Saturday, April 5, 2014

Update!

It has been a while since we've updated the blog, so here goes...


...Our t-shirt fundraiser was a success! Thank you to ALL who purchased tees or made a donation. Gracie and Gemma will be traveling with us to meet Gia in the very near future, thanks in part to YOU! We've received some pictures of some of you wearing your t-shirts. We are humbled and overjoyed to receive these pictures. We'd love to get more!!

Organizing the t-shirts into mailers


...Our paperwork has gone through some crucial stages in the last month. We received LOA (letter of acceptance) from China on March 17. This came as a surprise to us. We had only been waiting for 56 days,and honestly, we expected to wait longer for this approval. Thank you, Lord, for the pleasant, exciting surprise! The LOA means that China has found our dossier to be in order, and that we have been approved to adopt Shi Chun Yu!

...On April 1st, we found out the the US government has approved our adoption of Shi Chun Yu. This is called the I-800, and I will not attempt to explain it. It's confusing. But, the chart below might help a little. We are on step #10 currently.



...Perhaps best of all, we received some updated photos and a video of our dear Gia. We have been told that she knows about her new family and that she is "very happy" about us. We also learned that her favorite foods are chocolate, chicken, ice cream, and cookies, and that she likes to draw. There is no doubt in my mind that God hand-picked her for our family! ;) Go here to see the video.



(As always, we ask that you continue to pray for us and Gia. There will be difficulties ahead as we merge into a family of 5. We know that God has called us to this path, and we are confident that He will see us through, as He has twice before. We are privileged to walk this path of adoption and see God's redemption played out in practical ways within our very own family.)

...Gracie was in her school's production of Lewis and Clark, the musical.


...Both girls graduated from the Lookout Pass Free Ski School.


...And Gracie and 2 friends qualified to participate in Idaho's National History Day competition. We will be traveling to Boise on April 12 for the event.


...We visited family and the ocean in Western Washington during spring break. Great weather and great fun!







It's a busy time of year. Especially so, since we might be traveling to China as early as late May. Thank you for your prayers, support, and for following along on our journey through life!






Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas Beauty


(Gemma's hands, made by Gracie)













Saturday, November 9, 2013

Orphans No Longer

November 3 was Orphan Sunday. We asked our pastor if we could share the news about our current adoption as well as some information about the worldwide orphan crisis. Simon made a slideshow for us to share with our church. It is beautiful.

You can see it here.


Another video that circulated during the days prior to Orphan Sunday was this one. It broke my heart. I can't stand thinking of children who are hopeless. Watch it and be wrecked for these orphans.

A third video that touched my heart was this one. Children should not have to feel "worthy" of being adopted. No child should EVER have to feel that way. The translator who breaks down at the end...that's how we ALL should feel about these precious orphans waiting for families. Some of them will never know the love of a family.

Lord Jesus, please break our hearts for what breaks yours.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

One of Our Favorite Traditions

Every fall we trek up to Green Bluff--a farming community a little over an hour away from our home. There, we do all kind of cool "autumn" things. 

Like eat pumpkins donuts. 



Ride miniature ponies.



Meet the Pumpkin Princess.


Get our faces painted.



See how much we've grown.



Go on fun rides and attractions.





Get our obligatory family-in-the-pumpkin-path picture taken.


And make sure my mom gets her annual "harvest" display set up.








Sunday, September 8, 2013

The "Gotcha Day" That Made Us Parents

In a crowded city in the middle of China, on a steaming hot September day in 2004, we met the daughter that God had chosen for us to adopt for the very first time. (The joke is that all the dads in the group, even though they had let the moms go up in the only working elevator to see the babies first, actually got to see the babies first because the babies came later than expected, and all the moms were already upstairs waiting for them.)

Before we even knew her or saw her picture, we loved her. But these photos sealed the deal!

Her name was written upon our hearts the day we first saw her picture.

Her name was sealed upon our hearts the moment we first saw her in person. Oh what joy!


Words cannot express, Gracie Faye, what a privilege, what a joy, what a marvel it is being your parents! God has indeed "set the lonely in families" and "turned mourning into dancing."

Happy Gotcha Day, Gracie Faye! We love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." Isaiah 43:5

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Look Like Love

SM- OK, I'm still trying to find my "niche" for where to post this blog. I'm also trying to blog to share thoughts and feelings, rather than treat it like each post must be a well-polished, finished product. So this will be my first attempt at a "just blog it" type entry.

This week, while loading up the car to take my daughters to school, I had a thought. Hey, the girls are big enough, they can put their backpacks at their feet in the car and just get out on their own when I drop them off rather than the usual stop, get out, get their bags from the back hatch and off they go. My initial feeling was that it would be easier and quicker. But then it hit me, in that "back to school" nostalgia sort of way. You know, that feeling you get when your kids are starting another school year already, and Summer zoomed by, and they seem so grown up. I needed that moment, in more ways than one. So I decided to put the backpacks in the back, in our traditional spot, because in doing so, I was strategically manufacturing an opportunity to give both of the girls a big hug before sending them into the their school. That moment started much more.


Once in the car for our 2 car caravan (My wife teaches at our district's only HS a half-mile from my office and the girls' school and drives herself) we hit the road for our 3 mile, 6 minute commute. OK it's 7 minutes if traffic (school buses and a few cars) is heavy. Anyway, we were listening to music an singing, which is another tradition for me and the girls, when the lyrics of the song went straight to my heart. 
I wanna look like love
Be more than just enough
For the hearts that are broken, coming undone
It's up to you and me 
To leave a legacy
If we're all they ever see
I wanna look like, look like love
I wanna look like, look like love

All of a sudden, I began to really examine my attitude and how I interacted with others.  By others I mean my family,  coworkers, and even other people I encountered during our commute. You see, the first week "back to school" wasn't my first week because I have a longer contract, but it's always the busiest and most stressful. I must confess that I had several moments of bitterness and frustrations, but at this moment I was being made aware of how I was missing one big piece, and I was so amazed at how directly applicable this piece was to both my life, and my job, and yes, even education.

That piece that I was missing... true empathy. We all have struggles, stresses, and difficulties that we encounter. Heck, this week I had several moments of "can I do this?" and "How am I going to make it work?" Life is kinda cruel that way at times. So why not take our own worries and challenges and consider the other people we encounter? That person that cut you off at the 4 way stop? They might be losing their job. The co-worker that ignored your email? They might be facing incredible sadness due to illness or hardship in their family. The student who doesn't seem to care? Maybe his parents are fighting nonstop and verbally abusing each other. But what if we made an effort to consider these possibilities every time we were "wronged" or wanted to lash out or be bitter? What if we showed genuine kindness and grace? What if we "looked like love?"

I had a hard time formulating this post because the "look like love" concept isn't just a family or friend thing. It's more than that. It is a recipe that will work anywhere. I am an educator, as is my wife and other family members and friends too. "Look like love" will never fall void. Look like love to your students. Really find out what makes them tick and what may be affecting them daily. You want to see achievement go up? Look like love. You want fewer discipline problems? Look like love. You want students to engage and show ownership in learning? Look like love.

I've been seeing a lot on social media and on the news all the polarizing and mind numbing mud slinging about education and what's good, terrible, and who is to blame. But there is one thing that cannot be argued. Showing love, compassion, and empathy to others... really caring about students and giving all that you have will do more than any "reform," pedagogy, technology, theory, or style. It's simple... Look like love. Our homes, workplaces, and communities will be better exponentially. We will still have "off" days or times when we fall short. But I think that will be the time someone else might "look like love" for us.

Are you ready to look like love?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013