Monday, November 22, 2010

A Note of Thanks

As Thanksgiving approaches, more than ever before, I have been acutely aware of this virtue of gratitude. There is so much that I have to be thankful for.  It is true, a child changes everything. Maybe this is why I have been more contemplative.  Maybe it is because our one year anniversary of becoming a family is quickly approaching.  Whatever the reason, my heart swells in appreciation for the abundance of gifts and blessings that I have been given.

It all starts with God, because without Him, my life as I know it would not be possible.  All the praise and glory goes to Him.
The Summer Palace in China...almost one year ago.
Then there are my two main squeezes....

No explanation needed here. They are my greatest blessings.  I love you Brian and Lucy.

Of course to all my family and friends, too many to mention (which in and of itself is a blessing), thank you for all you bring to my life.  You support me, enrich me, sustain me, challenge me, love me... I am filled with gratitude, and forever better because of you all.

I am thankful that this past week we had our final post placement home study. After five years of social workers coming to our house to be sure we have running water (yep!), a posted fire escape plan (believe it!) and (more to the point) that we will be/are sufficient parents, we are done! Alleluia!

There are so many other gifts that I have been given, so many other things that I have to be grateful for. But family, friends, relationships...these are my greatest blessings and the most important.   So I will stop here.  May each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, surrounded by those you love.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Ministry of Motherhood

It has been my great fortune to have recently come across this book,  The Ministry of Motherhood.  It has challenged me to understand and embrace my role as a mom in a unique new way.   The author, Sally Clarkson, talks about five different "gifts" we can give our children to help instill God in their lives.  One of these gifts, the Gift of Inspiration, she suggests can be taught by the beauty of what is seen around us;  the presence of God in nature.  I am not sure there could have been a better week than this past one to fully comprehend this concept.  We have been enjoying an incredible Indian Summer here in Southwest Ohio. At one point, while on a walk with Lucy, it felt unreal:  the stillness, warmth and beauty of the day and all that surrounded us.  I paused, pointed out this supernatural grace to Lucy, and thanked God for his wonder.
At the zoo with our new friend, Abby.

Lucy's first haircut!
I love being outside!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fabulous Fall

Ever since I can remember, fall has been my favorite time of the year.  Mostly I think it has to do with the cool mid-western weather and the beautiful changing leaves on the trees.  But maybe a part of it is also because my birthday arrives each October.  My parents always did such a good job of making this day extra special, marked with celebration and family.  Well, this fall has not disappointed.  The greatest blessing: I got to celebrate my birthday for the first time as a mom!  Keeping with family tradition, my parents, sister and niece, as well as my two good friends, Layne and Julia, joined Brian, Lucy and I for a lovely brunch at Ertel Cellars Winery.  The day was fantastic, marked with great company, perfect weather, lovely scenery and amazing food.

Brian and I have been full of excitement waiting for the arrival of our first Halloween with Lucy.  We were fortunate to have Brian's sister, Bridget, in town to commemorate the occasion.  Lucy was our little "angel," and even though it was a bit cold, she had a blast!  By about the tenth house (my best guess) she had the whole "trick or treat" thing down.  She got so excited going up each driveway in her wagon and would fervently yell "chocolate" in anticipating of her next treat.  Who knew it would be this fun!

As a final note, we got our tree!  For those who read my blog post from September 28th, you know that I won this tree at a fund-raiser for a local girl just adopted from China.  Originally, I had won a maple tree.  But when the generous donator from C & M Landscaping (also the little girl's uncle) found out about the connection between our families, he suggested planting a Cherry Blossom tree instead.  This line of tree is abundant in Asian countries like China and Japan.  This past weekend we all graciously watched as they planted this beautiful new addition in our backyard.