"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, June 27, 2009

reserved parking


Some of you may think I'm crazy. Some of you may have even tried my proven theory. And some of you may think the next time you're driving around a parking lot frantically looking for a spot that isn't miles away, "What the hec. Let me give it a try!"

This is the deal.

Want a great parking spot? Almost every time?


Ask God!

A few years ago, around Christmas time someone mentioned to me that they never had a problem finding good parking at the mall. I said, "Why? Do you valet?" She laughed and said, "No silly. I ask God!" I was quite surprised and said, "You ask God for a parking space?" She immediately replied with a loud, "I sure do! And he gets me a great one, almost every time!"

I thought she was a bit looney and forgot about it.

Forgot about that is, until the next time I was driving around somewhere and couldn't find a spot. I had recently had back surgery and walking long distances was a mission. I was frustrated and at my wits end. Then I remembered the advice I had been given a few months back.

So, I sheepishly stopped the car, closed my eyes and quietly whispered, "Lord. I know you have so much to do and this may sound really petty, but please, can you find me a parking spot where I don't have to walk for a mile so that my back doesn't begin to kill me?" I then began the search again.

Up the first aisle, down the next. Nothing. I was back at the main entrance when I notice a lady with a cane leaving the store I wanted to go into. I look and figure she was in a handicapped zone. But decided to pause a second to make sure. She crossed in front of my car, went past the 2 handicap spaces and right to the next spot beside them. From that day forward, I have never stopped asking God for trivial things. Nothing is too big. Nothing is too small. If it's His will. It will happen.

My friends, giving you good parking spaces makes God smile. A lot. As the woman had told me many years ago, I get a great spot almost every time! (And the times I don't, I figure he's reminding me I could use the exercise!)

Last night, Amanda and I went to go see My Sister's Keeper. (Great movie...separate post!) It also happened to be the first Friday of the opening of Transformers. The lines were crazy!

We had gone to dinner before and had tickets for the 9:40 showing. About 9 p.m., we pull up to the theater. Literally there was no where to park. The movie was ending at 11:45 p.m. and I didn't want to walk to the other side of the shopping strip alone with Amanda. I drove up and down, up and down. We'd see someone by their car, I'd speed up to ask them if they were leaving, sure enough, they weren't. After about 10 minutes of this and listening to Amanda say, "Mom, just park on the other end. It doesn't matter. Please, just park!" I said to her, "Amanda. God will find us a spot. Just watch." She looked at me and laughed (probably like most of you are doing now).

I stopped the car, closed my eyes and said, "Lord, please provide us a spot in a safe, secure and well lit place where we could walk to without any harm coming to us." Amanda just looked at me and gave me that I-think-my-Mom-has-really-lost-it-now look.

I started driving again. Up and down the aisles. Nothing. We drove for another 5 minutes. Amanda then said, "Mom, obviously God's not into reserving parking spaces. Can we please just park?" I knew in my heart that we'd find a good space. I said to Amanda, "Ok. Let me go around one more time, if I don't find a good space, I promise we'll go down to the end of the mall and park there." She agreed. I make a left to head towards the front of the theater again. I make a right into the aisle smack in front of the theater and there are two girls walking towards their car. Where was their car?

THE SPOT RIGHT NEXT TO THE HANDICAP PARKING! Smack dab in front of the theater!

I was so darn happy! I look at Amanda and said, "MY GOD ROCKS!!!!! Go ahead, say it! Say it!" She laughed and said, "Yep! Your God rocks, Mom!" Then I called Scott to tell him my joyous news that God had done it again!

We had a great time at the movie, came out and our car was the only one sitting right in front of the theatre. Amanda looked at me and said, "Wow. It's like valet!"

Yep, baby. God only gives you His best!

Friday, June 26, 2009


At the risk of aging myself, I must share yesterday's playground incident with the young Moms (early 20's) at AJ's playgroup.

I was sitting with these girls that could be my daughters Moms talking about our kids and the conversation somehow turned to the boyband, New Kids on The Block. This is how it went:

1st Mom: Wow! Did you hear NKOTB were here not long ago?

2nd Mom: Yeah! Oh, I would have loved to see them!

2nd Mom: Ohilda, do you like NKOTB?

ME: (Quickly thinking that my almost 15 year old Amanda loved them!) Umm...yeah. I remember them! (making it seem like it was not that long ago that I had a teen idol)

1st Mom: Who'd you like most growing up?

ME: (wishing the return of Jesus would be that very instant!) ME? Umm....oh, you guys probably don't like him.

1st and 2nd Mom: (in unison) Oh, c'mon! I'm sure we do!

ME: (Finally giving in) Well, to tell you the truth, I pretty much just existed so I could belong to Donny Osmond.

1st and 2nd Mom (again in unison and rather loud!): DONNY WHO???

ME: (releasing a big sigh) "AJ! Be careful, Honey! You're gonna fall! Here let me help you." (walking away feeling ancient).

So, for all those other ancient Mamas out there that remember having wonderful memories of my teenage heartthrob, Donny Osmond, join in the memories!

As a teenager, I had this poster hanging right next to my bed so when I rolled over (my bed was against a wall) I'd stare into his eyes!)


With of course, a million other posters covering my walls.

I thought my heart would literally stop beating when my Mom gave me Donny Osmond sheets that came with this pillowcase:


I remember bawling to songs like Too Young, The 12th of Never, and of course, Puppy Love! Oh, those were the days. Such innocence compared to the world we live in today.

Donny turned out to be a great, Godly man with a beautiful family.

So, I don't know where it was that I went from lovin' this good guy hearththrob:


To this "Bad Boy" heartthrob:

Kiefer Sutherland

I just couldn't end this post without giving Kiefer some credit.

I leave you with some of my favorite Donny Osmond songs in the background! Feel free to share your teenage heartthrobs in the comments section. Truly, after yesterday, I don't think you could out-age me!

By the way, because I love you guys, I threw in a David Cassidy and a Bobby Sherman song, too!


Thursday, June 25, 2009


(Please remember to scroll to the bottom to turn off background music.)

Congressman Randy Forbes speaking on the floor of the US House.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


swine flu

While the H1N1 virus has become a pandemic, the Chinese government is taking every precaution possible to prevent it's spread. This includes placing into quarantine American families traveling to bring home their children and different provinces halting all adoptions until further notice.

I fully understand that they must do this, but at the same time, I've been where many of those waiting families are. At a point that it seems like the time will never arrive that you will actually hold your child as true flesh and blood and not just in your heart.

Please pray for THIS family that has indeed been quarantined since their arrival in China and for my sweet bloggy friend, Tami, who was leaving in just a matter of days to bring home their precious treasure, Sophie, when they received the dreaded call that their travel plans had been halted.

As Tami stated on her blog, "Even when I don't understand. Always, God is good."

In addition, please pray for the families that are there now. May they remain healthy and travel safely back home with their blessings in tow.

Below is the latest travel advisory from the U.S. Department of State:

Travel Alert
Bureau of Consular Affairs

This information is current as of Monday June 22, 2009.

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the quarantine measures imposed by the Government of China in response to the 2009-H1N1 pandemic that may affect travel to China. This Travel Alert expires on September 30, 2009.

Current quarantine measures in China include placing arriving passengers who exhibit fever or flu-like symptoms into seven-day quarantine. Although the proportion of arriving Americans being quarantined remains low, the random nature of the selection process increases the uncertainty surrounding travel to China. The selection process focuses on those sitting in close proximity to another traveler exhibiting fever or flu-like symptoms or on thosedisplaying an elevated temperature if arriving from an area where outbreaks of 2009-H1N1 have occurred. We have reports of passengers arriving from areas where outbreaks have occurred (including the U.S. and Mexico) being placed in precautionary quarantine simply because they registered slightly elevated temperatures.

In some instances, children have been separated from their parents because either the parent or the child tested positive for 2009-H1N1 and was placed in quarantine for treatment. This situation presents the possibility of Chinese medical personnel administering medications to minors without first having consulted their parents.

The Department of State has received reports about unsuitable quarantine conditions, including the unavailability of suitable drinking water and food, unsanitary conditions, and the inability to communicate with others.

Travelers to China are reminded that all foreign travelers, including U.S. citizens, are obliged to follow local procedures regarding quarantines and any other public health-related measures. The U.S. Embassy will be unable to influence the duration of stay in quarantine for affected travelers.

The Chinese government will not compensate people for lost travel expenses. Travelers to China are urged to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect against losses in the event they are quarantined.

For more information on U.S. Government policy during a pandemic, and for travel safety information, please see the State Department's "Pandemic/Avian Influenza" and "Remain in Country" fact sheets on www.travel.state. gov.

Further information about 2009-H1N1 Influenza, including steps you can take to stay healthy, can be found at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu, the U.S. Government pandemic influenza website at www.pandemicflu.gov, and the World Health Organization website at www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.

U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the Department of State's travel registration website. By registering, American citizens can receive the Embassy's most recent security and safety updates during their trip. Registration also ensures that U.S. citizens can be reached should an emergency arise either abroad or at home. While consular officers will do their utmost to assist Americans in a crisis, travelers always should be aware that local authorities bear primary responsibility for the welfare of people living or traveling in their jurisdictions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

look familiar?

(Tracey, this is for you!)


Visiting Foxboro Stadium (sort of).
Home of The New England Patriots!

Monday, June 22, 2009

it's no coincidence

Finally, the much awaited post about one of China's most precious Princesses, our beautiful Anna Grace Fengqin is complete.

On Father's Day two years ago, after an hour of coaxing and bribing, this beautiful, little girl was placed shoved in my arms.


She trembled with fear as her entire world, in an instant, completely changed. She did not recognize the people she was told was going to be her "new family". We spoke, looked, and even smelled differently. She couldn't understand a word we were saying. All she knew was that everything familiar to her was suddenly gone. Vanished.

So, it's no surprise that going from this...


In Guangzhou, after 5 days with her Forever Family.

...to this:


Celebrating her 2nd Forever Family Day!

has been a challenge, a total surprise, and one that I thought I was never equipped to handle.

In walked God.

Yep, I must say, The Man knows it all!

I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined Anna Grace's attachment issues to be so intense, but it certainly was no surprise to God. It was no surprise to Him that I would be chosen to love and nurture a little girl who's needs I felt totally unequipped to handle. He equipped me.

But, most of all, it was no surprise to Him that I would need a very poignant reminder of how much He unconditionally loves me and loves Anna Grace.

He gave me that reminder. She was etched into our hearts on Father's Day 2007.

His plan, as always, was perfect.

Anna Grace is a constant reminder to me of The Father's love. A love so pure. A love so real, that it's almost unfathomable.

How many times have I disappointed Him?

How many times have I rejected Him?

How many times have I been angry at Him?

How many times have I walked away thinking He doesn't love me?

How many times have I wanted to curl up in His arms but have been afraid because I've felt I'm not deserving of it?

These are all the same feelings my sweet girl has. My answer to all of the above questions is, "Many!"

Yet, how many times throughout all of it has He given up on me and stopped loving me?


Oh, yes! I'm sure there have been many, many times when I've done something wrong that He's shaken His head in total frustration and thought, "What am I going to do with this girl? When is she going to learn?" But he's never, ever stopped loving me. He's never left my side.

And it's that, my dear friends, that has helped make me a better mother.

Oh, being spat on, kicked, hit, lied about, cursed at and betrayed has been very, very hard. But, if I stop myself at the very moment that this is occuring and see Anna Grace through God's eyes, see her as His child, my heart immediately changes. Every single time.

I've also realized in the past few months that she really never knew how to love. Oh, she knows the words to say. She know the actions. But, the feelings are so confusing to her little heart and mind that I think it almost paralyzes her. I've even caught her standing feet away from us with a curious look on her face as I play, cuddle and kiss AJ or Kai. As if she's learning. We're both learning as we go, but there's one thing I know. I love my baby girl with a fierce motherly love that only a mother could have.

This is not to say that she isn't given consequences to her actions. Quite the opposite. She knows that privileges will be taken away with her actions and we are very consistent with this. Very consistent. She absolutely needs that much structure in her little life, but especially in the past few months, I've been speaking to her about the comparison in Jesus' love to a Daddy and Mommy's love. I remind her almost constantly that nothing she could say or do will ever stop me from loving her. Ever.

Although in my mind and heart I know that the love that the Father has for us is completely unimaginable and cannot be compared, I want her to realize that still, two years later, it does not matter how much she tries, I will never, ever give up on her. I will love her till my dying breath.

But you know what the best part is?

I know. I KNOW. She loves me, too! THAT MAKES IT ALL WORTH IT!

These past two years have been a roller coaster ride that at times has made my stomach feel like it's in knots as we spin and turn and soar. Other times it has taken my breath away. But mostly, I love looking back and thinking that when the ride is over, my most overpowering feeling is the one that makes me want to shout, "Let's do it again!"

God knew that with Him by my side, I could handle it. Before time was created Anna Grace Fengqin was destined by Him to be our little girl.

On occasions, I even surprise myself at how well we know each other now. We know how the other one thinks. It's scary sometimes. But, it makes me laugh. Biology is so over-rated! She is completely and unmistakably my daughter and I am honored and blessed to be her Mama!

"I CAN do all things through Him who strengthens me"..... Philippians 4:13



Blog Widget by LinkWithin