Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Thanks to those that came by and read my review of Your Big Story and entered the give-away. Special thanks to Baby Blue Eyes for picking comments number 5 and number 3 as our winning comments.

is a fellow adoptive momma from one of
my online groups that I joined when we sent our dossier off to China
These groups have provided invaluable support
and encouragement in the long, long journey to our kiddoes, 
as well as new friends and new readers, too!
She just recently came home with her sweet little girl -
head over there and give her some bloggy love!


"Aus," as he's known around here.
He's been the most faithful reader and commenter
of all things "Gang" related.
He found us through a mutual blogging friend
way back when we in China to be united with 
our Li'l Empress and has become
a huge supporter and excels at providing the
"long term perspective" as a dad to several adult children
and now to younger kiddoes added to their family by adoption.


If you could please send me your mailing address via private email (attached to my profile if you click on the left sidebar where it says "The Gang's Momma"), I'll be happy to mail out the books as soon as possible. Enjoy the time spent reading them to your sweet little ones - I'll be praying that the story unfolds HIS RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF HIS PEOPLE to you all when you read together!

For those who didn't win but would still like a copy of this great little book, please head over to Amazon and  purchase your own copy now. You won't regret it!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Signs, Signs, Signs Everywhere

It's a busy beehive here at The Gang's house.... 
signs of the big events of April are all over the place! 

 Someone was working up a creative
and memorable way to ask his girlfriend to the prom.

She said, "Yes" by the way. Or rather, CHECKED "yes!"

Aren't they just adorable?!
(Special props to Dr. D for allowing us to be included
in this special moment. We're missing the actual prom
because of our trip.)

Someone has been working up a count down
to help a couple little someones grasp the visual
the events of the coming weeks.

That same someone has also been working
on a very simplified and streamlined visual system
for a "particular" someone to feel the security of consistency
and expectations of both her behavior and boundaries
while we travel.


And that "particular" little someone has been
enjoying window markers as a means
of expressing her love for her "hol" Gang.

 "I <3 my hol famule"


I know. How cute is THAT?!

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Few Friendly Reminders

Just wanted to remind you all that the Wild Olive Tees fundraiser for our adoption journey will end tonight. The family code (WHITNEY407) will be disabled at midnight. Or there-abouts.

Cuz I don't nearly expect those sweet gals over at Wild Olive Tees to sit around till midnight waiting to "flip the switch" - they are busy gals with hordes of kids and they need their rest. Heh :)

But anyway, that's the wrap.

Thank you all, again, for sharing, for purchasing, and for praying.... 

Details of our pending trip should be coming in sometime today.

And I'm proud to say that the To Do list took a major hit this weekend. I'm exhausted but I plowed through a lot of the administrative stuff of preparing to travel!

Finally, I'm taking entries to the give-away for Your Big Story till midnight tonight. It's a great story and you really ought to be sharing it with friends. It would make a super Easter Basket stuffer gift. Really, so perfect! Come, read, share! It only takes a minute!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Momma Is Goin' To China!!!!

Great news for The Gang!!!!

Yup, we've received our Travel Approval.

For those of you NOT in the adoption community, this is the approval our agency needs to seek the Consulate Appointment. That's the moment we'll walk onto "American Soil" for the first time since leaving home and pledge before the US government representatives that all of the information and processes completed to that point are true and accurate still. It's fairly non-formal but VERY emotional for the newly formed family. The consulate employees do a really nice job of making it special with their kind words and personal touches. I have fabulous memories of Li'l Empress's Consulate Appointment.

The agency then takes that Consulate Appointment date (CA) and backs up on the calendar to make travel plans based upon the requirements of Mei Me's province for paperwork processing. (Can I just interject that I am SO glad to be at the end of the crazy paper work process?! Ugh. This paper chase can drive even the most level-headed woman to the brink of insanity. And I've never claimed to be even slightly level-headed!)

We should hear from our agency either Friday or Monday about which CA has been secured in our name. We're really praying for 4/15. Even if that means we'd leave in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS, YA'LL!!! Because a CA on 4/15 minimizes the financial burden of being in Guangzhou during the height of their International Trade Fairs. The Fairs begin around that same time and last two full weeks. So airfare, hotel costs, EVERYTHING in Guangzhou skyrockets in price.

For those of you in the adoption community, you know that this is the generally accepted signal to mommas far and wide to begin FREAKING OUT and feverishly throwing things in and out of suitcases.

Yeah. That. I really need to start packing. The Boss is the Master of the Packing List.
I'm the shopper. And the two don't mesh very well, very often.
That's not even considering the panic and adrenaline
of the fact that we may be leaving in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS, YA'LL!!!!
Pray for us. Heh.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Your Big Story

I'm really excited to introduce you to a new children's book written by my friend and brand new author, Andy Liples. In full disclosure, I freely admit to being terribly biased about both this delightful little book AND my friend. 

We've had the pleasure of knowing Andy and his sweet wife, Jess, for about 9 years now. They are solid, intentional, and generous people with servants' hearts. They serve in our local home church and give diligently of their time and talents for the encouragement of everyone who comes across their path. It's been such a joy to watch them grow together in their marriage and to see them parent their two kids as solidly and intentionally as they live the rest of their lives. They are a young couple of very strong and godly character and we feel so blessed and proud to call them friends. I was quite surprised when I heard that Andy had written a book and I could hardly wait to get my hands on it to share it with you all.

Your Big Story, By Andy Liples
is available at Amazon now!
Your Big Story is the story of the whole Bible that simply and eloquently grabs your little one's attention in the opening lines because it makes the child to whom you are reading into the main character of the whole story! How great is that? As I was reading it to Li'l Empress, her eyes would get big and she'd respond with an incredulous, "You mean ME?" every time I read, "you" or "your story." She was really engaged from the start. She especially loved that her little friend Hannah looks so very much like the little girl who pops up in the middle of each story within the story.

The best thing to me about this book is that the clear and simple message of the Gospel rings through each of the familiar Bible stories presented. They flow seamlessly into one another in a "story within a story" format, weaving together the most important themes of The Word:

God made You to be like Him.
God loves You very much and has a big plan for you.
God wants to be in relationship with You.
God gave us Jesus so that relationship with Him is possible.

The unfolding of it all throughout the book puts your child right smack in the middle of the tale. What kid doesn't love that kind of attention? But I noticed while reading that Li'l Empress was also presented with plenty of opportunities to respond along the way. She empathized with the consequences of doing bad things, solemnly informing me that sometimes she "does bad things" (oh, how I had to school my features to calmly respond and affirm that we all make bad choices!). She identified with the anticipation of God preparing the world for our arrival, telling me "just like we are getting ready for Mei Mei."  And when we read about Jesus taking all of the punishment for all of our disobedience, she asked a lot of really thoughtful questions. I loved watching her mental wheels turn as we talked about the choice Jesus made to take all that on Himself simply because He loved us so much. There's nothing so refreshing as a five-year old for boiling down the Gospel message to its most valuable points, is there?

Each portion of the story is well-supported by the adorable illustrations, drawn by Ruth Cottingham. The artwork is bright and colorful and very accessible, even in the difficult parts of the story line (i.e. Jesus' death on the Cross). Each picture brings the story right into your child's lap, and not just literally, reinforcing the title and message of the book. In addition, the appearance of the little girl participating in each vignette of the individual stories helps your little reader make the connection that this story is about her. I found the little companion caterpillar that peeks in on every page to be completely whimsical and utterly delightful. I will leave the unfolding of the caterpillar's own little tale for you to discover for yourself.

Again, I freely admit to being terribly biased about this adorable book. But I have also read a lot of children's Bible stories over the 18+ years that I've been this gang's momma. I can confidently recommend this book to you, here in my little corner of the blogosphere, and tell you that this is a refreshing and sweet new perspective on God's love letter to His children. It's a message that bears repeating. To you AND to the sweet little readers in your house!

God made You to be like Him.
God loves You very much and has a big plan for you.
God wants to be in relationship with You.
God gave us Jesus so that relationship with Him is possible.

Andy Liples and his publisher have graciously donated
two signed copies of Your Big Story
for me to share with all of you.
Here's your three opportunities
to win one of them for your little one!
  1. first entry can be earned by leaving a comment here on the blog telling me about your own favorite childhood Bible story book(s). If you can't remember your own favorites, please share with me a book or two that your kids particularly enjoy.
  2. Earn a second entry by sharing about my friend's new book and this review on your own blog. Please enter a separate comment back here and include the link to your blog post when you do so.
  3. Earn a third entry by sharing this post on your F@cebook timeline or in one of your FB groups and forums. Please enter a separate comment back here and include the link in that comment. (You can do that by clicking on the time stamp of your shared link and copying the url to paste here in your comment.)  
  4. Please consider "liking" and then "tagging" Your Big Story's FB page when you do share on your FB wall, so that Andy and Ruth can see how folks are responding to the book. It's certainly not a requirement and does not count as a separate third entry. It's just a nice thing to do and who doesn't love that kind of encouragement? Go. Be an encourager!
  5. Comments will only be accepted until midnight on Monday, March 25th. That will give me time to get your mailing address from the two winners and send the packages on their way before The Boss and I head to China. :)
***FYI: Comments are set to blog-owner moderation
(to protect from spammers),
so yours might not appear immediately upon entering.

I will announce the winners on Tuesday or Wednesday, March 26th or 27th. Sorry for the vaguery, but as I mentioned, I'm going to China soon and things are really crazy here. Well, crazier than normal for this Gang anyway! Thanks for understanding :)

***Updated: Comments on this post are now closed. The two winners will be announced on Wednesday morning, March 27th. Thanks for playing!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Little Tease

This is just to whet your appetite and keep you sharp.... 

I'm very excited about a little give-away
I'm hosting at the end of this week.

Keep your eyes open
and when it is revealed,
PLEASE share it far and wide!

That's all.

Have a nice day.

Monday, March 18, 2013

That's A Wrap!

As the day for our departure to China draws near, I wanted to let you know that our fundraising effort with Wild Olive Tees  will end on Monday, March 25th. That will be the last day that you can purchase a tee, using our family code (WHITNEY407) at the check-out page, as a coupon code in order to  count it toward our total percentage earned for travel expenses.

If you feel led to give one last big shout out (on F@cebook, on your blog, in your networks of friends or among family), you should feel free to do so! It's not too late. You can share the link to our blog, give out our contact info, whatever. If you have questions, please contact me by email or by private message on F@cebook. Just be sure that they note our family code (WHITNEY407)  for the check-out process if they share the info or if they purchase.

We are greatly humbled and appreciative of the many, many folks who have helped us get the word out about these tees and the purposes behind them. We have been huge supporters of the team there at Wild Olive Tees from their inception. We believe in their mission and in their methods, not just for our family but for the amazing ministries that they support and the many, many people that they have helped in the efforts to build strong families. I can promise you, once we are home and find out about friends who are fundraising with them in the future, The Gang will be sportin' the tees!

As we get ready to wrap up this part of our adoption journey, it's really important that you all know how much we appreciate YOU. Your support of this effort, your kindness in sharing the project, and your purchases have NOT gone unnoticed. There's no way that I can posssibly thank each one of you in person, as it turns out that I don't even know some of you. But you came alongside us, heard our hearts, and rolled up your sleeves to help. Thank you for that.

I pray, for each of you that shared the fundraising links, purchased a tee or gave a gift beyond that, that the Lord show Himself richly to you in ways that minister to the needs in your own life. That He uniquely come down and fill the tender places of your heart with His Spirit and flood you with His love and His mercy. For that is surely what you have shown to our family. May His generosity and compassion return your gift to you one thousand times over, as only He can do.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Christ in You

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I was going to post something funny, you know, those light-hearted little "blessings" that are all around the internet this weekend. But I kept coming back to this excerpt from St. Patrick's well-known Lorica. It seems fitting for us, generally as followers of Christ, but very specifically now as we gird ourselves in the coming weeks to parent yet another blessing. She is coming to us from broken-ness and lack. While we know full well that there is nothing in us that is worthy to be the ones that lead her to healing and plenty, we are VERY mindful that it is CHRIST IN US that makes us even slightly eligible to have that privilege. I love the comfort and security of knowing that all of the tasks to which He calls us come because He chose us, He wooed us, and then He equips us.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

If you've never read up on this patron saint of all things Irish, I highly recommend you do some digging. I'm a history buff so reading up on some of the ancients such as St. Patrick is something I do for fun. I know, that is weird to some folks (my kids!). There are so many rich things to learn from the godly folks who have gone before us. I love learning about them and remembering that they were usually "every day folks" who were anointed for their tasks because they were AVAILABLE. That's it. They loved God. They pursued Him as He pursued them. They chose to listen to the call that God put in all of us. He made us all to bear His image, to carry HIM inside and to spill HIM out in all we do. Those men and women of the faith that we honor and hold up as standards of holiness represent what we are also completely capable of accomplishing. Sure, it may not be that our image-bearing actions will affect an entire island nation But if we avail ourselves to His voice and let HIM fill us and arm us, we can certainly affect our world.

Have a fantastic day celebrating today. And May Christ be in you and flow out of you with the unique and creative ministry that God placed within YOU.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

All Tuckered Out

I despise running a day of errands in the rain but in all of the excitement of news about our really quick Article 5 turn-around, I neglected to check the forecast to plan my week. So when I woke Tuesday, ready  to hit the road with my list of To Do's and saw the rain coming down sideways, I made the executive decision to postpone. I enjoy that particular aspect of being a stay-at-home mom - the ability to flex my own schedule and "be the boss of me." It helps to balance out the less-than-enjoyable aspects of being home full-time.

I woke up to a bright, sunny Wednesday. I felt almost giddy with the excitement of a clear forecast. Until I stepped outside into the wind. Brrrrrr. The chill went right to my bones. But it wasn't raining and I had STUFF.TO.DO. I ran a bunch of quick errands while Li'l Empress was in school and couldn't believe how much I got done so early. Early, as in, sit in the school parking lot and play with my phone for a few quiet minutes alone. Quietly. By myself. Heh. Wonders will never cease.

Li'l E and I enjoyed a quick lunch back at home and hit the road again for the remainder of my errands. I'm hunting for a good pair of running shoes for our trip to China... After my stop today, I think I maybe should have started looking earlier. Sheesh, there were some seriously expensive and really ugly sneakers out there. Ugh. This might be a harder thing to knock off the "To Do" list than I planned.

We then headed off to our local Aldi. Do you know about Aldi? I love that store. I filled my cart to precariously overflowing - including the bottom rack! - all for less than $240. That's INCLUDING two really cute canvas totes to help solve some of our toy storage issues in Li'l E and Mei Mei's room. I'm not nearly stocked up ENOUGH to keep the kids in food and resources while we are gone, but I sure made a dent in the effort today!

Finally back at home, I supervised the kids' duty of putting it all away while multi-tasking on emails, kitchen clean-up and "Pope Watch."  (I'm not Catholic but I am a total news nerd!) Once that was all done and things quieted down a bit, I looked across the room and spied this sweet scene.

Seems I tuckered Li'l Empress out with all our stopping and shopping. Sheesh, she was only there for half of it. I have no idea what Maggie's excuse is. Beyond the fact that she's always game to help someone relax and re-charge if they sit still long enough! Don't they look cozy together?!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Article 5

The end of last week was quite a whirlwind in our adoption paperwork process. Our visa application was logged in to the National Visa Center, assigned a case number, and cabled off to the CCCWA (Chinese offices for adoption processing) IN.ONE.DAY. All on Wednesday, March 6th.

We were still breathless from the excitement and trying to wrap our brains around what our timeline could now look like, when our agency contacted us on Thursday to say that our Article 5 (the packet of paperwork for all that visa stuff and stuff meant to trigger the travel planning process) had been dropped off already by their in-country contact in Guangzhou. WOW.

So you can imagine our surprise and delight and utter terror when I say that our Article 5 HAS BEEN APPROVED!!! And is ready for pick up by our in-country contact for movement on to the Travel Approval stage of the paperchase. (Click on the highlighted link in that sentence above for an explanation of the process called Article 5.)

WHAT?! Whaaaa?

Yes. What is supposed to take a "standard" two weeks has been graciously expedited. To TWO.BUSINESS.DAYS.


We KNOW that the Lord has intervened to show Himself strong. He has brought many kind and wonderful folks to come alongside us, not the least of which has been our Congressman's assistant. She's been so diligent and persistent and is almost as excited as we are about this whole trip.

But yeah. So now, I gotta get packing. And list-making. And cooking. And list-checking.

Current travel approvals are running as quickly as 7-10 days. Departure is usually about 2 weeks after that. The agency is working on it today (see step 12 below on the handy-dandy visual!). Like, now, today.

Gaaaaaahhhhhh. We're going to CHINA, baby!!!!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

She's Full of Surprises!

This Li'l Empress of ours is often quite a mystery to me. For as long as we've known her, she's struggled with a bit of "white coat" syndrome - fearful in varying degrees of doctors and nurses and others in medical garb, no matter how cute or trendy those scrubs may look. So when our dentist suggested we see the local pediatric dentist to remove some baby teeth that were no.where.close. to loose enough to fall out on their own, The Boss and I geared ourselves up for a potentially tough experience.

I took her for the consult appointment and the nurse gave her the full tour of all the equipment they'd be using, calling the nitrous oxide their "happy air" and the numbing gel "sleepy juice" for her gums. They wisely left out all conversation about injections, needles, blood, and so on, after reading her chart and the notes I gave upon the initial conversation to set up the consult. They gave her a ride in the "space rocket chair" and let her pick prizes just for being a good listener. I was excited to hear her telling her brother about it later, in really positive tones. Based upon previous experiences, we prepped the kids to keep it a positive conversation and to steer away from all talk of needles or blood. We had some near misses with that one, but they were a bunch of troupers, helping make it sound like way more fun than any extraction appointment should sound like!

Here she is, the morning of the "wiggling out." She was pretty nervous but as long as I answered her MILLIONS of questions patiently and similarly to the last time she asked them, 30 seconds ago, we stayed fairly positive together.

See the second row of teeth down there?
No, she's not part shark.
Apparently, her teeth are as unhappy
about change as she usually is!

This is her picture to show Daddy at work that she was doing "great so far" and that she brought her little cow from their date night with her for comfort.

She wanted this picture of the "happy air" so that she could show her brothers the funny mask she had to wear. "It looks like a piggie nose, Mommy!" was her comment when I showed her the photo.

This is her, after all the tugging and twisting and "wiggling" was done. I had to stop watching at one point, as I was getting light-headed at the scene in front of me. I am definitely not dental assistant material! Note her somber face here. She was "thiiiiiiis close" to losing it just before I took it, when she finally understood that the gauze was necessary to stop the bleeding. They did have to finally explain that part to her. She totally got that "deer in the headlights" look and I tried to distract her by saying, "Hey, let's send Daddy a 'thumbs up' picture so he knows his prayers worked!" Heh.

I don't know that she was all that fooled but she let me distract her for a few minutes anyway. This child does not do well with blood at.all and gave in to a few tears and tried to tell me through the gauze once we were home that she really wanted to be all done with "this tooth stuff."

But she handled it and totally pushed the tears aside. For the rest of the day! I couldn't believe it. There were a couple moments when I told her if she needed to cry or be sad it was okay with me. But she surprised me by shaking her head quite adamantly and pointing instead to the t.v. for distraction. For the rest of the day, we pampered her with soft, cold foods, acetaminophen, and lots of entertaining kids' shows. And we kept commenting over and over about how brave she had been.

Privately, we kept commenting to each other all the way up till bed-time that we were so unprepared for how well she'd handle this whole day. Honestly, we've had much less "difficult" appointments with her, things we thought were going to be simple, straight-forward, even easy-peasy. And they've turned into traumatic, surprising, cringe-worthy experiences that NONE of us would ever want to repeat. She surprised us "happy" this time, for sure!!!

Here she is, little gap-toothed cheesy grin.
And a little loopy-looking from just waking up from a nap!

No more shark smiles!

This is just another one of those times that surprised us.
This time for the GOOD.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bustin' A Move!!!!!

Okay, so at about 12:30 or 1 this afternoon, I sat down to explain to you all here (in non-adoption-ese!) that FINALLY our long-delayed case had been logged in to the National Visa Center (in New Hampshire having finally been sent from the Immigrations Center in Kansas City) and assigned a case number. 

That was exciting enough news for this momma, as our case had been delayed by almost two full weeks of things like two major blizzards and a erroneous shipping method. Just thrown in there for the fun of it.

Yes, seriously. Let me explain.

In the couple weeks since I last shared here about our adoption process, we found out that our case was sent to the mail room of the Immigrations Office on the 25th of February, only to be held over and not sent out to the N.V.C. until the evening of the 28th.

THEN, in the process of tracking the package, we found out that it was SUPPOSED to be sent by 2-day air (as their standard course of action) but had INSTEAD been sent by UPS Ground (1-5 day delivery). There hasn't been a lot of laughing about this story lately here.

BUT, just as I was finalizing the update (translating it from the adoption-ese that I speak in my adoptive moms' groups on F@cebook), I got a text from The Boss that the NVC actually had JUST sent the long-awaited visa approval for Mei Mei via a cabled *pdf* off to the U.S. Consulate in China!

Logged in, assigned, AND approved and sent on to the Consulate in ONE DAY. That almost NEVER happens.

YAHOOO! We are sooo relieved and excited to be finally heading toward the long-anticipated wait for travel times....

Here's the handy-dandy visual for you again.... In one day, we went from Step 9/10 (and all the little steps involved within that process) to now waiting for Steps 11 and 12!!!! That little packet is bustin' a move, my friends!!!!!

In adoption lingo, we've been CABLED, baby :)
I am starting to believe that I'm goin' to see my baby before she turns two!

Come back tomorrow, I'll show ya 
what Li'l Empress was up to
all day Wednesday....

Monday, March 4, 2013


This past Friday night was an amazing one at the Gang's house! By 7:30 the downstairs of our home was filled with gals from church and our local adoption community. There was laughter, free-flowing conversation, and lots of fuzzy matter flying through the air. (Why did I think that wearing a black shirt and black sweater was a good idea that day?!)

We spent just over an hour and a half cutting and knotting around three tables and some floor space. I kept busy running scissors around the house for folks to share, since I had forgotten to call folks and ask them to bring extras.

By 8:45 we had 19 fully fringed cuddly blankets ready to be folded and packed. The other ten came with finished edges so the job was done.

With the final knot tied, we gathered around the folded and stacked blankets and prayed over each of them. Some ladies asked God to use the blankets to convey love and acceptance. Some prayed for the blankets to bring a spirit of hope. A couple prayed for safe and sure delivery to the children across all the miles between here and Beijing. A wise prayer, indeed! Yet others prayed for the Holy Spirit to go into and with each blanket and anoint each hand who touched it upon receipt. 


A sweet presence of HIS LOVE and HIS PEACE was in the room and we were so excited to commission  each of these blankets to do the work of HIS SPIRIT as they travel and get handed out to the children in Mei Mei's orphanage.

Then it was time to eat! I had lost track of who was bringing what by way of refreshments so we had two counter-tops filled with fruit, cookies, cookie bars, snack mixes, chips and salsa. I also forgot to take pictures of the beautiful food-spread - it was so colorful and eclectic. Much like the blankets we're sending off. Much like the sweet ladies and girls who came alongside of us and made this idea come to life.

29 blankets. Infused with HIS PRESENCE. Bringing light into a dark place. Bringing truth to lies. Bringing healing to brokenness. Through the touch of hands that care. And hearts that love what HE loves.

I am overwhelmed at the goodness of God in the person of my friends.  May the Lord multiply their gift to the hearts and bodies of the little ones they touch, as only HE can.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy. Sad. Happy. Sad.

On Thursday morning we were so excited to get some updated measurements on our little Mei Mei, along with PICTURES!!!! The good news is that she has hair and it looks like LOTS of it, considering that just in October she was all but bald. We couldn't see any hair in the December update thanks to that little hat, but it sure is a happy sight to see now.

The bad news is that the update came just as I was sitting down to start the weekly bulletin early. Heh. I got so waylaid by those cheeks and those pretty little eyes that I never actually got around to starting the bulletin till after lunch. Good thing it was a light week regarding "new information" for the announcements.

Here's what kept me smiling through my tears most of Thursday... Happy tears. Then sad tears. Then happy tears again. I mean, how can you not be happy looking at this little face? But sad, too. When I think about how much longer it likely will be till we are united together forever. Ugh. Happy. Sad. Happy. Sad. It's a crazy train, I tell ya!

This weekend, she turns 20 months old. It's been five months of loving her from afar - and frankly, it's getting really old. We try really hard not to sound trite or whiny and repetitive, but man, we are READY! Ready to study her, learn her little quirks, shower her with love and smother her with kisses.


I'm pretty excited about tonight's activities here at The Gang's house. With our youth ministry, we are hosting a "Blankets for Babies" party. So far, about 18 women and girls are coming over to make "no sew" fleece blankets. We'll be cutting, knotting, and infusing love into every blanket we complete. All of the blankets will be donated to the orphanage where Mei Mei is waiting for us. To be shared among as many of the babies as can use them. I brainstormed the plan about a month ago, when the delay to our girl was really grating on me and I needed to "DO" something. (Yes, I'm one of THOSE... I don't sit still or wait patiently very well, I freely admit.).

I can't wait to see the love poured out on piles of fabric as we turn them into blankets that will warm their bodies. May the Holy Spirit be divinely deposited into each blanket, that HE fill them and warm them from the inside, too, with His comfort and love and hope.

See, now I'm crying again. My sinuses are taking quite a beating during this journey to Mei Mei!

Happy. Sad. Happy. Sad.