before them? I’ve forgotten. If they hadn’t come along, I’d be the mom of half an empty nest quickly becoming empty since my oldest daughter is almost 16. That one. She’s a mess. A beautiful mess. I love watching her become a woman. At her age, I was so different from who she is except in a few small areas. She’s a gift, for sure. Fire and ice all in one. Sweet and salty. Smart and Sassy. So much fun! Growing up too fast. I’m afraid to blink because then she’ll be off to the big world like her brother who is now 22.

He’s figuring out this adult thing, like it or not. He’s got a sweetheart who brings out the best in him and he’s motivated to be “a better man” because of her. I’m proud of him. He doesn’t do things the way I would, but that’s what he’s always done. Carved his own way.

My sweet husband and I have been together nearly 27 years. I like him every bit as much now as I did then, if not more! He’s fun and funny and willing to do silly things for children! We’re well matched.

We’re a silly bunch…but that’s why they call us the FUN bunch!

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Where did the time go?

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I just remembered that I have a blog. LOL. I’ve been so busy since February and time has flown by. I literally forgot that I can blog to keep you in the loop.

We just celebrated our 4th Gotcha Day with the twins. They have been in our family for four years already. They will be 5 years old in November. Crazy. Chayli is 14! Drew is 21. Really? Really. Our kids are growing up. I have some funny stories and cute pictures to share. They’re coming soon.

These two…

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…make my heart smile. One made me a daughter. One made me a mother. Both teach me lessons. Both show me love. Both of them, though, ARE my heart.

I’ve wondered many times what kind of mom/person I’d be if I didn’t have my mom to walk the journey with me.

I’ve often wondered what kind of person I’d be if I never became a mom. So glad I’ll never have to know.

Love them both.

‘Fro Hawks!

We are blessed to have a teacher at our school who is African/American. She thinks it is her duty (and I am OK with that!!) to do my girls’ hair. The first time, she gave them Afro-puffs. This time they have fro-hawks…which THEY LOVE! They are adorable and they KNOW it. Then she first braided their hair she left the top in twists with some curl enhancer so that when she “Freaked” it out it wouldn’t be frizzy. I absolutely love their  FREAKED OUT hair. They do, too. They love the special attention she gives them. They wiggle when I do their hair, but not when she comes over. I don’t get it, but I’m not arguing either. LOL. I’m just thankful. Really thankful.

You see that happy missionary family smiling out of the postcard on your fridge? Their marriage is probably hanging by a thread.

In our first year on the field, three of the families we came over with left because their marriage couldn’t take the stress. It’s real.

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Anybody can smile long enough for an updated newsletter photo

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I winced as the lights suddenly cut off.

“Really? Three nights in a row?” I thought to myself as my wife rounded the corner on the verge of tears.

“I can’t do this…I can’t do another night of no sleep!” she moaned. She was sick of the heat and the lack of air circulation every time the power cut out. In that moment, I should have hugged her but I wasn’t in the mood for complaints.

I scornfully shot back, “You are lucky to have running water! Most of the people in El Salvador would love to be in the circumstances that you are complaining about!”

I knew it was wrong but I hoped she would feel guilty enough to just suck it up. As this thought crossed my mind, my daughter’s voice rang out from the bathroom…

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This one.

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This one made me a mom.

                 Tuesday, April 11th, 1995, 4:03 PM, Ennis, Texas

This one taught me unconditional love.

               He loves everyone and wanted to grow up tell people about Jesus, then baptize them. He said he’d be called, “Drew, the baptist.”

This one made me want to pull my hair out.

Endless chatter and questions mixed with ADHD. Need I say more?

This one made me unbelievably proud.

Countless ways. Mission trips, achievements, service to others, but none more special than when loving his sisters.

This one challenges my faith and makes me seek God more.

He has always been determined to do things his way. I was always afraid he’d never make it to adulthood because of that determination. But he’s here, living life on his terms.

This one. So many stories.

This one. So much to learn.

This one. So loved. Still. Always.

My work companion

…at least he is not sitting ON MY computer this time. He is a sweet kitty and I LOVE how his little tail curls around his toes. How can one not believe in God when confronted with the complexities of life? This little creature…definitely a gift from God. Such personality. Notice the eyes…he’s not happy that I won’t let him ON the computer. He might not speak English, but he speaks. Does he not? I couldn’t create a creature so complex. He frustrates me and brings me as much or more joy at the same time. He’s adopted. I know those who get offended by the use of that term applied to situations not involving children, but adoption is God’s thing. Who am I to limit it? It helps people understand God’s great love for us and how he chose to take us into his family. Tex being in our family reminds me so often of WHOSE I AM. It might be a leap for you to make those connections. Not for me. And I fully expect to have my own lion in the eternal kingdom or at least a kitty. 🙂 …hopefully with a curly-Q tail.

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A walk to the beach

10 minutes from my house is the seaside…and I’ve yet to go, until today.  I set out for a walk more for exercise than leisure. I wanted to go and get back before the sun set but as I headed out…changed my mind.  Spring is blooming all around. Such promise and grace from God in just a small bud. I was mesmerized by the iridescence  I saw from as far as my eye could see. Water meeting sky at the horizon, there was no change. I looked one direction and saw the a giant pearl and turned around to see behind me and viewed a glorious sunset, and still to the side to see a giant military boat docked. As I continued walking to the pier the small pearl grew larger and larger until as I got close enough I saw waves and reflections from a hundred different angles, one included my own tiny reflection. From the second level of the Pearl, which seemed to house a reception area inside, maybe for weddings, I could walk in a circle and see so much of this place I now call home. A view of the ocean and many sizes of boat along for the ride. A view of the mountain with a lovely pagoda that lit up as the sun set. A view of day turning to night as evidenced by standing under the giant Pearl and watching it light up unexpectedly. Such a lovely place to walk and view God’s workmanship. I asked Him, (won’t you join me?) to show me His plan for my family in this place.

A funny or two…

Recently I made a new soup for dinner. Eden kept saying with every other bite, “Momma, I love Shoop.”

“You love soup?”

“Hmmm hmmm. I love Shoop.”

Finally she got it, and said, “Momma I love soup.”

I grinned.

Then with her next bite she said, “Momma, I really REALLY love…..” and I waited for her to say it, expecting to hear “soup”…but what she said with the most emphasis her little four year old mouth could muster was….”FOOOOOD!!!”

I laughed so hard! “Me, too, baby! me, too!”

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So every day on our way to school we pass by a group of older people doing Tai Chi (Tie Chee).

Every day Eden says, “Momma, what they do-ning?”  (I’ll be sad when she starts saying it right.)

Every day I say, “Baby that’s Tai-Chi.”

After about a week, I finally said, “Eden every day I tell you what they are doing. Now you tell me.”

Her response after a brief pause, “Tai Cheese.”

This from the kid who LOVES FOOOOOD!