Saturday, July 26, 2014

Old meets New

Back in 2011 I received an email from an adoptive mom who was asking about a boy in Ava’s orphanage.

His name was Si Ping.

(the boy on the right in the red Mickey Mouse jacket)

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And she wondered if we knew him and if we could shed some light on his condition or personality as she was advocating for him to get a family.

And just like God does, He orchestrated a incredible connection!

Becuz as I was looking through the disposable camera pictures that we had sent in Ava’s care package I realized that Ping was in a lot the pictures!

Come to find out that Ava and Ping were good friends in the Jinzhong orphanage.   She would tell me things about him when she first came home. But lately she doesn’t remember anything about her time in China.

But I recently came across one of Ava’s conversations with me from Nov. 26, 2012 in my journal:

She climbed into bed at 7:00AM and asks me: “You keep me forever?”
I said, “Of course!”
She then said, “I had three friends in my china. Two girls and a boy.”
I said, “Oh really? Was the boy named Ping?”
To which her eyes lite up in recognition of hearing his name and she said yes.
I asked if she played with him and she said yes.
Then I told her he is getting adopted and will have a family.
She smiled and asked but what about the girls?
So interesting!

There was NO WAY she would have known that just before I went to bed, I had rec’d an email from Cindy telling me that she is actually going to ADOPT Ping!!!

Cindy is (an amazing) single mom and had tried to adopt him in 2011 but China said NO.

So she kept advocating for him to get a family. But then her agency decided to send another LOI  in for Ping in 2012 (Without Cindy knowing! They didn’t want to get her hopes up!) and this time China said YES and she was given PRE APPROVAL to adopt Ping!!!!! 

Imagine her surprise when she got the phone call from CHI telling her that she was pre-approved for Ping and had the weekend to decide if she wanted to move forward with his adoption!

Talk about a huge decision!

But it is just another example on  how God moves mountains for the orphan!

Even when a government says NO, God has a different plan!!

So today Ping, who is now Simon, and Ava got to reunite!

The Stevens family lives in NY and were driving down to VA on vacation. 

So they stopped in for a short visit and to have lunch with us.


It was the sweetest visit.

I now have a new friend.

It was sooo nice to finally get to meet Cindy in person after emailing back and forth for 3 years!!!!!

(I truly wish I could meet all my “online” friends in person someday!!!!)


Cindy is truly an amazing mom and she has some great kids!


She has Grace (17), Hope (15), Faith (13), Richard (11), and Simon just turned 10!


Ava and Simon were shy around each other, but bringing the puppy out helped break the ice!

We aren’t sure how much either of them remembers about their time together in China. A lot of kids tend to block out those memories.  And once they lose their Chinese it is hard for them to put those past memories into English.

But there is just a special connection that I saw that I can’t really put into words. 

It was like they just “knew” each other.


Our next visit will have to be much longer!

We only got to scratch the surface of conversations….and I can’t wait to see them all again and continue hearing more of their stories.

Ava told me after they left that Simon is bigger now!

Which he is……he had to wait longer for his forever home and only got to come home last July.

So Ava left China in Feb. 2011 and Simon left July 2013. 

What a sweetheart he is!

His smile says it all……


He is home. <3

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ju-LY 25!

Ava asked to go to bed early on Thursday night… Friday would come quicker!

Today was a BIG day!


It was Ava’s birthday!!!!

Danish and hot cocoa for breakfast and bowl after bowl of Jiaozi (or pot sticker/dumplings) for lunch!

She was quite pleased!


It literally seems like yesterday that we got these pictures from her orphanage.


She was 3 years old then.

And now she is seven!

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We have officially had more birthdays WITH her than without her! <3


Of course her very special (early) present was getting the puppy she has always wanted. <3


But we had to do some celebrating for this precious one so we invited some friends and family over for some cake and ice cream and slip and slide time.


Simple and laid back….the way I like birthday parties to go!


She received some very special gifts!!!  And Willow did too!

Aunt Joy got Willow a bed and some toys.  Which Willow took and ran off with.  She loved them.  It was soooo cute!


(I didn’t get a picture of Applejack from G & G.  Ava gets to go to Build a Bear sometime and stuff him!  Ava is quite excited!)





The “Andrew’s” showing the girls how its done! Winking smile


And we can’t forget her special horse lesson on Thursday!


We are so thankful to have Jenica in our lives.  Ava and Jenica have a special bond and she blessed her with some very sweet presents! <3


“So here’s to a child who is joyful and clever.

Happy Day.

Happy Year.

Happy Always and Ever.” 

(from Happy Birthday Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton….love her books!)

And tomorrow there is a VERY special visitor coming the whole way from NY to see Ava.

Can’t wait to share this God Story!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for people who gave up time in their busy schedules to volunteer at our local special needs camp these past 6 weeks.

A camp for kids with special needs called Camp Ladybug.

Josie had such a good time yesterday….she even got to go down a water slide for the first time e.v.e.r.


Her nurse told me she saw just “pure joy” on Josie’s face as she slide down the hill.

Thank you Bev and Laura for helping out with these special kiddos and for helping Josie have the “bestest day ever.” <3

It really is a great camp. MUCH better then ESY in my opinion.  Josie has really enjoyed her time there and hopefully next year we will be able to go again.

And thanks for all the prayers yesterday during my conference call with Josie’s insurance company.

They had A LOT of wrong information. And no one seemed interested in hearing what I had to say…..but I said it all anyways. lol

I felt a peace and I didn’t feel intimidated.

I just spoke the truth.

And let the rest up to God.

I don’t know any outcome yet.  Well….I kinda do but it is too complicated to try and write out. 

So let’s say we are still “fighting” and a special lawyer will be called on Monday to have him give me some advice on what our next steps should be.

I keep telling myself that this whole thing is worth it.

That Josie is worth it.

But honestly I just want to throw in the towel.

We will see how I feel next week.

Tomorrow I won’t be doing anything insurance related as I want to totally be present and enjoy a special little girl’s 7th birthday! Winking smile

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


It is done!!!!!


Painting went fairly smoothly.  We had just enough paint to go the whole way around the sunroom and the back of the house too!

And I ended up loving the “more blue than gray” color that we got.


But I’m beat. 

I was so very thankful for Travis yesterday!! He went up on the roof and painted the peak for me.  He did lose his balance once and had to drop the paint can to save himself from falling off the roof.


But I’d much rather have a blue spot on the roof than a kid that fell off the roof! I didn’t need any ER visits yesterday!

The girls played outside all day and got nice and dirty. Ava practiced being a firefighter!


I was so frustrated though when I saw some bees chewing through the spray foamed holes!!!!  But I came in for a drink and I had an email from my friend, Dolly.  She said they had the same problem with their wood siding house and what worked was spraying WD40 into the holes (I KNEW WD40 can solve all the world’s problems!) and then stuff the holes with steel wool.

(I had read that online too but just picked the bee killer and spray foam method….but now we have done everything that is known to do to get these bees!)

So I immediately sent Travis to the store and we re-did the holes.  I think we got them all and we will see if they come back……

It is great that I can pay the kids in pizza! Winking smile


And then just when my 40 year old body was totally running out of steam the cavalry showed up and helped us finish painting the back of the sunroom! 

I was SOOO glad to see Tabby!

She had posted on FB that she just wanted to paint something!  So we invited her to join us and she did!

What a blessing!


Now I have to switch gears today and do the mounting laundry that didn’t get done the past couple of days and get mentally prepared for our “big” conference call with Josie’s insurance company today at 3:00. We asked to be a part of the round table decision so I will be “stating my case” and answering any questions they may have.

This is the packet of information they want to go over.


The facts really do speak for the themselves.  I can’t be here 24/7 to watch Josie.  She is unsafe without a nuse. But it is a fight.  And the sentence in this packet that really irks me is:



I don’t work.

I sit around all day and can just stare at Josie and make sure she isn’t choking or having a seizure or falling while she is walking.

I didn’t just paint a house…..or graduate a child from high school or anything.

I don’t have 5 other children who need taken to therapies or surgeries. Or work.


So if you could pray for me that I can be bold.  But be respectful.  That my words will come out clearly.

I posted a prayer request on our church prayer line this week and Grace sent me this encouragement:

I got your email this morning and decided to walk down to the basement immediately to post on the prayer chain.  I wasn't concentrating on anything as I took my first step-down but as my foot hit the step this verse flashed through my mind, "The Lord will fight for you, you have only to be still."

So very thankful that God’s got our back and these words gave me great peace yesterday.

But I would still cherish your prayers as I walk through this second appeal.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Waging War!

Against some nasty carpenter bees.

So on Friday I finally had enough of the carpenter bees that have plagued our house since we moved in.

They have been a nuisance since the day we moved in.  And so enough is enough!

The “old” part of our house is board and batten wooden siding. 


Which we should have replaced when we built the addition….but money ran out during the renovations (like it always does when you do a remodel; double the time, double the money!)

We are hopeful that we can get new windows and put new siding up in the next two years but we had to do something about the swiss cheese that we found behind the shutters!


So Travis and I sprayed the holes full of bee killer.

Then I spray foamed the holes shut.

Then I stained the bare wood to deter the bees from chewing again!

(Becuz I read on google (you can believe everything you read on the internet!) that the bees are deterred from chewing through the wood if it has stain on it.)

When Travis took the shutters off I’ll be honest….I was a bit annoyed at my Grandpa when I saw that he never painted behind the shutters!?!?

Bees LOVE raw wood!

But I chose to have a thankful attitude and instead focus on the fact that we get the privilege of living on this beautiful property and that we can “make it right” now.

When you buy a place like ours, there are certain “things”  you just inherit.

Some good….some not so good.

Carpenter bees was one of them.

When I was at Lowe’s getting the needed bee killing supplies I thought I might as well get paint for the old water pump out front too. 

And they had one yellow and it just happened to be on clearance.

And it was named…..Bumblebee yellow.


That made me laugh out loud in the store.

I remember growing up that Grandpa would take great pride in painting the pump a fresh coat of yellow.


And it was time to give it a fresh coat!! We have lived here almost NINE years.  That just seems crazy!

Time has FLOWN by with 3 adoptions, equaling 3 overseas trips, in the past 5 years!  So I guess we were a bit busy to worry about painting an old pump.

My Uncle Randy came over on Friday night and said, “Do you know that Grandpa’s been gone 7 years, today.”

And it just hit me how special it was I just “happened” to decide to paint the old pump on the anniversary of my Grandpa’s passing.


So I actually enjoyed painting the old pump (it still works!) and as I did I remembered my Grandma and Grandma and the fun we had coming over to their house growing up.  Grandma would cook us a.m.a.z.i.n.g food.  We would play Skip-Bo and swing on the swing out back.  We would sleep upstairs in the little room above what is now Josie’s room. 

To purposely remember the good things and not dwell on the things that can annoy us.  That is a good rule of thumb for life in general I guess!

But as most projects do….this one turned into a bigger one.  After we got the shutters off and painted a nice fresh white again we realized how badly the siding was and so it is getting a fresh coat of paint tomorrow and Tuesday.


Thanks to Travis and myself!


(I sent Steve to Lowe’s for a gray/blue paint…..this looks pretty blue to me.  But we will see what it looks like when it fully dries! Either way we are using it as we have 2 gallons of it now!)

The finished project hopefully will be unveiled on Wednesday…..we shall see how it goes….I’m already exhausted!!