"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Saturday, May 31, 2008

A little Meme...

I was tagged by my sweet bloggy friend, Keisha, over at The Walker Household. By the way, for those of you that do not know what a "meme" is (me included until now), this is Wikipedia's definition.

A meme (pronounced /miːm/[1]) consists of any unit of cultural information, such as a practice or idea, that gets transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.

Thanks Keisha! These are fun to read and fun to do! Here is my "little meme".

Favorite person (outside family)? It would have to be my church family and the many prayer warriors that read my blog.

Favorite Food? I really love Mexican, especially Chicken Mole. YUMMERS!!!!!

Quirks about you? I tend to be very controlling. Hey, at least I admit it! :)

How would the person who loves you most describe you in ten words or less? "God-loving, devoted to family, leader, intelligent, loving, sacrificing, passionate about orphans." (Note to Scott: Awww...thank you, sweetie!)

Any regrets in life? Not having known, really known, Jesus as a child so that I could have brought up my older boys knowing Him in the same way as I do now.

Favorite Charity? Love Without Boundaries, Half The Sky Foundation, Shriners and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. (Sorry, I couldn't narrow it down).

Favorite Blog recently? Wow! This is a tough one because there's a few new ones I've been reading that I think are great. I'd probably have to say A Return to Idealism. Although her blog is not as "spiritual" as those that I prefer, I really enjoy her style of writing and am in awe of her honesty, confidence and determination as she prepares to bring home an HIV+ child from Ethiopia.

Something you can’t get enough of? God and love from my family.

Worst job you’ve ever had? Customer service representative at a yacht repair place. I was there for about a month.

What job would you pay NOT to have? Absolutely an exterminator. I HATE ROACHES!!!

If you could be a fly on the wall, where would you be? I would have to say at Kai and Anna Grace's birthmoms' houses. I'd love to know the real reasons they couldn't keep their babies and what their thoughts are today. I would hate to know that they have any regrets.

Favorite Bible verse right now? "If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples." – John 15:7-8

Guilty Pleasure? Catching up on my blogs while the kids are watching TV. ::GASP::

Got any confessions? Yes, but I'd rather keep those in the confessional at church. :)

If you HAD to spend $1,000 on YOURSELF, how would you spend it? Hmmm....that's another tough one because I'd probably keep thinking that $1000. could repair 3 cleft lips in China, but if I absolutely had to, I'd probably spread it out over a few months and have my hair professionally colored, highlighted and cut every eight weeks until the money ran out.

Favorite thing about your house? The pool.

Least favorite thing about your house? White tile floors! I HATE 'EM!!!!! Also, I wish we had one more large bedroom.

One thing you are bad at? Sorry guys. You are all the recipients of what I am terrible at lately... responding to emails, especially in the past few months.

One thing you’re good at? Paying bills and checking my daily blogs. :)

If you could change something about your circumstances, what? Definitely we would be debt free and I would have already started preparing our dossier to bring home another sweetie.

Who would you like to meet someday? These are in order, because there are several. Definitely Jesus, followed by Kai and Anna Grace's birthmothers, and lastly Keifer Sutherland (...and he I would need more than a short meeting with... wink!).

What makes you feel sexy? Coming back from the salon with a new color and hairstyle.

Who is your real life hero? My sweet husband who never seems to tire. He works all day, comes home and then often cooks me a spectacular diiner (his idea always, so I don't argue....heh!), he's involved in every aspect of caring for our kids and always has an open heart to do God's will.

What is the hardest part of your job? Definitely mustering up patience, especially as the 4-5 p.m. hour hits. For some reason, everyone seems to "lose it" around this time. Also (Gee, seems like I can't ever find a single answer to these!), keeping the house in perfectly clean order everyday, and not just when we have company.

When are you most relaxed? Probably after the kids are in bed.

What stresses you out? Being late is a biggy. I hate being late! Also, last minute preperations on days of special events such as birthday parties, vacations, trips, etc.

What can you not live without? Definitely my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Also, my hubby and my kids.

Do you agree or disagree with the recent article that reported that blogs are authored by narcissists? Never read it, but I know way to many people who blog who are real inspirations to me because of their humbleness and humility. So, I don't pay much attention to "reports".

Why do you blog? To share with friends and family about my family, but most of all, to show the world that the Lord can be and IS glorified in our lives through every experience that we share.

1. Answer the questions
2. Link back to whoever tagged you
3. Tag eight bloggers to do the same, 2 from each category.

New/newer bloggers

Baby Seth James

Wendt's Words

Bloggy Friends

As the Dragon Flies

Our Journey To Baby M

Bloggers you would like to get to know better.

Our Cradle of Civilization

Waiting for Happy

Bloggers you don’t think will respond, but you hope will.

The Bramblett Bunch

A Return to Idealism
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Friday, May 30, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Daddy & Son!

To my sweet guys, hope you had a wonderful day!
Today was a super-dee-dooper (can ya tell we watch Barney around here?) day around here!

As you all can remember, Scott and Kai both share their birthdays. It was one of God's special signs that Kai was definitely our boy. (You can read about it HERE!). It's hard to believe that the sweet baby that was handed to me in China a little over 2 years ago is already 4 years old!!

The morning started off with Kai taking cupcakes to school that he and his Daddy had baked. Yummy!! He was so cute and proud of himself as he told the class that he had baked them. He also got to be the teacher's helper and passed out napkins and the cupcakes to each of the kids. AJ and Mom got to visit during the "party" and we sang Happy Birthday to our little man and big brother as he beamed with joy!!!

In the evening, we gathered together with family and went to one of Scott's favorite places, The Olive Garden. We had a great time! So much so, that the tables around us were joining in our festivities. One particular couple sitting behind us started a conversation with my sister and shared that their children had SIX adopted children from Russia. They of course told us how generous we were for "taking in these children", to which we replied that we were the ones blessed by having them as part of our family.

Both Daddy and son opened their gifts and we had an awesome time. Before leaving, we were told by the same couple that it is rare to see such a tight knit family enjoying each other's company and laughing with joy. We are indeed very blessed!

Kai will be having his big CARS pool party on the 7th. He is so excited about it! I also want to mention that I spent quite a bit of the day thinking about Kai's birthmom and wondering what her thoughts were on this day. Did she remember? Was she grieving? I prayed that her heart be filled with peace and that somehow she would know that he had been adopted and was now part of a family that adored him; that his cleft lip and palate had been repaired and most importantly, that he was the light of our lives and incredibly loved. It was a bittersweet day and my hopes are that someday, maybe in Heaven, God allow me the opportunity to meet this woman face to face. Although I know words could never be enough, I would love to thank her personally for the gift that she has given not only me, but everyone that has met this sweet boy with the infectious laugh and the joy in his heart that lights up the darkest of rooms.

I will post pictures of the day a little later on today, so be sure to check back!
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Sunday, May 25, 2008

So much to share...

There is so much I want to share about our going-ons and the kids, but everytime I turn around, it seems like the little things in our life are so trivial compared to all that is happening around us, around the world.

More sadness, more tragedy, as the strongest aftershock since the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked China, struck the devasted region again. I will post Half The Sky's update tomorrow.

Right now, I wanted to share a couple of articles. This one from The Tennessean as the Chapman Family said their final goodbyes to their sweet daughter, Maria Sue.

Please, I urge you to continue to keep this hurting family in your prayers. Prayer is something so very powerful and something that they desperately need right now.

Just feet away from her sister Maria’s tiny white coffin, Shaohannah Chapman stood with her parents and listened as her daddy read a letter she wrote.

It was addressed to two people up above: her sister and Jesus.

“Maria’s stuffed animals are going to be packed away and put into the attic,” Steven Curtis Chapman, a well-known Christian singer/songwriter, read in a steady voice that sometimes trailed off into a whisper.

“Enjoy heaven,” he continued, addressing some 2,000 mourners Saturday at his 5-year-old daughter’s funeral at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville.

“I will see you soon, but not too soon. I hear the roads are made of solid gold and God waits for everyone. When you see that I’m coming, wait for me at the gate,” he continued as Maria’s pictures — smiling in huge sunglasses or sitting next to her birthday cake — flashed on two screens behind him.

Shaohannah’s was one of many tributes to Maria, a little girl described by her parents, siblings and friends as a “snuggle bunny” who loved to run around naked, draw flowers and play princesses.

She died Wednesday evening after what authorities called a “terrible accident.” One of Chapman’s two teenage sons was backing down the family’s driveway in a truck. He didn’t see the child in the driveway and struck her. She was pronounced dead later that day at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University.

The little girl was one of Chapman’s three adopted daughters from China and joined the family in 2004. Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, also have three biological children. They were celebrating the eldest daughter Emily’s recent engagement.

But the Saturday service, sometimes pierced by spontaneous laughter from the pews caused by funny Maria stories, also served as a reminder that another life, that of the teenage boy who drove the truck, has been shattered.

“I haven’t always been a good brother,” one of the Chapman boys said. “Just like my dad helped Maria, I hope I help my brother. … (God) healed Maria in a way we don’t like, but he’s going to heal (my brother) in a way we’re going to like.”
Those in the sanctuary got up and applauded.

And then Chapman recalled how he tried to fight for his little girl in the hospital, how he told the doctors he needed to pray, he needed to save her.

“That’s what you do as a dad,” he said, his voice breaking up. And how he asked God for a sign to know that his daughter was OK, and the frustration when it didn’t come. Not right away, he said. And then he found a card Maria painted but never finished. When he turned it around, it read “see.”

“I heard her little voice and the voice of God,” he said. “She said: ‘See, dad, it’s OK.’ ”

The second is from the Chapman Blog and written by Jim Houser, SCC's manager.

Maria's Memorial Service

For those who couldn't be here, I thought I'd share a rundown, the best I can remember it as I was a bit emotional. It was a beautiful and moving celebration of this little girl's life. And in typical Chapman fashion... God was honored, the Gospel was presented, and... It went long. : )
Throughout the service, pictures of Maria were shown on screens above the platform. There were about 2000 people present and the program was just over 2 hours.

Michael W Smith provided a beautiful prelude and then sang "Still" to open the service. Then a prayer of invocation was offered, and a Pastor at Christ Community Church, the family's home church, Scotty Smith called us to worship with a congregation responsive reading of a portion of The Heidelberg Catechism and the question What is your only comfort in life and in death?
Matt Redman, who was in the airport in Atlanta preparing to fly back to his home in the UK when he heard the news of Maria's death, left the airport rather than board his flight and drove to Nashville to serve the family anyway he could. The Chapmans not knowing Matt was in the country had discussed him being a part and we're overwhelmed to hear he was able to be there. Matt led worship along with Christy Nockels singing several songs including two that Redman has written out of his own loss and sorrows, "Blessed Be Your Name," and "You Never Let Go," as well as the hymn "It Is Well."

Then Matt explained that Steven and he had penned a song "Close To Your Heart" a few months ago for a close family friend of the Chapmans just after the loss of their child. Little did Steven know it would bring comfort to him and his own family on this day, as Matt shared it at Maria's service.

One of Shaohannah's Hope's orphan care partners in China, Robin Hill flew in for the service and he offered a prayer.

Then family and friends stood just feet away from Maria's tiny coffin and shared stories about the spunky, adorable little girl. A few here...

Family friend Karen sharing how Maria loved to wash dishes butt naked, and loved when her family "was altogether,"

The unpredictable Mary Beth with a few stories including how Maria loved her nicknames and running the sweet list down.

Family friend Melissa challenging us to live like Maria and love others like she did, not holding back!;

Caleb sharing how he had prayed for God to heal Maria after the accident, and how God did it in a way that he didn't like very much (taking her to heaven) but that he has never been more convinced that Jesus is real,

Miss Meagan, Maria's pre-school teacher, commenting on her love of art, drawing flowers, her classmates and her family,

Emily telling the story of how when she told Maria that Tanner had asked her to marry him that Maria asked her "whacha say?" and Emily went on to challenge us with the picture God gives of how the groom Jesus has asked his bride, us, to marry Him with a relationship through the cross, "whacha say?"

Lastly, Steven sharing that Maria had professed Jesus as her Savior and those moments; as well as a moving story from him about how he had asked God to help him see that Maria was safe, and how God showed up. (I'll let him tell it soon).

Next, children in the service brought flowers to Maria's casket as SCC's best friend Geoff Moore sang "With Hope," a song Steven wrote 10 years ago for a family that lost a child, that same family the Mullicans are now walking he and Mary Beth through this now shared tragic experience.

Scotty Smith then took a few precious minutes to challenge us on the Gospel, that Maria's story is our story and we can be adopted into God's family and see Him and Maria at the end of our lives. (I'm not able to do Scotty's words justice).

Tammy Jensen then sang "Jesus I Am Resting, Resting," close family friends mentioned above the Mullicans prayed to close our time. And then the video of "Dishwashin Daddy and "Bellyflop" that has gone around the world was played.

Friends, it was such a difficult, yet sweet time. I urge you now to pray for this family. Be intentional. Set an alarm to go off on the 21st of every month, or anytime you see an SUV let it be a reminder, or whenever you hear a Steven song... whatever you feel is best. As someone who has experienced a difficult loss, some days ahead will be difficult for this family because the rest of the world moves on and forgets. It's very understandable of course. If you can though, remember to keep them in your prayers.

I too echo Caleb and his wise beyond his years comment, after having the privilege to walk with so many of their family and friends next to the Chapmans through this time, I have never been more convinced that Jesus is real, that the Gospel is true. Despite this tragedy that could seem to contradict He is a good and sovereign God, we know the truth that is on the front of Maria's Memorial Service program! That He has plans for us "plans for peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope."

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