Saturday, July 17, 2010

Happy 17th, Nolan!!

(Well, here I am with another birthday post...and NONE in between. :(  So much for me gettin' back into the blogging-swing...)

Nolan, how can it be?  17 years ago at 3:08 am you came into this world on a sweltering summer day just like today, and have been nothing but a joy since.  That seems like yesterday, and yet here you are, standing 6'4" and a young's an odd thing for a mom to see her "baby" so big.  But surpassing your size is your heart.  I am so proud to be your mom, Nolan Christian!  So proud of the daily choices I see you making.  You know who you are, and you stand firm in your convictions.  You have always been mature beyond your years.  I love your tender heart. Your heart of mercy and forgiveness.  I love your compassion, and empathy.  Your ability to find humor in everything.  In you, I see astonishing strength and resolve.  I love how you are a free you "do what you love; love what you do."  I love how you could care less about the "in" things, rather decide for yourself what is "in" for you.  I love your independent you embrace the unknown, and take the plunge into "adventure" without looking back.  I love how material things are meaningless to you. I love your mentoring-spirit, and how you take your "example" seriously.  I love that you know little ones' eyes are upon you, and walk humbly in that role.  I love how you call me "Mama."  I love how appreciative you are of a fine meal, and especially a home-cooked one.  I love how you seek out wisdom from others and are able to discern the wise.  I love how you listen. You're an imitator of God.  Honest.  You are a man of your word. I love the conscientious student you are, and how you welcome the hard stuff and excel in it.  More than that, I love that you're a student of God's Word. I respect you for how you daily seek the Lord, and slow down enough to know from Where your strength comes.  I respect your sense of self-discipline.  You are equipped for greatness.  I love how you live in the moment...and make moments count. I'm proud of the many ways I see you loving your brothers and sister.  Through Macy Li, I get a glimpse into your protective nature.  In you, she surely has much to emulate.  In our world, it's a gift when a parent can say they whole-heartedly trust their teen...and that we can say.  You are trust-worthy.  I love how you're a you light up a room...and a heart.  "Sunshine" is fitting ;) "Hurry" isn't in your vocabulary, and while that sometimes makes me crazy, it's a sign of your wisdom.  You make time for the important stuff of life.  You're unhindered by what is not.  I love the balance I see in your life.  You're patient and kind.  A deep well.  Precious.  And again, another jewel in my crown.  "I like you for always.  I'll love you forever.  As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."  Happy Birthday, NoNo.  You are a treasure to your daddy and me.


"Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth."  ~Psalm 127:4

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday, Macy Li!!!!

Dear Macy Li,

Wow, how can I, using mere words, adequately describe how deeply I love you and how profoundly thankful I am to be celebrating birthday #3 as your mommy?!  Needless to say, you are the apple of our eye and bring us immeasurable joy!  You've been ours' for almost 2 years now, and I still can't wrap my mind around the thought that we missed the first 12 1/2 months of your sweet little life in China.  I will always wonder about that time before we knew you.  I suppose there will never be answers to most of my questions.  Or yours' for that matter.  I'll just have to be at peace with that. But one thing I know for certain is that before you were born, when you were being fearfully and wonderfully knit together in your birth-mother's womb, God knew ALL the answers.  He had ordained ALL your days before one of them came into existence.  His plan was/is greater than ours'.  He knew that we would be your forever family.  I will forever be in awe of that.  Of how He wooed our hearts toward adoption, and specifically toward China, and brought us to the place of stepping out in faith onto the "unknown" path where He was leading.  I shudder to think that I could have missed His plan (YOU) for fear of the "what-if's"....I am so thankful that He took me on a journey of learning to really BELIEVE Him to equip me to do what He was calling me to do.  Every day, I look back and am humbled to recall just how He orchestrated your entire life story.  Baby~Girl, He has big plans for your life, this I am certain of!  I have no clue what they'll be, but from what I know of you, they have to be big.  Already, at age 3, He has gifted you in so many ways....I can already see a heart of mercy and forgiveness, a tender heart toward the things of God, a heart of praise, a joyful spirit, a free spirit, astonishing intelligence, beauty from the inside out, a love of prayer, and on the list goes.  You ARE fearfully and wonderfully made, and I know it full well.  What a privilege to be your mommy!  I am humbled to wear that name.  You were born in my heart back in 2005, 2 years before you were even born in the flesh.  Macy Li Ming, I have loved you since before you were conceived.  Thank you for the joy you have brought into my life, Daddy's life, and all of your brother's lives.  We feel like the most blessed family in all the world to have you!  We love watching you grow, even though selfishly, we wish we could keep you little.  But we know that walking through life with you is going to be exciting.  We'll have your hand and cheer you on, every step of the way.  Bless you, our little Asian angel.  We celebrate the day you were born!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love you to the moon!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Peyton!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, my baby boy is 13 today and so there's 3 teenage boys in my house (19, 16, 13), along with a 2 year old little girl.

As I write, I remember that at this exact time on April 8th, 1997, he was just about to be born and we had no clue as to his gender.  He came into this world weighing almost 10 pounds and when they said we had another boy, everybody in the room just burst into laughter and joy!  I was the blessed mom to 3 boys!  So fun!  What a ride it's been. He is my gentle giant in so many ways.

Peyton, you are a PRECIOUS child, who I love and respect in so many ways.  You came into this world, as I've said so many times "half grown," and it's true not only physically, but other ways as well.  You are mature beyond your years.  You're bright.  You're the most patient person that I have ever met.  You can do anything.  You are a self-teacher.  You can figure out a conundrum like no other.  You are a deep thinker.  You have an analytical mind.  You are not intimidated by the hard stuff.  You invite a challenge.  You welcome a struggle.  You embrace what others would fear.  You amaze me and your daddy.  You are a third son, which makes you tough.  You have been picked on by two older brothers 'til it has made you a strong and resilient young man.  You have had to "fight" to keep up and keep up you've done.  You have soaked it all in, and digested it all, and figured out your place, and who you are, and to Whom you belong.  You know your Maker and you love your Maker.  You have a tender heart toward the things of God.  Speaking of that, you KNOW His Word, and that makes me so proud.  You really do know His Word.  It is hidden in your heart.  It is the well-spring of your life, today and forever. You have the markings of one who knows Jesus.  I love that in you so much.  You are a friend.  A real friend.  It matters not to you whether a person is popular, or an athlete, or is smart, or is.....You just love people right where they are.  For who they are.  Flaws and all.  That sounds like Jesus to me!!!!!!!!!  I know this about you, but it's what your teachers tell me about you as well.  What a gift you are to those around you.  As I'm writing, it just turned 11:13 am and that's the exact time you were born!  What a joy you were that moment 13 years ago and ever since.  Back to being a friend.  You are trustworthy.  You don't turn your back on others when the going gets tough.  You stand for what you believe, even when it's not popular.  You are you, and no one tells you who to be.  You are not afraid of that either.  You are funny.  Actually hysterical.  You are quirky.  You are full of surprises.  I love how you fight off our smooches, when deep down, we know you really do love 'em.  You never cease to amaze us with your newfound talents.  Speaking of newly discovered talent:  tell me WHO just teaches themselves in a couple month's time how to play the piano like you?  Pey-toven, that's who!!  And you're dang good!  I love hearing that piano come to life every time you walk through the door.  Even when it's loud and chaotic in the midst of this crazy, busy house, I still love hearing you do your thing on that piano over it all!  Thank you for blessing us with that!  What a gift.  I love your love for the call to Adoption.  I love how you love all the little children, red and yellow, black and white.  I also love that when anything needs fixing around here, that we all come running to you!  You've got our backs on how everything works. I love that you still have to give me daily tutorials on how all these electronics in our house work...even down to how to get some of these TVs on!  Sorry, get used to it.  Peyton, I really love how you have embraced and loved and cared for your baby sister.  You "moved over" and willingly gave up the title of "baby" in our family with the most loving, welcoming spirit I have ever seen!!  You were a trooper in China.  A soldier on a mission.  You were a champion for our cause and I will admire you forever for the grace you displayed under some pretty difficult circumstances.  You adopted her with every bit of passion and love that we did!  Looked like Jesus to me!!  Never once have you even hinted at jealousy.  Never once.  You've given and given to her.  You've cared for her better than some other moms I know, and I mean that Peyton.  I know a few moms who could benefit from watching you in action.  You are her "Captain Safety."  We all laugh about that in this family and "at" you for it, but you know that it's a worthy title.  I want you to know that it's love in action that makes you Captain Safety.  I would trust you to literally raise Macy Li if something happened to us because you could MORE than do it.  How many moms can say that about their 13 year old son?  Not many.  I love your shoulder-dimples that match my own (see below).  I love how you're a night-owl!  I love how social you are.  I love watching you compete in sports.  You love it and you do it with passion.  You fight.  You love to win. But when the game's over, your perspective about what just went down is more mature than most of the parents' who were watching the game.  That's Jesus in you! You get it.  You've always gotten it.  You know what's important and what's not.  You live life for the moment.  You love every moment for what it brings to your life.  This will probably embarrass you, but I love how you snuggle.  I love it when you crawl into bed and wrap me up.  I looooove your hugs.  Your "embrace" (haha!private joke).  I love your creations.  I love your magic tricks.  Your riddles and jokes.  I love your stories.  I love that you want to learn everything about everything.  I just love you, Tater.  Happy Birthday to my new teenager!  You're a joy!  I'm glad you were born!

Love you, my gentle giant,

Psalm 127:3-5a
"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

So Proud...

Well, I know I've been missing in action now for a while.  Winter gets to me every year and I've been in that gray-winter-funk and in no mood for blogging.  But I'm back to post this little video of my Peyton and his friend, yesterday's Middle School Talent Show WINNERS!!!!!!!!  Woo hoo!  So proud!

**Before listening to this, you'll have to scroll down my sidebar and turn off the music on my player.  If you listen closely, you can hear Macy Li hollering, "Go your piano!"

William (left).......Peyton (right)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

China Travel Group Reunion

A couple of weeks ago, our China Travel Group had a little reunion right here in Nashville.  (I haven't had a chance to post the pictures yet, because that was the weekend that my grandmother died).  Anyway, it was so good to see everybody again and to just marvel at how these six little Jiangxi-girls have blossomed over the past 18 months from all the love they've received from their forever families!  The entire travel-group wasn't able to come, but we did have families come from Denver, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Birmingham and Greenville, S.C.

While they were here, we had an early Chinese New Year celebration here at our house and the girls wore their Chinese silks and we all enjoyed a Chinese dinner and watched a video from our China trip.

Macy Li was all about these "Dorothy's" (Elmo) in the flowers...

This is Gracelyn with her sweet daddy and they live in Indianapolis.  
She was One Sick Baby when we were in China...but look at the power of love and family.

My little "Li Ming" from Jiangxi!

This little noodle-lover is Rachel, who lives in Greenville, S.C.
She was a prune-eatin'-machine when we were in China.

This is Pam, with her daughters Miah and Sydney, and they live in Denver.
I kidded her, saying Miah got Macy Li's share of hair!  
When we were in China, Sydney would say to Phillip,
"I love you Beef!"  (long story...a nickname of his :))

This is Sweet Sue with her daughter Rachel and Macy Li...
Sue saved the day in China b/c she's a pediatrician!  Great to
have in a third-world country when several of these girls were so sick.

Here is Bryan with his daughter, Mia-Kate, and they live outside of Birmingham.
His son Mason is the same age as Peyton, so they became fast friends in China.
Funny thing was that Mason's nickname is "Mater,"
while Peyton's nickname is "Tater!"

Here are the Asian Angels serving up tea...Chinese-style!

Okay, China adoptive families, y'all know what this is!
Our attempt at a re-make of the famous Red Couch Photo from The White Swan in Guangzhou!

I'm gonna go back and find our originals from China and post them here for
you to see the changes.  They were all screaming their heads off in Guangzhou!

Pey-toven offered a little musical entertainment, while
Macy Li danced for us!


While here, all the families stayed out at the Opryland Hotel...
I included this because it looks JUST LIKE US in
all our hotels in China...although there, we probably looked like
"deer in the headlights!!"  LOL!

Here's little Li Ming running down to the hotel pool!

Mia-Kate and Macy Li

Of course we took 'em to Loveless Cafe 
b/c it wouldn't be Nashville without it! ;)

Miah tearing into her biscuit!  

This is sweet little Hope, who lives in Cincinnati now.

    Some of the group...

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Finally!  Tennessee got a decent little snow, and so we wasted no time getting out in it to play.  While we were out in our Winter Wonderland, we get a text from Tyler and he's at the beach!  College kids!  We didn't even ask... Anyway, here's a few highlights from our day...

Wakin' up to a beautiful snowfall...

My babies...


Macy Li with Nolan...

Wipe Out!
Look at those smiles and those eyes....OBVIOUSLY related!

Hangin' with the teens...

Nolan and Caroline...

Nolan and his friends racing...

Jackson, Nolan and Coble...

Daddy's girl...

What a life...she got to ride with all of us!


Lookin' forward to more fun tomorrow after church.  Next:  Macy Li's first snowman. :D

P.S.  I want to thank each and every one of y'all who sent sweet messages, cards, flowers, and came to visit when my Grandmother died a couple weeks ago.  It meant so much to me, and I just wanted to say thanks for all your kindness.