Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Things

~ with Maw Maw and Paw Paw

~ with Mark and Lee Lee

~ with Mimi and Lolly

~ Christmas at home

~ lovely Christmas-y storefronts

~ a local live nativity scene

~ beautiful snow

We wish you and your family a most special Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Mama!

my dad and mom

our family stockings today

Today is my mom's birthday and in honor of that occaision and the coming Christmas season, I wanted to tell about a very special memory that is woven throughout my childhood. Christmas stockings. This is one of my very favorite parts about the Christmas tradition. My mom put alot of thought into the filling of my sister's and my stocking. There were always several small and medium sized individually wrapped presents inside it. Each Christmas morning, my sister and I would sit down with our stockings. I would open one present and then she would open one present. I always wanted good experiences to last as long as long as possible. It is a precious memory and a tradition that I wanted to continue with our children. My stocking was needlepoint. Over a couple of years, we gathered enough needlepoint stockings for each of the six of us. Thank you to my mom for making this such a special tradition in my childhood.
And, Happy Birthday!

My Baby is FOUR!

Our beautiful baby girl turned four years old yesterday! We are so blessed to have her as our daughter. During most of my pregnancy with her, we were convinced that she was a boy. And, had the baby been a little boy, we would have cherished him. But because her being a girl was so unexpected, that element of surprise is fun to reflect opon in that pregnancy. She is very independent and yet enjoys her "baby" status. She will change clothes all day long if I let her and she has VERY definite opinions about her clothes. Her nickname is now Ladybug. We love you so much, little girl! Happy, happy birthday!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The idea of simplification always holds such appeal for me, as I am sure it does to most women. I really enjoy following Joanne Heim's blog, She recently opened up a blog conversation called "Simplify Me." Everyone's approach toward this project of simplicity is going to vary widely. But for me, any project is going to involve creating a LIST.

My Personal Goals
1. Quiet Time
2. Exercise
3. Psalm 19:14
4. Supper
5. Journal

I love a challenge like this!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

There Are No Orphans of God

One year ago, on this most special day, God hand delivered Miah YiLin Burge to our arms. There are no orphans of God. During the summer of 2000, a young women concieved a child. She chose to carry this child to birth. On a specific day in 2001, the cries of an infant girl pierced the air somewhere in the city of Kunming. 365 days of tending and feeding. 365 days of words spoken. Tender moments. Fear. Unthinkable decisions. There are no orphans of God. On Saturday, April 20, 2002, a citizen found a one year old little girl in the city. This baby girl was brought under the care of the Kunming Social Welfare Institute. Medical care. Provision. There are no orphans of God. Two months later, a Chinese couple were given a 14 month old baby girl to foster. For FIVE years. Five years of touch and words. Five years of experiences. Five years of special kisses. Five years of LIFE. There are no orphans of God. Six years of life in which God was watching, moving and intervening. Monday, November 5, 2007, China officially transfered the care of this child to Ira and I. A forever family for Miah YiLin Burge. God had responded to the prayers of so many. God blessed. He is tender. He is magificent. He is Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent. There are no orphans of God. From the beginning of time God has had a plan for each person in this tapestry - Miah, Miah's birth parents, a certian citizen, Miah's foster parents, Miah's "third" parents and her siblings. Provision.
I am speechlessly blessed.

Face to the ground. Hands raised. Worship.

Beloved God.

from PSALM 139

Oh LORD, You have searched me and known me.

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

You understand my thought from afar.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,

And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

Even before there is a word on my tongue,

Behold, O LORD, You know it all.

You have enclosed me behind and before,

And laid Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the dawn,

If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

Even there Your hand will lead me,

And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,

And the light around me will be night,"

Even the darkness is not dark to You,

And the night is as bright as the day

Darkness and light are alike to You.

For You formed my inward parts;

You wove me in my mother's womb.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Wonderful are Your works,

And my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,

And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;

And in Your book were all written

The days that were ordained for me,

When as yet there was not one of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.....

God is aware of every single moment of every single day of every single person's life. God breathed the stars into exsistance. God knows the number of hairs on our head. He is watching, he is moving, he is intervening. There are no orphans of God! (If you have the volume on your computer turned off or way down, please take the time to listen to the first song on my playlist, There Are No Orphans of God by Avalon. I think you will be blessed.)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

One Year Ago Today........

One year ago today, we were in flight to Hong Kong. A major step

forward in meeting our third daughter.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Star Wars Birthday Party

We celebrated Biscuit's 6th Birthday with a Star Wars Party. The kids had
so much fun playing together and eating cake. Happy Birthday little boy!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ready, Set, GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One year ago on this very day, I was standing in our hairdresser's shop, watching Tiger Lily get her hair cut. My phone rang. It was Ira. His words, "CCAI just called and asked if we could leave November 1 to get Miah!" I asked him what he told them, he said "Of course!" I desparately wanted to scream with JOY! This was just one day over 2 weeks away! If I thought I was generally unproductive (as far as normal life things) after LOA, I was certifiably unproductive now. All life seemed to grind to a stand still and EVERYTHING became pre-China details. Preparation for 3 weeks away from home for Ira, I and a new little one. Preparation for 3 weeks away from home for three little ones, at two different households. New currency, final payments, flights scheduled, checking, checking and re-checking official paperwork, clothes, computer, adapters, it went on and on and on. WOW. What an experience. We literally could not have managed all of the details without God's intervention. And so the story continues....................

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One, Two, Three, Four, Five, SIX!

Six years ago this morning, we were introduced to our Biscuit! It's a BOY! I distinctly remember my first sight of him as he was brought around the operating table. Blondish fuzz and lighter skin than Tiger Lilly. He has been such a joy to watch growing up. He is every bit a boy. Literal-minded. Particular about what he will eat. Accomplished lego engineer. Aspiring guitar player. Pocketknife-carrying little boy. Precious. Happy, happy birthday Biscuit! We love you!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Tiger Lilly!




Our eldest daughter will turn 9 years old tomorrow. Nine years ago tomorrow a nine pound baby girl was placed in my arms. Blessed. She has grown up into a sensitive and talented young lady, who loves to read, play the piano and to scrapbook. We celebrated her birthday last weekend, with a scrapbook party. The girls had a BLAST! I couldn't have been more pleased. Happy, happy birthday, sweet girl.

Living the Dream

Ira and I were talking recently. We were discussing something about which we felt differently. I wanted one outcome, he another. The subject was serious and we both felt strongly, differently. I think, one day, I will tell this story. It is worthy of written words. Even though, I wanted what I wanted, what I fundamently wanted, was to honor God and my husband. I knew that Ira regretted not "letting" me have what I wanted. It came to me so clearly, then, as it does off and on. The realization of that One Thing was not the centerpiece of my hopes. My reality is this: I AM living THE DREAM. I literally could not ask for more. I am married to a man that wants to honor God and adores me. We believe in each other's dreams and passions. I am a mama. I have always wanted to be a mama. Four kids. Abundance. Our home, room to spare. A church home about which we are passionate. Opportunities to minister to young women. Scrapbooking. Reading. Living. God is Good, God is Great. Blessed be the name of the LORD.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

One Year Ago Tomorrow.....




One year ago tomorrow, we received a surprise phone call. After months of uncertainty regarding when we would be able to go get Miah, we found out that we were in the match room. WOW. Words can not adequately describe our elation! Not only that, but the VERY NEXT DAY we received the much anticipated email from our agency - We have your Letter of Acceptance! I truly do not think that my feet touched the ground again, until we arrived home with our third precious daughter a month and a half later. Most of the treasured events of our family have happened during this autumnal season - the birth of each of our biological children and the adoption of Miah. We are indeed so mightly blessed!

Monday, September 8, 2008


I keep thinking that NEXT week, things will slow down. Surely. However, we are so blessed to have healthy bodies in which to be busy! We've been schooling, I've taken a trip to Texas, Ira has been to the coast with the State Guard for disaster relief, and choir is starting up at church.

On schooling - I continue to re-evaluate our schedule and curriculum. With Tiger Lilly, I am focusing on spelling, grammar, math, piano and reading DAILY. I've decided to take, by weeks, assigned writing & poetry, science, history, etc. I will probably do the assigned writing, daily, every other week. Then fill in the alternate weeks with theme units (science & history) with all the kids. I have to keep reminding myself - TL is only in third grade, TL is only in third grade. If I push her too hard, put to much pressure on her, I will have wasted these precious early years with her. I have the opportunity, in these early years, to focus on the core subjects and, otherwise, have as much fun as we can fill in. Therefore, with TL, my daily focus is spelling, grammar, math, piano and reading, the end. With P and B, I do phonics, math and handwriting 3-4 days a week. They are in kindergarten. I have learned that that is all it takes to learn kindergarten concepts well.

I had a great time visiting my sister in Texas last week! We visited my aunt and uncle in Llano, went to a spa, did Mobile Loaves and Fishes, went to a rockin' out church service, got to see the president's plane land and hit the scrapbook stores. YUM! It was an awesome time. I have the BEST sister in the world!

American Heritage Girls starts up tonight for TL. Church Choir starts up Wednesday night. Chinese Cultural School starts up Saturday for P. WOW.

It must be the NEXT week..............

I AM sorry that I have been slow to post. I hope everyone has a BLESSED day!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Alive and Thriving!

We have been so busy living and schooling! This school year has been the absolute best so far, but I still find myself tweaking the schedule and trying to find ways to better teach each of my students. They ARE doing well with their work and are enjoying creative activities.

I hope each of you and your families are doing well!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thankful Thursday

- the faithfulness of my God
- the mercy of my God
- the soveriegnty of my God
- the health of my family
- faith and hope in my children's eyes
- strengthened and tightened muscles
- a home school going well
- scrapbook layouts, well done
- an abundant supply of good books
- the gift of today, right now
- peace and stillness
- the opportunity to help others
- friends

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Update on Home School

We have completed our second day of Home School. I have to report, that I am so very pleased with how it is going! The kids are enjoying it, for the most part, AND the preparation I've done, has been blessed by God to cause the plans I made to work out well. I have had to make some changes - the Apologia readings ARE too complex for the younger three. It WILL challenge Tiger Lily, but be good for her. My goal, in science for the little ones, will be to pull 2-3 facts from each week's lesson to go over with them. This will be coupled with relevant pictures and inclusion in the more fun activities.

As far as history goes, I am going to limit my readings, this year, to the information on each week's card. We ARE learning the song that coordinates with the events and ALL the kids will participate in the fun activities that go along with each lesson.

Little mister Biscuit WILL be reading well before Christmas - he is just ready. I am SO proud of him and also GRATEFUL to God for his natural interest in learning. Papaya and Ladybug, formerly Butterbean, are also enjoying the lessons in phonics, math, science and history.

Now that we have started our Home School, I am able to begin to turn some of my attention to two of my other projects. In a couple of weeks, I am going on a short in-state mission trip and will be working with 1st-3rd graders, utilizing VBS curriculum. Then,in September, I will assume the role of 4th-6th grade church choir leader. This age range will be a new experience for me, but I truly feel it is where God is leading me. I recently attended a music leadership conference that taught us how to use our particular music curriculum. I am excited, inspired and in preparation. Please pray for me that I will let God use me to minister to these kids.

I hope all is well with you and your sweet families.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

On Home Schooling

Swimming fun!

I love how, in this picture, you can see their different eye colors :o)

We are a home schooling family. There is something so very satisfying about leading and guiding my children's minds in good wholesome learning experiences. Up until this year, we have used the Abeka curriculum almost solely. But, part of me has longed to embrace more of the beauty of home schooling through utilizing a variety of curriculums. I have been aided and encouraged in this endeavor through reading the book, The Well-Trained Mind, A Guide to Classical Education at Home, by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. Good, good reading.

This year I will be formally teaching the three older ones. I will be incorporating Miss Butterbean informally.

Among the third-grade-specific curriculums we will be using - Rod & Staff (Grammar) and Abeka & Calculadder (Math). Also, Tiger Lilly will read through many, many books, chosen from a classical learning site that gives direction concerning grade level book choices. Once, during each nine weeks, she will do a book report on a specified book. She will also be memorizing one poem per each nine weeks. During the last nine weeks, she will be exposed to a brief history of the famous Greek philosophers and poets, Socrates, Plato, Cicero, Homer, and Virgil. She will also read through children's versions of The Illiad and the Odyessy and the Aenied. The motivation for the exposure to the aforesaid readings cooresponds and reinforces what we will be studying in history this year.

Kindergarten-specific curriculums that we are using - Phonics Pathways, Abeka & Explode the Code (Phonics), Abeka (Math) and Abeka (Handwriting). The curriculums I am using for history and science are both classically and creation based. They are also taught in cycles, five years and four years respectively. The company that produces the history program is Veritas Press. We are beginning at the beginning of the cycles, studying The Ancients (Old Testament, Greece and Rome). We will study 32 events from this period. The kids will learn a song that will help cement the events in their minds. We will have readings for each event, along with crafts, mapping activities and a timeline. For science, the program we are using is Apologia Astronomy. Throughout the year we will read about all aspects of astronomy and do a science experiment each week. Wow. I hope I haven't given you a headache reading this, but I am so excited. I have been delving into familiarizing myself with new curriculums and lesson planning.

I hope you and your dear families are doing well. Take care!

Friday, June 13, 2008

What We've Been Up To

Last week we did Vacation Bible School at our church. We LOVE doing VBS. It IS exhausting - but it feels like the best of what church is supposed to be. We love it. Our theme was Lifeway's Outrigger Island. The music was great, as usual. The kids had a great time and learned more about Jesus.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thankful Thursday

~ a Savior who adores me and whose mercies are new every morning
~ a husband who believes in and is proud of me
~ children who want to be held
~ being told "You are my f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e mama!"
~ the songs on this blog and 100.9, K-LOVE
~ the pursuit of my passion of scrapbooking
~ the joy of finding the right words
~ the absence of pain
~ my Sunday School class
~ life

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Have I Mentioned that the Dees and the Dude are NOT Afraid of a Little Dirt?

Gimme a D and a I,

Gimme a R and a T and a Y,

What do ya have?
I like to think that letting my kids get this dirty is a sign of good mothering!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Stylin' Little Ladies

Today I determined that it was NOW time to give the little ladies' hair a trim. Tiger Lily is also interested in a new look, but her desired style will require some more experienced scissors! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Three Chickadees and a Strapping Chickadude

~ compassionate and tenderhearted
~ loves to read
~ loves going to church
~ loves hanging out with her friends
~ would listen to K-LOVE, 24/7
~ talented scrapbooker
~ budding chef

~brave and stronghearted
~ loves playing with babydolls
~ loves cats and dogs
~ enjoys dressing up
~ doesn't mind getting dirty
~ talented masseuse
~ patient, perceptive, and curious

~ full of life and all boy
~ loves to ride his bike
~ loves to do "tricks" on said bike
~ loves participating in acts of "daring-do"
~ is ALWAYS hungry
~ building with legos is as natural as breathing
~ digging in dirt is an art form :o)

~ is the baby and she loves it
~ independent and sassy
~ a little mama to all who happen to be at least 1/8 in. shorter than herself
~ considers herself capable of all that her siblings can do
~ does NOT like dressing up and has NEVER been afraid of a little (or a lot) of dirt
~ "I'm gonna tell-tell!"
~ loves potato salad, just like her Papa