Sunday, June 29, 2014

ONE YEAR HOME!

One year ago tonight at 11:30pm we arrived in Raleigh. Personally, I was a sick, emotional mess. Brian, despite no sleep, was amazing. I think he got his second wind when we landed in Newark and he got to eat a good 'ole fashioned American hamburger. I, on the other hand never really got a second wind. On our flight from Beijing I woke up feeling like someone was running nails inside my throat. My head hurt and my body ached and I just wanted to be home in my bed. When we landed in Raleigh I couldn't get off of that plane fast enough. Brian had JG and laughed as I ran ahead. I was beyond excited to see my boys and couldn't wait to hug their necks. I was crying before I got to them and it only got worse. I didn't care how many people were around, I cried the ugly cry long and loud while I hugged them. I didn't realize Aubrey was recording it all but I'm glad she did. I have tried to upload it to no avail. Pics will have to do.


A year home. Of course its hard to believe. JG is growing and changing so much I can't even keep up. She's a little taller but has only gained about 4 pounds. Her Nai Nai just bought her a pair of shorts that are 12 months and they are still somewhat loose. She is talking in full sentences. In fact, she rarely stops talking (it can be a little exhausting at times). She comprehends in ways that blow my mind and cause me to realize I need to be careful what I say and what I do. She is watching and taking it all in, like a sponge. There are many things B and I are experiencing for the first time because we've only had boys up to now. Some things are fun and wonderful, and some drive us crazy. But overall having a girl is a gift from God. 




















We couldn't be more thankful for this journey of adoption and pray we stay in God's will regardless of how hard it is. 
Please hop over to www.capturingourjoy.blogspot.com and see what else we are up to. 
Blessings. 




Tuesday, June 03, 2014

19 Years

It all began with the cliche, their eyes met across a crowded room. Only, it wasn't crowded. We were in a management training seminar for Mazzio's Pizza (a restaurant chain we both worked for) and all I could think was, "Crap, he is so cute, why was this the day I forgot to wear mascara?!" As we went around the room introducing ourselves I was immediately drawn to how funny and cocky he was. It was instant. It was September 1994. 
Even though we all ate lunch together that day, he didn't say two words to me and then I didn't see him again for 2 months. 
It took me forever, but I finally figured out which store he worked at and would stalk it, always hoping his massive green truck would be sitting out front. It never was. 
And then, one day, he walked into my store. I rang him up for a buffet lunch, he went and sat in the TV room and still never said a word to me. I didn't get it. I gave him all the signals a girl could give. Insert Seinfeld quote here: 'Cause its signals, Jerry, its signals. 
Finally, one evening in March of 1995 while I was eating at his store he asked me out. Took ya long enough, I wanted to yell! 
Just about 8 weeks later on June 3rd 1995 my ready made family, just add a husband, was ready. 
People who hear our story usually say things like "Well, when you know, you know" or "You were made for each other" and I always shoot back with the same thing: "Honey, I didn't know a thing except that the sex was good and I wanted a father for my kid!" 
They always laugh and I laugh too but its the truth. I had a 20 month old little boy and felt like damaged goods. I would have married anyone. But I didn't just marry anyone, God gave me a piece of gold when he gave me Brian. 

This was our first family pic taken shortly after we were married. 

Brian and I didn't know each other from Adam. We both came from horribly dysfunctional families and carried on the same cycle with each other until God, in his mercy and us in our pain began to fight for something better. We began to choose to love each other and we began to pray for God to change ourselves instead of pointing the finger for God to change the other. We began to put God first and each other second. We fought hard and we went through a lot. We almost lost each other a couple of times but somehow persevered. We always had amazing friends in our lives that held us up and held us accountable and most of all we always had godly counsel to mediate during the really tough times. 

I can honestly say now I married Brian because I lusted him but I'm still married to him because I not only love him but I am IN LOVE with him. I can finally say, and it took me about 12 of the 19 to get here, that he is my friend. I love talking to him, I love sharing with him and being with him. There is no better place to be than at home on our couch like vegetables in front of the TV. 
I am a better person because of him and we are better because of all we have been through. As we embark on this second journey of adoption, navigating a kid-out-of-the-house relationship, getting two more kids through high school and the joys of toddler hood I know I can do it because he is by my side fighting as hard as I am. 
Marriage is a gift that is never to be taken for granted and I am so thankful that we have both CHOSEN to work hard to keep it in tact. 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY BABE, I WILL ALWAYS CHOOSE US! I LOVE YOU!



Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mama's Day.

Ever since I lost my mother, Mother's Day has been an incredible source of pain and grief. Although I had three amazing boys and everything to be thankful for it never ceased to scream at me "YOU DON'T HAVE A MOTHER!"
Don't misunderstand, I still embraced the day, loved on my boys and smiled for their sake. But inside, I ached. Its an ache you can't possibly understand unless you've walked that mile. I wouldn't wish that pain on anyone. Interestingly enough, after all the pain I've recently gone through with my father you would think this Mother's Day would be a double source of pain.
BUT GOD...
Today was the first 1 in 10 years where the joy outweighed the grief. I didn't spend a minute being sad or pining over the fact I couldn't see or talk to my mom. Instead, I got up, JG and I went to church, ate sushi with friends, took some "selfies", napped and watched Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I welcomed home all my boys after their weekend away and put my daughter to bed. So thankful that for the rest of my days she will be able to celebrate that God, in His goodness, gave her a mama who loves her more than she knows how to express.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!

This was one of the last decent pics of my mom. She was always
behind the camera. This was taken 6 months to the day before she met Jesus.  
Four generations. 
Throwback. She was beautiful. 

My boys when they were littles. One of my fave pics ever of them.
We were on vaca in Florida. 

And last but not least, my sweet baby girl who is growing up faster than
I'd like. We spent a girl's weekend while the boys played in the mountains.
She's as much fun as she is hard work and teaches me so much. So blessed. 


Monday, March 31, 2014

March MADNESS is Over!

I am not talking about basketball either. I am referring to the craziest March we have ever had.
First of all I went on a cruise, then came home and immediately started a new job and a week after that we moved. So, on to some details.

March 8th I sailed away (for the first time ever) on the Celebrity Cruise Liner out of Ft. Lauderdale. This was also the first time I left JG for an extended period of time. There was quite a bit of anxiety on both accounts before I left but in the end, and like always, none of those worries came true. Good grief when am I going to learn just to trust and obey!
It was a fabulous time and I can't wait to do it again but this time with my hubby and kids in tow.

Enjoy the pics and if you know me then you know they will be out of order. :-)
Our view at dinner every night

Sailing away

The 4 amigos. 
In Keywest


On the back of the ship at night. It was very windy, in case you couldn't tell. 

I got a makeover in Keywest.

I don't know what was so funny, but love this picture. 

Formal dinner night.
Our ship.
Dessert the first night

The dining room.

Just one of the many animals that visited our room each night. 

Pool side. 

Any guesses where we are?



A picture of a picture. Formal dinner night.
The amazing waiter we had every night at dinner. He loved my Aunt. 
After much prayer and quite a bit of coercing from my friend, Debbie, who is also the director I took a part time job teaching preschoolers. For those who know me, yes, I have lost my mind. Everyone knows my standard answer for how I feel about kids is this... "I don't like other people's kids" and when asked why, I recant it with "I like kids who are well behaved and polite and in this day and age, most aren't!" anyway...I did it for 2 reasons. 1. because it gave JG the chance to go to the 2 year old class across the hall from me. And, might I add, it has been the best thing ever for her and 2. I could still be in control of said 2 year old across the hall from me. Yes, I have issues. Don't judge. On the flip side of all of my controlling it has been a really good experience so far. I mean, they are 3/4 years old. It isn't rocket science. The hardest thing for me has been sounding like a broken record for 4 hours a day. I haven't been around kids that age on a regular basis for over 12 years so there is a lot to get used to again. Pinterest has become my best friend for all things crafty for these kids and I have to say I am pretty impressed with what I have come up with so far. However, allow me to say all credit goes entirely to my God b/c I know I can't get through one day with out Him. Forget that... one minute.

And the house. Whew! That whole thing has been a whirlwind, let me tell you. After much prayer, seeking counsel etc. we decided to put the house on the market in January. We thought we had nothing to lose by listing it ourselves. Brian made these beautiful flyer's, we got info tubes and signs and boom!
26 days or so and not a even one call, not one email, nothing! I don't even think anyone opened that tube. Then one Friday B called to say we had 2 showings the next day. We went to work scouring from top to bottom making all things perfectly perfect. I plugged in Scentsy every where and we decluttered every room in the house. It took the better part of Friday night and into Saturday early afternoon. The first set of people postponed but the second family arrived at about 3. I immediately went into realtor mode. I took them around pointing out all the areas we had upgraded and all the beautiful features in each room. Then I would back out of the room so they could open closets and cupboards and poke around like they would have done had we not been there. It was really fun and the showing went really well. They spent about an hour and looked around twice. They had both grown up in the country but had been living in the city since they got married and really wanted to move back. He is an avid hunter and fisherman so it was easy to see why they really liked our house. Not to mention but they told us he had masses and masses of mounts (all he had done himself) and with the house being a log house it just kind of made sense. As they were leaving I asked if they would be kind enough to give us some feedback (if they had any) regarding the showing in case there was anything we needed to change. I mentioned we had another showing the next day and was thankful this one had gone so well. So, they left and honestly we didn't give it another thought until the phone rang less than an hour later and they made an offer! Less than 24 hours later we were signing papers and on our way to some serious craziness b/c now we had to find a house. Thankfully, a recent epiphany (a word from God I finally listened to) had me chilling out about it. And so, to cut a too long already story short we bought a house back in town, we closed last week and are settling in nicely. We downsized slightly and we are now only 10 minutes from church instead of 25. I am beyond thankful in this whole situation and with several other big changes coming soon am really thankful to be closer to everything.

Here comes April and with that another birthday for me. I can't believe it. This time last year we had just received updated pics and video of JG and now I am about to celebrate my first birthday with her by my side. So blessed. Stay tuned for more of our craziness.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Not Forgotten

Not Forgotten is an Orphan Ministry Group my friend Tonya and I began in February 2013. Tonight we celebrated our year milestone with as many of the group as could make it.

When I was going through my adoption I would constantly google adoption support groups in my area looking for anyone I could connect with. I never did find any.
In July 2012 Tonya moved here from New Mexico (Tonya and I originally knew each other when we both lived in OK in the early 2000's) with her husband and son Rivaldo who had been adopted from Haiti. Tonya has a passion and drive that is contagious. As my adoption was nearing its end I realized that no one should ever have to go through this process without support. And so with that Not Forgotten was born. We began our group with about 7 families and only 1 child home (Rivaldo). One year later we are 11 or so families and 9 children home!
We meet monthly and once a quarter get all the families together for potluck. Its not always organized and its not always pretty. In fact some months there can be a lot of snot flying around...right Laura? ;0)
But we are all there for each other. We are there to listen, understand, vent, cry, complain, laugh and rejoice with and mostly to pray for and lift each other up. Especially when we think we can't wait another minute. Because, lets face it, adoption is tough and it doesn't get any easier when they come home. I am thankful to walk through this journey with this amazing group who continue to inspire me and spur me on to whatever God has for me and my family!

Rivaldo and Jenna Grace

Sebla and Nathan





I couldn't help it, she's so cute. 

Oh the technology...


Laura and Devica, both doing foster to adopt. 

Nathan was just placed with Hayley and her precious family. 


Just some of our amazing group.

Me and my adorable co-pilot, Tonya. She is such a blessing and had such a great word tonight for our group!