Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I have house envy...

but not like you think.

I have felt for a while that God is moving in my life in how I use His resources. I have this burden on my heart that there is more to life than what I have been experiencing.

Let me back up a bit. I have THE life. I have what the world says is success. I am married to the most wonderful husband and best friend of 22 years who happens to be a doctor, I have 4 precious children, a big house on 6 acres, a BS in elementary education which I don't have to use, 3 vehicles.... you get the picture. We have had our rough patches financially, especially when he was in med school and we were living off my teaching salary; but then when he finally started making money, we went to the other extreme. If we wanted something, we bought it.

I guess God's been working on me for a couple years now, but it's really hitting me lately. I don't know if it's the economy, the lack of what use to be stability if you were in the medical profession, having been to China twice now and seen the needs of the orphans, or more than likely all of the above. In the past year, I've noticed myself following blogs of people who are looking for ways to save money, cutting coupons, homemaking, challenging themselves to cut back, moving to the other side of the world to care for orphans... I've found sites on how to "work" the grocery stores and pharmacies. Sites on how to live with what you have.

We spent the weekend at BLR. We had such a WONDERFUL weekend. We have nothing out there. No legos, only a few toys, a handful of library books, schoolwork, an old Game Cube with 4 games, no dishwasher, no microwave, no TV, no internet... We don't even have official beds, just mattresses on the floor. There were almost NO arguments or meltdowns the whole 4 days (and with 4 kids, that's pretty major). Troy napped 3 of the 4 days (he had to go to work the 4th). We layed around on the bed and the sofa and snuggled. It was blissful... Can you believe I just said that about 6 of us in a 60' x 80' mobile home?

When we're here at this house, everything takes up our time. We half joked (which someone commented meant we were half serious) about moving out there. Giving all this stuff up and gaining so much more. We talked out there about how nice it was to not be slaves to our stuff. We just came home this morning and our 9 year old went straight to his closet and got rid of a bag and a half of clothes! The big black garbage bags! He said it really hit him about how much we have. What a difference being here is. Since being home, one daughter has fussed about which baby doll she wanted. She couldn't do that out there because there was only 1 doll and 1 stuffed bear each! The boys are taking apart an old computer and are arguing over who gets which piece... We didn't have any of this out there.

We've even been hearing this message at church too. Our church has been doing a series called the Kingdom's Economy.

So what kind of house envy do I have? A simple house. Uncluttered. Easy to clean. One that serves us and not the other way around. I know we have a LONG way to go on this new journey, but I am excited to see where God is leading us. I'd love for you to pray with us as we listen to God and discern where He's going with this.

I won a Lovey Award!!

I haven't won an award before! How sweet of Beach Mama!! What a joy! Now it's my turn to pass it on! I don't know how I'll keep it to 8! I have found some real jewels in blogland. I love reading about other's lives and getting to know them. To follow their journey is such a delight.

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find friends and be friends.They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships will be propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly- written text into the body of their award." I'd like top present this Lovey Award to the following 8 bloggers:

1. Amy at Living a Blessed Life

2. Emily at And Then There Were Seven

3. Jill at Table for Six

4. Shelley at A Wok on the Wildside

5. Becki at Welcome Addison Grace Xin

6. Holly at The Huffman Crew

7. Nicole at The Baker's Sweets

8. Erin at No Second Way

And thanks to all who follow us and leave comments! I LOVE reading them!

Friday, February 20, 2009

This should help explain why I haven't been able to post as often as I use to....

These two keep me hopping. Their antics are nonstop!

The girls both LOVE music and dancing! I love Shaoey's improv skills! You'll notice a few slips and she turns them into part of her dance! Smart girl! You'll also notice Shuangshuang being aggressive (pushing Shaoey), we're working on that... You usually doesn't do it out of anger as much as excitement... Sorry for the background banging, the boys didn't realize I was videoing and they were cleaning out the fireplace...

They are SO silly together!

This is just a typical Grace video...this sums up
who she is...

Busted! I think Shaoey knew she was being
watched, but not taped! Too funny!

Taste and SEE that the Lord is good!

These girls keep me hopping! Never a dull moment, they are so full of fun and laughter! I had too much trouble deciding so I posted them ALL!

Giggly girl X 2!

The next Top Model: Shaoey!!

Catch of the day:

This is what happens when I try to get ready
in the morning!

Loving sisters

an archaeological dig?

Guess who we're running to meet?

Baba's home!!!

My man!

Baba and his girls!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Getting ahead of God

Isn't God so good to meet us where we are and keep us in check? I am in the early stages of selling mom's (Charlotte's) house and moving my sister to "town." In my haste to get this done, I haven't been seeking God's direction for it. I know all the good reasons to do this: my family is suffering, I have to treat Charlotte like my 5th child out of necessity, one of her sitters just includes Charlotte in her family.... Charlotte does not have a life of her own. I don't want her to live the rest of her life as our life. I met with the sister of someone like Charlotte to see if they might be a good fit. This person is 30 years older and I wasn't sure if it would make a difference. I wanted to go to this and leave there with the feeling of "alright! This is it! Done deal!" Unfortunately that's not the feeling I have. I feel confused and torn and...just not peaceful. Have I sat with God and gotten his input lately? No. When I came home today, I got to read a devotion from AOP. Here's the part:

The real lesson my daughter learned that day deals with the same pride that causes many of us Christians to fall. Not willing to wait on the Lord, we too run ahead and attempt to take the reins. We forget who is in control and make unsound financial decisions or foolish choices based on our emotions, not expecting to be hurt in the process! God may even tell us no, but we ignore Him and let our pride tell us we can handle it. We run into problems and pain we could have avoided if we had just waited on the Lord.

Are you struggling with waiting on God today? Is your anxious attitude becoming like the world's that says, "I can't take this anymore. I'll take care of it myself?" Be careful! Running ahead of God may find you lying on your back someday as you struggle to pray and ask Him for help. "The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him" (Lamentations 3:25).

Lord, teach me to "be still" and know You are God. Help me to trust in Your answers instead of my own and to wait for the best You have planned for me. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Where does this leave me? I don't know. Hopefully seeking God's will and being able to be patient even when I feel like "I can't take this anymore." We're going to try to set up some get togethers to see who she seems to like and not rush into this even though my heart is screaming to get this done and over with...

I'll let you know what happens!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More pictures!

Connor and Grace

Shaoey and Grace reading together~I LOVE this picture!

Grace has been falling asleep all over the house~here on the living room floor,
on the kitchen floor while I cooked, on the floor of the sitting area near the kitchen...
Look at the belly!

Valentine's Day

Troy and I have now celebrated 22 Valentine's Days together. We started dating when I was 16! On our first Valentine's Day, we went to a Mr. Gatti's Pizza and had a heart shaped pizza (awwww...). We continued that tradition of having pizza on and off throughout the years. Ever tried to find a babysitter on Valentine's Day? No? Well they aren't easy to come by, so we started our tradition of celebrating it as a family. About 6 years ago we started making homemade pizzas with the kids on Valentine's Day. Now the kids look forward to the night. It's fun watching the different ways they assemble their pizzas! We also do chocolate covered strawberries which the kids help make that day. I didn't get pics of the pizzas, but I did get some of the girls eating the strawberries!

Grace's first haircut in the US!

The reason for the haircut... I had to overexpose this a little so you could
get the full impact of the bedhead!

Thankfully she seemed to like it a lot better than the one we have pictures of in China!
(Grace is on the left!)

A one month update

Can you believe we've been home for over a month now? Where has the time gone?
We've been snapping pictures and thought you might like to see some.

Our first official family picture
~this was taken by Linda at Eagles Wing at the notary's office~
it's official!

Isn't she just a little cherub?
She is precious and loving! She likes to give kisses and smiles!

Daddy and his 2 princesses napping.
How absolutely sweet!

Connor, Grace, and Shaoey
The girls adore their brothers!

Shaoey created a new use for a magazine stand!

Grace swinging! What a sweet face!