Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? -Matthew 6:26

As we walk through this adventure called life, we remind ourselves that we are all precious children of our Father-- those of us who have walked a little further down the road striving to guide those who have been entrusted to our care for a time. Here is our journey down this path.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Today is my birfday! I four!!!

We heard this a lot today....and she has been counting down for the last few weeks. We started with the tradition of breakfast in bed.
A few presents....a doll we got while in China.

And a book we made about our trip. She has been asking a lot of questions about us going to China to get her recently, so we decided to do this for her now. It was really fun to go back and look at pictures and remember such an amazing time.
If you want to look at the book (which is pretty cool, if I do say so myself!) try this.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Click here to create your own Shutterfly photo book.

Later in the day, we had a small party with a few friends. Here is my homemade cake....Cynthia told me not to put those loopy things on her "C" next time. Oh, well, so much for my cake decorating abilities!!

Presents were a hit!
Here is the party crew...Molly was quite the hostess....truly, she did a great job.

Molly even made some name tags for the table.
Such a sweet day to celebrate our sweet girl!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Don't let the smile fool you!

It was only because I was so glad to see the finish line! Augusta Half Marathon!!! I don't post many pictures of me here, mainly because I'm usually the one behind the camera! And I don't particularly like to see myself that much, but the kids were all so cute and excited at the finish line....I wish I had a picture of them cheering for me.
It was a beautiful day, I made it.....won't be doing that again for a while!
And no spiritual thoughts or anything right now.....I have to go take some Ibuprofen!
Happy Sunday!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Road Trip!!!!

The kids had 'winter break' for a couple of days from school, so we decided to hit the road and visit my sister & her family in Philadelphia! Unfortunately, our car decided it wanted to stay home and rest, so we had to get a rental....and they didn't have what we reserved....somehow, Jeff still got it all in there!!
The people actually fit easier than the luggage! And can I brag on these kids???? They did GREAT. We had a little help from some DVDs and books on tape, but really--12 hours up and 12 hours back and they did really well.
We made a pitstop here on the way up....quite an exit. On the SC-NC border (just south, of course....)

We arrived late at night, but all were ready to hit the playground the next day! We had so much fun playing with our cousins.
LOVE this pic!
The weather was beautiful, so we took full advantage. A picnic lunch in PA in February!
The boys were interested in seeing some history, so we took them to Independence Hall. The girls elected to stay home and play....and Molly later told me her favorite part of the trip was, "When you were gone and I played with Kyle & Aunt Cathy...." :)
We were actually here on the day of a ribbon cutting for the re-dedication/opening of the clock tower. They had redone most of the woodwork on top and we heard the first chimes in 2 years. Good timing!
A little photo-op for the boys!
More cousin game time.
We visited the Please Touch museum....a very cool place for the kids. (And not unpopular this weekend!!! "Our busiest weekend of the year" said the employee as we entered. We still had a great time exploring and managed not to loose any of the 6 children....for more than a few minutes, anyway!)
What fun we had visiting with our family. We SOOO wish they lived closer...maybe soon!
On the way home, we had to stop to see a few more sights. You will recognize these without any explanation.

After a quick walk around Washington, D.C., it was back in the car. We thought we were going to get some snow during our visit, but the forecast changed. As we were driving along, we started to see some snow on the ground. Jeff pulled over at a rest stop and got out....then proceeded to turn around a pelt the car with snowballs. The kids had to join in, of course.
Can you tell we are southerners??? Not much snow, but they were excited! (there was more around than it looks like here, I promise.) A GREAT trip all around. We got home, all in bed and back to life tomorrow! Happy President's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Life on the Edge

Well, I have been chastised for my lack of blogging over the past few months. It isn't that nothing has been going on or that there haven't been 'blog-worthy' events to record for posterity, but just that life has been flying by and I have been left at the end of each day truly spent and without many coherent thoughts. I have recently realized I haven't even picked up the camera at all. Just in the last few weeks have I felt a little like I was beginning to catch up with life again. These thoughts have been swirling in my head for the last few weeks, but just now having time to put them down on 'paper'.
Without too much medical details, things began to get a little crazy at the beginning of December when Cynthia got sick and spent a night in the hospital. That led to several follow up tests. The first normal, quick and easy. The second--what was supposed to be a simple outpatient procedure proved to be neither simple nor outpatient. There were some food restrictions and prep involved, which she tolerated amazingly well. We arrived at the hospital early in the morning and ended up waiting a good while due to a delay in the case prior to hers. They came to give her premedication for her sedation and she got SILLY! At one point, she looked at me, started giggling & said, "Mommy, you have 2 smiles!!" and just cracked herself up. She started seeing things in the air and trying to 'pick' them up, too. I was laughing so hard, I was crying.
They finally came to get her for the procedure, told me it would be about an hour or so and I went to the waiting room, really not nervous or too worried. I knew she was in good hands. As I sat there, the hour came and went and then I started to wonder what was going on. A nurse came out and in about 30 seconds told me there had been a complication, the physician was calling for some help, and Cynthia would need to have a transfusion and stay in the hospital overnight. She said this all kindly, but quickly. And left. No words of 'she's OK' or anything like that. So, as I sat there, Satan reared his ugly head with thoughts of "Will she be OK?" "Was she so good/cooperative/sweet/funny this morning because I am never going to see her again?" "We went all the way around the world to bring her home and now we don't get to keep her for any longer than this?" And a bit of panic gripped my heart. That chest tightening--nausea inducing--pulse racing--I might pass out kind of panic. But then came the peace. A peace that passes understanding that came from without because within was a mess. I suddenly knew, really KNEW that she was in the Physician's hands. That the one that had protected her when she was alone in an orphanage in China, who had protected her up until this day as she was in our home, (where I think I have some semblance of control, but don't really), was still protecting and sustaining her. I whispered a prayer and I can't say I was totally fine, but at that point was in a humble state of reliance on my-and her-Father. Jeff arrived and came to my rescue and we walked through the rest of the day together....a few more tests, lots of discomfort from our sweet girl and a night in the PICU to make sure she was OK. Which she WAS. And IS. There were a few weeks of unknown. Because of the complication, the test was not completed. During that few weeks, I really struggled with fear of a recurrence of life threatening events at any moment. Should I stay with her at every moment? Should I send her to her preschool? What about the middle of the night?
This time of trial, worry and fear became a fire that refined my heart to see that we are all walking ON THE EDGE. We should live each day realizing that we are not in control. Very hard for me to admit. God sustains us. That if not for him giving us our next day, our next moment, even our next breath, we would not go on. How is it that releasing control is so comforting? That knowing it isn't up to me helps me fall asleep, trusting that we ALL are in his hands. It makes each day that much more precious, that much more of a gift.
Those few weeks passed, hopefully with a life long lesson learned. A second repeated test showed the underlying problem. We don't know what started it, whether it will go away, be recurrent or progressive, but we were able to treat it and are now giving it some time before we follow up again.
In all of this, the tests, the treatments, medications, special diets, Cynthia has shown what a tough girl she is. Never a complaint (well, not exactly true...the 2nd time around when I gave her broth & Jello for lunch she looked at me like I was crazy!), no getting upset with doctors, tests, medicines (except the taste, but still takes it for us) and even needles--had one blood draw without a tear! We are so blessed to have her and are looking forward to her upcoming birthday and Gotch Day celebrations. What a good God we serve.
Life has continued to march on for everyone else as well. We have had basketball games and ballet practice. We are restarting guitar lessons. There have been friends to play with and family game nights. Homework and chores. In the midst of all of the 'normal stuff' of life I have taken more pauses to be thankful. Thankful for my children--my heart. Thankful for my husband--my rock. Thankful for my God--my sustainer.