Monday, October 31, 2011

Uninhibited Worship

A few days ago my friend, Beth, went to a memorial service for a dear lady. At the end of her memorial service, the lady had requested that the following video be shown:

This precious woman is now in heaven experiencing worship that our human minds cannot even comprehend.

Thus, I have been thinking a lot lately about uninhibited worship. Uninhibited by gravity, uninhibited by pride, uninhibited by other people's thoughts or comments, etc.

The honest worship of a humble child must be a glimpse of how free we were meant to worship. Uninhibited by who is looking, what anyone else thinks, etc. Only caring about the One Whom she worships:

Uninhibited worship. True worship.
It's beautiful!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Autumn!

The seriousness of face-drawing:
 The silliness of cleaning it out:
 Back to the seriousness--of carving:
 The fun of the glow:
Happy Autumn!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Asian Festival

So, Derek had the camera for the day. It feels strange to be in the pictures....

Here we are at our first Asian Festival. We were so glad we were told about it by someone in our local chapter of the Families with Children from China (FCC).

Cherish was one of the volunteers asked stand in front of a crowd to perform.
She froze, so I was asked to come up and help her:
 Take the spinning plate and pass it underneath your raised leg:
 Trying out the Chinese yo-yos:
We had such a fun time at the festival--watching shows, listening to music, eating authentic Asian food, playing and doing crafts. Thus, we have decided to make it our family's annual event.
We hope to go with friends next year. =)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

National Visa Center

On October 15th we received our I-800 Provisional Approval. On October 20th we learned that the fastest way to get our child's visa paperwork hand-delivered to the US Consulate in Guangzhou was to call the National Visa Center and ask that the letter of approval be sent to us via e-mail in a PDF format. Thus, we called that same day.
On October 26th we received the approval letter from the NVC via e-mail, and we immediately forwarded the PDF letter to our agency. They, in turn, had their staff in Guangzhou hand-deliver our documents to the US Consulate on October 27th.
If we had waited for the letter to arrive in the mail, it would have severely delayed us in getting Andrew. (The NVC approval letter can be known to take 4-6 weeks to receive in the mail vs. 5 days to receive via e-mail.) Therefore, when we are doing the paperwork for Hope, we need to remember to call for the e-mail version of the letter!
Anyone in the process who is awaiting the letter via snail mail, call the NVC and ask for the letter to be sent via e-mail. You could save yourself weeks of waiting to pick up your child!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Grace to Infinity


Last week was so disturbing, that I would like to redo the week. However, at the same time, I would never wish to redo the week--since I experienced grace like never before.

It all started on Monday. I experienced God's grace and protection in a tangible way. I believe God sent me an angel in the form of a man in response to prayers said for protection during a particular time. As soon as safety was realized, the man made eye-contact with me and left the area. I have been moved to my very soul by God's gift of protection and the grace He had given me in my time of need--in such a visible way.

Then, shortly afterwards, I was moved to tears by the love and grace of a child--my daughter. Through her, I experienced grace in its purest form--humanly speaking. I had been helping someone with a project in order to save my friend time and money. In doing so, time got by me and I missed Cherish's weekly--beloved--ballet class.
She extended grace to me.
She told no one that she had been hurt.
She didn't complain or say anything negative about missing her class.
She forgave me.
A simple, "It's ok, Mom," followed by multiple hugs (while I cried uncontrollably).
Grace. Complete. Pure.
I kept thinking that I was glimpsing God's grace through the heart of a loving child.

I spent hours crying last week.

I spent hours through the night pondering such acts of kindness by God and Cherish.
Astounded by love and grace.

What a week!
A week like none other.
It was packed with time after time of God's protection, grace, and love.
God's grace.
God's infinite grace.

"You, O LORD, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness."
Psalm 86:15 NIV

I stand awed by a God--a Savior--Who hears my prayers, listens to my pleas, and understands my desires. He grants above and beyond all I could ever hope for or imagine.

Thus, the name of this blog has changed to Grace.
Grace to infinity.
The grace that God gives as experienced through...

God's grace be with you as well, dear friends.

♥ Julie

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I-800 Provisional Approval

We received our I-800 Provisional Approval paperwork in the mail today. I stood at the mailbox crying tears of joy. I didn’t know I’d be emotional. Fair warning: I may be a complete “mess” on Gotcha Day (the day Andrew is placed in our arms).

Thank You, LORD, for carrying us along in this long process. We trust You completely.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Happy" indeed!

I was pondering Psalm 113:7-9 this morning. It says:
"[The LORD] raises poor people up.... He lifts needy people out of the ashes.... He gives children to the woman who doesn't have any children. He makes her a happy mother in her own home." (NIrV)
Cherish had become an orphan at about a month old. She was alone, poor, and needy. Then, God! He placed her into our arms. He lifted her up!

Our first picture of Cherish:

Now, she is in a family, and God has made me a mother.

How blessed we both are! How "happy" indeed! Thank You, LORD!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Not Deserving of this Child

We had this bed in our guest room, but we recently moved it into Cherish's room and put the crib and twin bed in Andrew's room. Due to how high the bed is--Cherish uses a step stool to get into the bed--I have been helping her make her bed. It's one of her daily morning chores.

Well, Cherish showed me her ability to make the bed on her own. Look at this! By herself! I'd say it's perfect!
She sometimes sneaks into my room in the mornings and makes my bed before I get to it. This child is sweet!!!

Here she is with sweetness oozing out of her:
We had just finished breakfast and as I began washing the dishes, she begged me to let her do them instead.
No problum, mun!
Here she is doing dishes in the evening:

After she cleaned the dishes, we made sweet potato casserole together.
She loves sweet potatoes!
Of course, she had to lick the spatula and bowl:
While eating the casserole, she said, "Mom, this tastes as good as cake!" =)


We also play.

Here we are having a blast making snow flakes and making it "flurry" in the house. Cherish even made a "snow angel" amidst the snow flakes.
Poor daddy went to his evening class and missed out on the "snow storm".

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Helping Momma

Minnie, pay attention to how you fold clothes.
There will be a test.
Minnie, are you paying attention?
 Here's something else you can do with a fold:
 Test time. Let's see what you've learned:
 Cherish and Minnie worked hard folding the laundry.

 Then, I received a phone call and left the kitchen.
I came back to find her doing this:
 Washing her dollies' plates and silverware:
 And the rest in the items in the sink while she was at it:

 She put the towels out:
 She'd rather wash by hand than use the dishwasher.
My, what Sweetness!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Finishing up the swimming season

Cherish had a blast swimming this season, and her Pappy and Nanny came to watch her as she finished up.
 She looks so grown up here!
 She cracks me up taking her big breaths:
 She received a metal and is so proud of it.
We're proud of her.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Derek's Class Reunion

This weekend we went to visit the high school Derek graduated from 20 years ago! My, how time flies!

Derek was able to visit with friends he hadn't seen since graduation. Derek, Cherish, and I all had a fantastic time!

Before the Friday night football game:
Working on her cartwheel:
About to do a somersault:
20 years later: