Tuesday, December 24, 2013

merry christmas!

Couldn't get the cards in the mail this year.  A first, but I'm oddly okay with it -- which is interesting because I used to love to do them.  A new season, I suppose.

I did still make unending amounts of Chex Mix -- that mostly went into our mouths and into very few hands as compared to past years.  I got a late start, but rallied at the end!

The fudge for Santa is made.

The Oreo balls are in the freezer.

A nice Christmas meal is planned for tomorrow to share with our dear family and friends who have come to spend it with us.  We are thankful for times of feasting when so many are without.

We couldn't be more grateful for good health as we are acutely aware of and praying for our dear ones who are unwell and fighting the good fight.

We are thankful for family as we are acutely aware of those millions of lonely hearts across this globe.  Including the one who is currently resting her head in our home each night.

We are thankful for fellowship as we are acutely aware of how it fills our hearts with joy, laughter and cheer.

So, here's to you and yours this Christmas!  May 2014 be blessed!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

little update.

Things continue to go well.  

Our kids are amazing kids.

Really all kids are amazing in their ability to accept people for who they are.  I've learned that it's not until later in life that we put so many parameters around people.  

But Christine is also easy.

She's just a sweet, sweet girl.  She has this smirky, half-smile she does when something tickles her.  

She's quick on her feet with humor.  

She's open and willing to try new things, like Chick-fil-A, Sweet Frog, Panera, and going to the Nutcracker.  I'll post photos tomorrow!

The poor girl got multiple fillings on Friday, yet she'd never had Novocaine before.  She was such a trooper.  

She loves to fold laundry!  Yes, you read that right.  When I walk in the room with an overflowing laundry basket (which is daily), she jumps right up and comes over to help.  In fact, the other day I left it and came back and it was folded.  And what do our kids do when she jumps up to help?  Declare how much I love to fold laundry and it's just what moms do, so it's okay if I do it everyday without their help.  I kid you not!  They said that.  Phew.  They have a lot to learn!  Ha!  

Payton and Christine have hit it off.  I find them up in Payton's room just hanging out, shooting the breeze and doing what teen/pre-teen girls do.  Christine loves to write, read and sing.  Payton said when she learned that about Christine, she couldn't believe how much they have in common.  

James has really taken to her, along with Jackson.  Avery's definitely a fan and Brookster is his own, independent, kind of aloof self.  Man, I love that kid.  Sometimes I look out the window and see him walking around in our yard with a dinosaur or lizard toy just lost in make believe.  So sweet.  He doesn't need high levels of entertainment.  I love that about him.  And he's the one who I greeted first in the family room the morning after Christine had arrived (she was still sleeping) and he said with the hugest Christmas-morning-grin on his face that he couldn't believe Christine was finally here.  

She is amazingly Americanized.  She's read the Harry Potter series, Percy Jackson series, Hunger Games series...you name it.  She loves American Idol, pizza, bbq ribs, and iced tea.  Her English is superb.  Man, that's made all the difference.  Being able to talk with her has been so nice.

It's been great getting to know her and hearing about her life and growing to appreciate more and more what a strong young lady she is.  I appreciate everything she shares with us.  And she and Payton have some really great conversations.  

I will do a photo-laden post tomorrow.  I have a bunch to share.  I can't believe we have just three days until Christmas!  Wow.  

Where has the last week gone!?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

the christmas of christine

This is like that show 'The First 48 Hours.'

Christine's stocking arrived just hours before we picked her up at the airport.  So cool.

Here we are -- what a motley crew! -- waiting for her to arrive.  

More times than I can count, these two asked me when Christine was going to arrive.  

We snagged her an RVA sweatshirt at the airport.  :)

Day One (Tuesday): we had to introduce her to Sweet Frog, of course.  Largely due to the fact that a sweet friend gave us a gift card to use when Christine was here.  We have the best friends.  :)

Christine turned 14 today (I was off by a year)!  What a treat it is to celebrate her birthday with her.  Especially because her children's home director called last night and told me that Christine wasn't too thrilled at the idea of being away for her birthday and Christmas.  She was unsure about celebrating with people she doesn't even know.  I can't say I blame her.  

We made a cool tie dye cake that required six different colors of cake batter.

Good thing I had lots of help!

Batter in the pans...

...to a very cool cake!

The kids and I weren't sure how this was going to turn out, but we were very impressed.

Then off to the Wednesday night service at St. Stephen's when Payton sings and we have dinner.

The boys were having fun with Christine.  Brooks, Jackson and Avery fight over who gets to sit next to her at the table and in the car.  Every time we sit down or head out.  Oye.

But this was sweet.  All were laughing, and carrying on.

She's soo good with them.  Very patient and not put out by them at all.

 Making a 'star' with their hands.

This Christmas is proving to be a very special one with Christine here.  Somehow having her here has added a little sparkle to our days.  Amazing what opening your heart and home does for your spirit.  The kids are floating (er, at least they were for the first 36 hours)...now they're slowly returning to their normal fussing, tattling, whining, arguing ways.  

Welcome, Christine.

This is family.

I'm amazed at how well things are going.  I expected nothing less, but all the 'manuals' and 'trainings' for hosting warn you that it won't be a cake walk and that most kids aren't going to be without attitude problems, gratitude issues, sulking, etc.  I've seen nothing of the sort so far.

Yes, I know it's early, but so far so good.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

5 days

Five days and counting until Christine arrives.

We are so excited for her to come, yet I feel like a chicken with my head cut off.  The kids keep asking me, 'When, mama, when will Christine come?'  They are super excited.  In fact, a couple of them keep asking why we can't adopt her.  It's a tough one, right?  I mean, God opened their hearts to adoption.  They get it and know how wonderful it can be thanks to our wonderful Jimmy Jam.  So I find myself saying I don't feel in my heart that we're meant to adopt Christine, we're just meant to bring her here, love on her and help her find her family.

A pair of pajamas and a toothbrush & toothpaste wait on her bed for her.

I just ordered her a stocking that matches ours with her name embroidered on it.  I couldn't imagine picking up some random stocking and having her feel, perhaps again, like the odd man out.  And I hope it might mean a lot to her to have her very own stocking with her name on it.

Our dear friends, yet again, have risen to the occasion.  They're always so quick to show us that they're with us on these little 'adventures' God sends us on.  They gave us a $100 Target gift card to take Christine shopping.  Mm-mm-mm.

And it doesn't end there...

Two fellow Hopers (i.e. folks who attend our church, HOPE Church) have offered to treat Christine at no cost.  A dentist and an eye doctor.

This is huge, y'all.  The dentist is even coming in on his day off to treat her so he can devote all the time necessary to her possible need for restorations.

A family with a 15 year old has offered hand-me-downs from their daughter.  Yes!

It's amazing to watch God move in His people and to see a community rally around a girl from a faraway land.  A girl no one's even met, but who we all know deserves to experience Jesus and to feel loved.

JD and I found out yesterday that we have to have physicals completed before Christine travels.  Um...that left us four days.  Now, we have appointments late in the afternoon on Friday.  Talk about 11th hour.

Sometimes, I can get all grumbly and grumpy when things aren't simple, tidy and smooth.  I don't like curve balls, but they sure are a part of life, aren't they?

We're rocking and rolling and looking forward to 8:45 PM when her flight arrives on Monday!

Please pray that she feels safe and comfortable with us.  Can you imagine the bravery of this young woman to come here literally all by herself?

That alone is humbling.


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