Beautiful Life

Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher

Friday, January 28, 2011

Anti-Stressing Techniques

Okay, so I'm a little different than the rest of the sane world.  My stress relievers..........well, they might not work for you.  As a matter-of-fact, if I was a betting woman {which I'm not}, I'd bet that this might just jump your blood pressure into the danger zone.

When I decided to pull apart a leaky lap-desk so I could stuff it with regular stuffing, all the static-riddled saxophone* balls were literally JuMpInG out of the garbage bag I was trying to dump them into!  They were sticking to my hand, my arm and crawling up into my hair!  Then the garbage bag slid out of my hands and more saxophone* balls spilled into the floor.....and got on the stoic dog at my feet.  I could have gotten my knickers in a wad over it.  But, then two little girls saw the "snowy" mess and started laughing at me and at the dog.  They squealed in delight at the stickiness of that snow and really, really, really wanted to play.

*saxophone=styrofoam in Claire's language!

And me, being who I am.....I let them.  And, I laughed with them!  And took pictures.  Because it was a nice break in our hectic lives right now.  

We needed a break....but daddy came out of his office and thought I'd lost my mind!  He is one of those people that absolutely would not have let anyone play in this and make a bigger mess. 

He wouldn't let two southern girls pretend that it was snowing in the living room! 

Or cover the dog and laugh their heads off at the look of it!

He doesn't understand the fun factor here!  Or that I don't mind vacuuming, 'cause that is like therapy for me! 

 And he needed to go back in his office and take a pill and sit at his desk {which isn't any neater than the living room floor in my opinion} and not see what was happening in the other room. 

When it was over, I vacuumed up.  Yes, I vacuumed the dog!  And yes, she sat there for the vacuuming, just like she laid in the middle of the ruckus.....'cause that's how Georgia rolls!  The Little Girls {nick name for two small sister-dogs we have}, attempted to stay away from said ruckus.  They are little prissy and should have headed back to the office with Daddy! 

And yes, I am still finding little "saxophone" balls in odd places every now and then.  But, they just remind me of a good time!  And laughing little girls.  And teen boys watching from the stairs.  Too cool to play, but it was fun to watch, I guess. 

So stress-relieving?  Or do you need to go hide with Paul?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

To China We Will Go!

I've been a little distracted.  I forgot about the kids piano lessons until a few minutes before we should be there on Monday.  I had to call and cancel. I forgot about their dentist appointment until the very minute we should have been walking out the front door on Tuesday. We were late.  I forgot about something on Wednesday too, but now I've forgotten what it was! I forgot to buy groceries for the one lunch my kids have to pack.  The one they pack every single week for Thursday classes.  But, it slipped my mind and 20 minutes before we had to leave, I ran to the store, came home and slapped 5 lunches together.  We were almost late.

But, we did in fact get our Travel Approval on Monday (1/24!).  So I kinda have an excuse for why I can't seem to remember my name or where my glasses are....."they're on your face, mom!" 

I can't seem to complete a thought and all I can seem to do is hit the refresh button on my laptop so I can see if I got another email from a travel agent with better prices or new schedules or one from a fellow traveling family with news of hotels or anything!  We have booked nothing yet!  AND WE LEAVE IN LESS THAN THREE WEEKS! 

I take that back.  We booked our hotel in Tianjin.  We booked that one because last time we stayed at the Renaissance Marriott and Paul wanted to stay there again.  He is Marriott reward Gold Card Member (I know, ooooOooOooo, right?).  Anyway, he did get three nights for free and it works out to like $60 a night for the 5 nights we have to be there.  Breakfast included.  So that's done.  At least something is checked off the growing list of things that need to be done before we leave!

What's not done?  Oh. My.  Well let's see....the international flights going to and fro, the in China transportation from the North to the coast and then to the south, the guides (to speak English for us!), the hotels in three other cities we have to stay in, the appointments with the orphanage, Civil Affairs, the passport office, the visa medical and others.  I haven't packed....duh.  I haven't made all the kids schedules out so they get where they are supposed to be!  Or a schedule for when to give Claire medicine and cath her and......I haven't gotten a cell phone issue worked out so we have cell coverage in Asia.  I haven't done the grocery shopping so my kids won't starve.  Okay, I guess technically speaking, their grandparents wouldn't let them starve!  I haven't finished planning the Father-Daughter-Dance here in Charleston, haven't finished writing out lesson plans for the kids, or gotten with my subs for the classes I teach. 

There is just so much to do.  And so little time.  I told Paul tonight that I was going to be difficult to live with the next few weeks.  He said, "I know". 

Good thing he didn't say, "what's new?" 

Oh and did I show you what made my day even more special?  Not only did I get travel approval on Monday, but when Isabel came back from the mailbox, she handed me a box.  I saw where it came from, but was confused.  I was confused because it was from Hip Mom Jewelry and I knew I had not ordered anything from there.  But, someone had.  I opened the box and promptly burst into tears!  Who wouldn't?


Someone very sweet had done that for me!  Sweet Karla!   She ordered this for me and used my family code so that we would get the fundraising money.  The gift that keeps giving!  That fundraiser is coming to a close on Monday and I will be able to see what we made. 

We only made $30 from Wild Olive Tees, but I tell you, that is $30 I didn't have before!  And then a sweet family that did a WOT fundraiser before us, completed their trip before they were able to get their money so they passed it on to us!  So, add that to the $30 we made and it's over $100!  We also sold all our gold jewelry to a friend that brokers gold.  He even gave us his commission.  We aren't big jewelry people, so we didn't have much, but we had $650 worth!  Every penny helps, right?

Well, I better go refresh my email or find something else to sell.  I'm going to get my boy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friendly Reminder

If by chance, you had your eye on one of those fabulous pieces of Hip Mom Jewelry, I just wanted to remind you that time is running out to place an order to Help Bring Asher Home!  Ann, at Hip Mom  is truly a gifted designer.  Each piece is hand stamped sterling silver and many pieces can be personalized!  If you haven't taken a look yet, you need to get over there right away!  This stuff makes great gifts....think Valentines, think Anniversary, think Mother's Day.  You will be......

To purchase jewelry that will apply to our adoption fundraiser, please be sure to purchase from the Adoption Page {it's not just adoption jewelry} and don't forget to reference our family code 2011JANGour when checking out! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rainbows and Prayers

See, I told you Isabel is my own personal rainbow!

I posted that picture to cheer myself up.  There is nothing fun to report on the adoption front.  This is just one of those times where there is nothing to do but wait.  It's too early to pack, it's too early to book travel.  I've done the visas, which came in the mail yesterday.  Two multi-entry, 12 month China visas. 

A package of TAs was delivered to our agency today, but ours was not in it.  The good news is that our dates are next in line.  They could get another delivery on Friday, but it's more likely that it will come on Monday and hopefully ours will be there!  In the mean time, we wait.

I guess I need to go look for some long underwear.  I hear it's pretty brutal in Northern China in February!  I'm still hopeful that we will travel in February.  We have a small window and if we can get a consulate appointment for the first week of March, and get all our funds in order, we are outta here!  We will head to China 17 or 18th of February.  If we miss that window, we have a conflict and can't leave until after March 11th. 

Want something to pray for?  Here is our list right now:
  • Pray that our boy is safe and warm and healthy. 
  • Pray that he will be somewhat prepared for what is about to happen.
  • Pray that all we will be able to raise all the funds needed to go sooner rather than later.
  • Pray that we will get out Travel Approval soon so we can book our travel.  The sooner we book, the less expensive it will be.
  • Pray that we don't make any mistakes when we are booking our travel.  Last time our agency did all this for us, this time we are doing it ourselves in an effort to save money!
  • Pray that I don't loose my mind!
  • Pray that Paul doesn't loose his mind!
  • Pray that we are able to get everything set up for the kids we are leaving here at home.  They will need to get to and from classes and sports events and social engagements.  We will be gone for at least 2 weeks and I want them to be distracted enough not to realize it!
  • Pray that all our hearts are ready for the changes that are coming.

Monday, January 17, 2011


In the unlikely event that are still one or two of you out there reading this blog.....I thought I'd tell you I'M STILL HERE.  Shocking, I know. 

Actually, shocking would be if YOU are still here! 

I am knee deep in preparations to leave the country.  Knee deep in plans for the homeschool standardized testing that I coordinate this time every year.  Knee deep in plans for the Father-Daughter-Dance that I volunteered to coordinate for this March!  I am neck deep in fundraising and finalizing.  I am buried under laundry and housework and homeschooling. 

But, it's all good, because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have it any other way!

One of the things we had to take care of was wrting a letter to go with our Lifesong account.  My husband decided to take it upon himself to take care of this feat and I was so glad to have that off my plate.  He began the letter:

Many of you are aware of the calling that God has placed on our hearts, that we would adopt another fatherless child into our family. You also know how much we have been blessed by our adopted daughter, Claire, and the inspiration that she is to so many who have witnessed the miracle of her healing!

I don't know if you get tired of me bringing it up, but I just don't get tired of saying it!  THEY SAID SHE WAS NOT LIKELY TO WALK!  Doctors in China were so convienced of it, that they never had her club feet corrected or even tried therapy with her.  They simply said she wouldn't and so she was treated as if she could not.  Period.  Doctor's here didn't hold out much hope either. 

Well, to any doctor that told a child they couldn't just because they shouldn't be able to.......

What do you say, now?

Nothing like having three very active older sibs to have to try to keep up with, right?  There was no way she was going to let them have all the fun!  And soon there will be a little brother to keep up with too.  Talk about motivation!  I assure you, she isn't going to just sit there and let a younger brother run circles around her.  NO. WAY.

How soon?  Well, your guess is as good as mine. 

More about that tomorrow.

Well you didn't think I'd give you all the updates in one post did you?  Then what would I have to blog about the rest of the week???

Friday, January 14, 2011

Caught Up

This weekend will be the weekend that I get caught up here.  Don't laugh!  That is my plan.  I have so many posts rattling around my head that I have to get them up!  And since Paul is out of town until Sunday, now is the perfect time to get it done. 


Of course, since Paul is out of town until Sunday, that means I am solely responsible for getting Claire to her basketball pictures at 10am on Saturday and her game at 11am and Isabel to her pictures at 2pm and her game at 3pm.  Oh yeah, and I need to meet with the lady in charge of the facility I'm going to use for the homeschool Father Daughter Dance in March (Why yes.  I am a nutball.  I did in fact volunteer to head up the Father Daughter Dance my defense, I volunteered last March and had no idea what would be going on in my life today!)  because I've never been inside that building.....that's at 1pm.  Then I have to get all the children to church on Sunday.....alone....and go to the grocery store with all the children....alone.....

Hmmm.....ummmm....well..............{insert deer in headlights look and cue crickets chirping}

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In Awe

I'm sure you have all seen the changes recently in the fundraising thermometers.  We were so blessed by the donations we received in December! 

And not just the big one, but also the two $25 donations that came in right after Christmas.  Those meant a lot too, because I know it would be hard for me to scrape together even $10 the week after Christmas! 

Then there was the donation given by a sweet family that adopted their daughter after we adopted Claire.  They followed our journey and we followed theirs.  Actually, they were THE OTHER FAMILY.  They recently told their adoption story at a concert and helped inspire people to sponsor orphans.  When the concert was over, a nice lady walked up and put some cash in their hands.  They decided to make sure it went to bring a child home and donated it to us. 

And, we closed out two fundraisers that we will get paid for this month!  Two fundraisers that were made possible because someone else gave up.  Gave up their profit, so we could Bring Asher Home!  And others shopped for our cause. 

These stories just leave me in AWE

Because I know WHO orchestrates them. 

Amazingly, we now have all our agency fees, and our visas paid for.  We exceeded our goal for the month of December and that was just amazing!  Here I was thinking that setting a goal of $5000 was lofty.  Well, it was lofty.  Just not impossible for our mountain-moving, God!

All this has left me, as I've said..... in awe.  But today I am particularly in awe.  I marvel at the lengths to which three girls would go to help others out.  Today the mercury on that thermometer is going up another $175.  Why?  Because three girls set out to make a difference......and boy did they!

Meet Caroline, Mary Foster and Brianna.  Three girls that dedicated a part of their Christmas break to something bigger than themselves. Three girls that didn't just talk about how they could change the world, the did it!  They hit the streets of their neighborhood and took cookie orders before Christmas.  Then they baked their hearts out to fill those orders and made about $600!  $600!  Three pre-teen girls with $600 dollars in their pockets, did not head to the mall to spend the money on nail polish and new boots, toys, and video games for themselves.  No.  Each girl chose someone to benefit from her hard work.  All the profits were donated.  Water Missions, a mission family in Uganda and Bring Asher Home were the recipients.  And yesterday, these three presented themselves on my doorstep, envelope of money in hand.  And I stand in awe yet again! 

When I grow up, I hope I'm just like them. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Shopping for a Great Reason!

I just have to say that we have been so blessed by all the generosity of our family and friends.  Some of you have given finacial gifts and some of you have given of your time or other resources. Many of you have done both!  We have also been blessed to have been able to use Wild Olive Tees and Thirty-One as fundraisers. 

As we go into this new year I want to make sure you know that I remember.  And we are thankful! I remember every person that has given anything to this adoption.  And, I pray for you and your families.  I remember the $10 donations and the $1000 donations.  I remember the cupcakes given for a yard sale and the time spent helping on cold mornings.  And I remember every person that has said they are praying for us.  Thank you!

Faith, hope and Love will get this baby home.  Now I have another reason to be thankful and feel blessed.  We have been chosen as a fundraising family by Hip Mom Jewelry
If you have never heard of  Hip Mom Jewelry, you really need to take a look!  Click any link in this blog post or the button on the right and it will take you straight to the store. The pieces available for the fundraiser, including all those featured in this post,  are just beautiful and all are hand stamped sterling silver! 

As a fundraising family, we will be given 30% of each necklace sold when the buyer uses our family code {2011JANGour} in the "gift voucher" section during check-out. 

Isn't this Infinity necklace exquisite?  Any of the pieces would make a wonderful gift for a mother, grandmother or special someone!  Valentines is coming up soon.  Personalized items like these necklaces do take 3 to 4 weeks to ship, so drop that hint early this year, girls!

Other lovely pieces, like this Hope for China necklace, can be ready to ship in 2 weeks or less.  There are 13 very nice necklaces on the adoption page and we will receive benefits from them for the entire month of January.  So, go check out Ann's designs!  Anything on the adoption page that this link takes you to are available for the fundraiser.
If you have ever wanted a piece of Mom Jewelry or wanted to give a piece,  now is the time to buy.  Shop for a great reason!  Shop to Bring Asher Home!   Just remember.....if you want your piece to help Bring Asher Home, you have to enter our family code {2011JANGour} when you check out.  Thanks!