Friday, December 25, 2009


Thursday, December 24, 2009

In Any Language...

All is well. All is well.
Angels and men rejoice.
For tonight darkness fell
Into the dawn of love's light.
Sing Alleluia.

All is well. All is well.
Let there be peace on earth.
Christ is come go and tell
That He is in the manger.
Sing Alleluia.

All is well.
all is well.
Lift up your voices and sing.
Born is now
Emmanuel.
Born is our Lord
and Savior.
Sing Alleluia
Sing Alleluia
All is well.
(by Point of Grace)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cookie Baking/Swapping Times


We Went to Our 2nd Annual Cookie Bake/Swap at a Church.

Emily and Jenna decorating b'day cakes for Jesus.

I was gonna get that done this year come heck or high water. First things First!

We'll decorate them up really nice on Christmas Eve.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

I Took This Record Player (circa 1960's) and REAL Christmas ALBUMS From Who Knows When...

No lie. I took this darling little contraption to the Cookie Bake/Swap.

I thought it'd add ambiance to have a rickety old record player with scratchy sounding Christmas music playing merrily in the background...while we baked up a storm in the kitchen. Emily & I wore vintage aprons, used my great grandmothers dish towel, measured vanilla flavoring with copper toned measuring spoons from the Eisenhower era, and scooped flour with measuring cups shaped like ducks. I had to improvise. I was missin' the 3/4 cupper. Good thing I was doubling the recipe & could do my math on the spot.

"Let's see: 3/4 C. + 3/4 C. = One and a 1/2 C. Phew I have the 1 C. and the 1/2 C. This'll work." LOL.

I l-o-v-e vintage kitchen ware & other JUNK, and most of what I have is mine...passed down in the family. Of course the saner members of my family have thought at one time or the other I should've thrown it all out in the garbage years and years ago. Now, I think they're glad I have it out on display in my home. These sorta things make great dust catchers.

Back to the record player.

Talk about a blast from the past. It was sooooo fun to chat about the old records, see the pictures on the labels (Disneyland logo...a design totally out of print/production), and to listen to the old timey recordings. I think the adults liked it as much as the kids did.

It was deja vu.

See the coins taped to the needle arm? From CHINA!!!! Someone gave me this vintage record player right after I returned from China. I don't think I had an American nickel in my possession --- so I grabbed my leftover coins from PRC (People's Republic of...well...you can figure out the rest, huh?). There's a squished up version of it above. (Click on it IF you give a rip what it really looks like.)

That top coin has a square cut out in the middle. I Googled Chinese coins and there it was. Go figure. For younger folks who don't know, the coins are there to weigh down & help hold the needle down tightly/securely so it'll go thru the grooves and ring out the music thru the very skimpy speakers.

And for anyone thinking we're into iPods and MP3 players...I guess this will confirm: NEGATIVE.

I even have a black and white tv (okay...AND a color tv in the living room. I'm not that big of a hick.)

All by choice.

Gotta go. Emily's being indoctrinated, uhm...introduced to one of my fave Christmas traditions: watching It's A Wonderful Life.

No. Not in color. How ridiculous would t-h-a-t be?!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Awww. Emily and a Santa Who (IMHO) Looks Like He's Three Sheets in the Wind!

Oh. In this age of abbreviations, IMHO means: In My Humble Opinion.
Mercy. Don't wanna sound like a "know it all", do we?
This was taken at the Christmas Park time with the girlfriends below.
See Emily's sweet little smile? Well, according to the dentist we saw yesterday...she gets to go see a specialist who can fix that Class 3 underbite she possesses? ASAP.
Somehow I'm thinkin' the number 3 is not as good as a number 1 or 2. -- uh...monetarily speaking.
As in, I bet it's cheaper to have a Class 1 or 2 underbite.
The ophthalmic plastic surgeon who repaired her eyelids alluded to her needing to have that chin/mouth bite fixed at some point. Personally, I was figuring it would be down the years from now.
Looks like they wanna work on it now while her bones/teeth are pliable. Then again, she might still need some "down the road" work.
In ALL honesty, kidding aside, how BLESSED are we that these are small issues that can be resolved fairly effortlessly/painfully? My philosophy on life is: IF money can fix it, it might not be that big of a problem after all.
SO....no biggie. We're all smiles here.

Such a LOVELY Night at the Park With Some of Our Girls

Jenna, Anna, Emily, and Xenia

We called this the ANNUAL trek to the Christmas Park. Three of the girls (in the photo) made it last year. This year we had four little angels hook up for a time of fun, mud, Santa pics, and train rides.

It was colder-n-a-cooter brown but well worth it. The lights just seem so calming (although the girls are running and squealing). This tends to put the season in perspective.

Hope you and yours are having a delightful Christmas season.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Emily and Uncle Skipper at Church Christmas Musical


If I Watch ONE MORE Bobby Flay "Throwdown"...

How badly do I need to know if ole Bobby Boy can whip the unofficial, untrained, not chef- schooled common folks of America at their own expert dishes? I'm becoming a cult follower of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives & Unwrapped, too. I need to get a life.

Have you seen Throwdown on The Food Network? Seems it comes on right about the time Emily has gone night-night and I have a few captured moments (think: collapse on the couch) to myself. Or as Carol (Taylor's mom) says: "all. by. myself". I can relate. You can see what they've been up to in Miami at her blog: http://mischiefandmermaids.blogspot.com/
They used my same adoption agency: Children's Hope International.

Anyhoo, once Emily has been tucked into bed, I head for the remote and highly cushioned couch & seem to toggle endlessly between Food Network and something unusual on The Learning Channel: How the Duggars build homes for other folks, Toddlers and Tiaras, or brides trying on dresses that actually don't fit them. Every now and then I click over to FOX News.

I honestly need to do something more constructive like....hmmm...maybe take a bath and go to bed my own self? Gee. What a thought!

It's gonna be a Barbie Christmas at our house this year. The Little Miss is getting some Barbie furniture (for the house she does NOT even have...maybe b'day in 2010), a Barbie hair fixin' set, a ballerina Barbie (b/c Em takes ballet), and a GEN-YOU-INE Barbie cash register w/scanner and microphone. (Reminds me of a Petsmart all call of: "We need a clean up on aisle 9.")

There's a children's Bible, ballet bag, and a Leapster game tucked in, too. Some of the gifts will be from Santa Claus/Father Christmas. Emily knows "he" is in cahoots w/mamas...she gets excited knowing that "Mamas canNOT talk about this." Other presents will be from family members & me.

That ought to do. She got a book from the librarian at our school, and other friends will be giving her gifts, too.

Can you tell we're still at the very innocent levels of living? I'm going to attempt to keep it this way as loooooooooong as possible. Dolls. Coloring books. Puzzles.

We plan to make Jesus a birthday cake this weekend. I was a hypocrite last year and posted that we were "off to do this" but never got around to it. I laughingly tell people that the book of Revelation says there's a place in hell for liars and whoremongers. Since I'm batting "guilty" for 50% of that criteria...I'm confessing my faults. This year I've repented and have an honest gameplan for carrying out the b'day cake baking. I really & truly want to do it EVERY year. Keep the focus of Christmas on WHO not WHAT.

Emily said, "We can have a b'day party and pretend Jesus is there. We can talk to Him and play with Him...."
I replied, "I'm sure He would like that very, very much. How sweet of you."

Awwwwww.

We're having fun with Christmas parties, cookie swaps, and get togethers. Emily is in her 1st Grade play this evening. Seems she'll be playing the part of Prancer. Tomorrow she wears pajamas to school for Polar Expess day.

If I keep eating party foods at the rate I've been going, I'll need to find a comfortable spot under the steering wheel to place my stomach.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Where Do I Begin...

Sigh.

There's a verse in the Bible that says "if two walk together, they can stay warm when it's cold -- and a three-fold cord is not easily broken". Our international connection with little girls and families affiliated with the Meizhou orphanage in The People's Republic of China is not only a cord, it's a tight, thick bond entwined in love and compassion that has served...and still serves...as a life rope.

On reunion day with Myah (and later Haley -- someday with Bree & Olivia), the knot was tied firmly at the end - safely securing Emily, a.k.a. Mei Xia Ying -- and continuing their relationship that began long ago and far away.

When it was time for Emily, Nanny Carol, and me to leave the hotel and drive to meet Myah, her China sister, it was a flood of emotions for me. It was a time of excitement for Emily and a miracle moment for Nanny Carol.

We pulled up in the parking lot and were advised to go into the lobby of Give the Kids the World/Make-a-Wish compound. Myah and her family were waiting for us. I had the video camera taping as I followed Emily inside for her reunion. She went right up to Myah.

The girls hugged.

It was Kodak moment.

Rina and I were crying like babies and noting to each other, "We'll get to you later. Let's click & tape this for the ages to come."

I lost it big time when Rina hugged Emily and thanked her for "taking care of Myah" while at the orphanage. So much for Cover Girl makeup that day.

Sooo...there it happened. There the red thread went full circle with these 2 China sisters and our families.

Later in the week when we all met up with Haley (ANOTHER little girl in photos with our girls...all taken at the orphanage a half a world away) -- it was just overwhelming. (See Rina's blog for more details and pictures: http://www.shpiruk.blogspot.com/) You almost canNOT believe it unless you see photos.

Amazing.
Unforgettable.
Miraculous.
God Sent.

So whether it was a delicate red thread - twisting and turning - that led us to this point in our lives, or a thick rope destined to bind us all together...here we are. In the present. United.

More pics to come & more details of our time together.

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
Dr. Seuss

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Guess Where We're Goin' Tomorrow, and It Ain't to the Grocery Store...

DISNEYWORLD!

Emily's China Sister, Myah, was granted a Make-A-Wish. She's going to Disney, and part of her wish was requesting Emily meet her there.

How could we refuse?

When Rina and Hank first met Myah in Guangzhou, they asked the orphanage director about Emily (a.ka. Mei Xia Ying). The director had come 5 hours on a train from Meizhou, China to bring Myah to meet her forever family. Because we had photos of the girls together (along with Bree), Rina was great to probe for information about our girls who would be leaving the next week and then the next. This was done as a favor to me and because they cared.

The orphanage director told Rina that Emily was so upset that Myah was leaving that she cried and cried and could not even tell Myah goodbye. I cannot fathom that level of heartbreak for a small child.

Fast forward to now: Nanny Carol, Emily, and I are flying to Orlando tomorrow (Friday). We'll be there through Tuesday, Dec. 8th. The girls who parted ways more than a year ago under uncertain conditions are now being reunited at the magical wonderland of Disney.

It should be one for the record books.

Here's Rina post from her blog explaining the trip:

"Well I dont know where to begin..Myah's doctors nominated her for the Make a Wish Foundation. She was selected for our region. We thought long and hard and wanted to pay the wish forward to another family that might need it more than our family....but we were not able to do that. Even though we live here in Florida and we have Disney at our finger tips we decided to wish for our trip to be there. I mean this was Myah's wish NOT ours....So when we put our wish in we requested told them that Myah's wish was to meet her China sister Emily at the castle at Disney. At first we were denied due to the fact that they didn't know how the girls would psychologically handle the reunion. They haven't seen each over in a year. But I pressed and they finally agreed to have Emily be part of Myah's wish. We leave on Dec 5th- 13th. We will be staying at Give the Kids The World Village http://www.gktw.org/ . Our entire family will be staying there, all expenses paid. They are even sending a rental car to get us there with a gift card for expenses.This is a wonderful blessing but I wish it was under different circumstances...I can't wait to see Myah and Emily hug each other and experience this gift together...sisters forever!"

Rina's blog address is on the sidebar of my blog. Check it out. I'm sure the techie wiz will have photos to post. WE will not be staying at the same spot b/c that is reserved for the Make-A-Wish families. Also, we'll only be there a few days. We're going because we want to do everything possible to keep these girls' relationship a lifelong one.

So worth it.
So, so worth it.