Friday, October 31, 2014

Where I'm a Headed Next Weekend -- Googled It, Copied It, Pasted It

 The Green Lake Park inKunming City is a very popular park among local residents. Since 1985, the seagulls from Siberia have been spending the winter months on Green Lake. The spectacular scenery of flocks of birds repeats year after year.


The Green Lake Park, situated at the western foot of Wuhua Hill, is a scenically beautiful park facing directly the main gate of Yunnan University. By the end of the Yuan Dynasty (1206–1368), it was still a swampy field for growing vegetables, lotuses and rice, hence the name “Vegetable Lake”. The water-level of Dianchi Lake was so high that it was connected with the Green Lake. As there were nine mouths of springs beyond the Bamboo Island in the northeast, the lake was also called “Jiulong Chi” (literally means nine dragon pond).
green lake park
The Green Lake Park serves as a pure land for quieting one’s soul. Its banks are covered with an abundance of willow trees and dotted with a variety of vibrant lotuses. This contrast between the pale green of the willows and the array of colors in the lotuses makes the park a popular destination for nature lovers. One can almost feel the freshness from the air. The serenity and beauty make it an excellent place for a picnic, a morning stroll, or a simple a time to sit and reflect. This lush world is hence extolled as a “Kunming’s Jade”.

They Will Know Us By Our Love

A fave song
By one of our fave singers
Playing a lot at our house these days

WHEN we are possession if the iPad Cille and Steve gave us
(Link below)

The ole techno tablet is at Robin's house.
Her hubbie, Forrest, is loading it up for China trip with my iTunes charge card account...
-- installing VPN Express - so I can skirt the communist county's blocking of blog communication leaving China

-- downloading Blue's Clues for Mary
I'll do with her as I did with Emily and Molly and start that English language learning in some fun ways 
Don't have to take a DVD player this time.
Whoo hoo.

-- getting the TLC app so I can watch the current season of 19 Kids and Counting

-- locating some Andy Griffith shows

-- finding  a season of Duck Dynasty on A&E app
I hope they don't say 'crap' too much.

-- practicing with Skype...already installed

-- figuring out my travel app with flight info, tickets, check ins

Moving along at warp speed.
Wheels off the ground 1 week from today.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Autumn - My Favorite Time of Year

We spent part of the day out in the boondocks.
MapQuest 101.
Where, pray tell, IS this place?

We took some of our special needs buddies to an event with fun, food, and friends.

Great day to be out and about.
The pictures below pretty much sum it all up.

I'll spare folks the photograph of a ginormous cow patty.
I know.
I shouldn't talk of such things.

But it was still funny to come upon sooooo many of them.
Those cows had some major ruffage.

I'll stop, Mom.

Anyhoo - I'm less than 2 weeks til "Wheels a Off the Ground".
That's cool talk for "leaving to go back to China".
folks pretty much know now.
GOT to tell my teacher friends at next staff meeting.

Operating on full adrenaline.
Up until 11:00 every night cleaning mightily.
Staying at school until 6:00 each day - working on papers, plans, National Boards.

I prepared cornbread dressing and sweet potato casserole - for Thanksgiving - last night and today.
It's all going into the freezer.

If mom and Skipper had not been helping me with the girls, it might not have happened.

They also shopped, chopped, and did necessary jobs FOR ME!!!
And did 5,000 other errands, too.

If little brother Michael were here, he'd be in the mix I of it all, too. 

I'm so blessed to have a family that walks the walk with me.
Emily and Molly have been stellar!
Stellar, I say.

And friends...helping....oh my.
Robin and Forrest, Trista and Josh, Janet and Randy, Fed Ex Lisa, Jane Who'll Do Anything, Marlene with her gimbly knee - now repaired, Donna, Linda, Julie and Sherrie with their reference writing selves, Anne and Jimmy, Karen the Proofreader - and I've never met her, Becky and Her Sweet Hubby, Renee the Book Orderer, and soooo many other dear, dear friends.

Fishing - Ooohh. Poor Crickets. Sniff.

Emily Looking at Seed Pods from a Tree

1st Time on a Horse - Giddyup Girl!

...and yes we know the precious college volunteer who was helping out with the horseback riding - Sweet Katherine.

How We Ended Our Day

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Meet Long Yuan Ping - Soon to Be Mary Grace Yuan .....

I'm going back to China.
I'm SURE folks are shocked.
MOST of my closest friends did NOT know.

This is sweet Long Yuan Ping - now 5 y/o.
Also soon to be Mary Grace Yuan....
She's young.
I know.
I'm not.
And I'm not laughing. I'm serious.

She was born with congenital Aniridia - irises not developed. Light sensitive. Squinting. There are a few other eye issues, but we don't feel they are progressive.  Where will she be schooled? Where she can best have her needs met - and I feel that will likely be at the School for the Blind. Maybe so. Maybe not. We'll have her assessed to decide.
A year ago I could not wrap my mind around thinking this way. Now...I'm on a first name basis with exceptional ed staff members/educational folks in our County and School for the Blind.

Long Yuan Ping CAN SEE, but she'll need to have every technological tool/trained personnel to work with her.
Large print learning? Yes.
Easy to obtain via the public school setting?
Braille? I don't know yet....but just realize that I am excited to take on these options - if necessary - to help little Mary.

My 2 girls are beyond thrilled. They've known all along I was CONSIDERING this adoption, but I would NEVER tell them something that my own mother did not yet know - out of respect for my mother and her feelings. We talked about Mary often but never, ever for certain.
I told Emily and Molly when  the referral was on its way -  after I told mom and Skipper (brother) - who was in town.
Brother Michael was emailed....but not sure it ever arrived in the timely manner I had wanted.

Our story is one that started over a year ago where the Lord began to prepare my heart for this little angel, but I felt her vision challenges could be too tough and/or might cause my life/our lives to be changed to a huge extent. I was in the throes of Molly's new adoption/adjustment. I did not have peace pursuing this little angel, and her file was returned to China in June, 2013.  I now can look back and see the Lord was just preparing me/readying my heart for an unexpected twist of fate. Her file was re-requested by adoption agency personnel and returned in Nov., 2013 to the U.S with my Adoption Agency - the agency I used for Molly. I was surprised to see her file back on my agency's listing, but it hit me like a hurricane. I just KNEW.

I prayed.
I asked, "Do I pursue?"
All inward leadings, scriptures, devotionals, quiet times led me to "Yes."

I'll skip most of the details for now and write about it all as the days unfold,  but I've been working on this process since around Thanksgiving of last year.
I know. For someone with a BIG mouth I've kept this VERY quiet. I HAD to stay quiet. I knew it was the right thing to do until China made it 100% certain I could officially adopt this little girl and until I'd talked with my family.

I also did not want to appear to be acting from "an emotional" jag. I just did what I had to do - yes....paperwork galore, Social Worker visits, fees paid, Sec. of State certification of documents, Chinese Consulate authentications, couriers, doctor visits, FBI fingerprinting, local police background checks, letters of references, etc., etc.
I've borrowed money 'against' the house with a plan to pay it all back and  been working on many weekends and saving money; however, I could work every single weekend for the next 4 years and it wouldn't cover the expenses for an international adoption. They fall in the $35,000.00-ish range.
The Lord is leading me down this path, and I know He'll provide.
In I Kings 19 verse 7 an angel comes to Elijah and tells him to get up and go but says
"the journey is too much for you".
This I know: The journey is ALWAYS too much for us.
The Lord's plans require the Lord's strength, and I know He's faithful to help me carry it out.

I dreaded doing the paperwork AGAIN (You have no idea....) considering I'd just finished with Molly's adoption, but when I realized I was doing it as a sacrifice to bring Mary attitude changed and I got the entire homestudy/dossier copy completed in about 9 days. Miraculous.

A few select people  HAD to be in the know so they could serve as references for me. (I don't like putting people in a position of "not talking" to our common friends, but I HAD to have new references.) Otherwise, NO one would've known...
Because I had not told my mother, brother(s), etc. - people who matter a BUNCH.
I did not want to announce to others what needed to first be announced to family members.

They were shocked and speechless.
Since they now know, I am telling all of you.
You can now be shocked and speechless.

Honestly - one of the most comforting comments I've heard from others is, "I'm not surprised."
Hearing this has made me smile.
Family members were kind and respectful - but this one is out of the blue.
I know. It is. I understand.
They're giving me 100% full support every step of the way.

I'm just letting folks know because I'm traveling in a few weeks.
Am I excited?
You bet I am.
I am confident that this is the path I am to take - trusting the Lord to guide my steps to a little girl's heart in Kunming, China - waiting for a family to love her.
I feel so honored and blessed.

Friday, October 17, 2014

May We Always Enjoy Times in Sandbox

We Went to Some Pig Races - Believe It!

There They Go

1 Ride in the Daylight

1 Ride in the Dark

Taking a Door Off Its Hinges - Thinking Skills 101

Phillips or Flathead?
They figured it out!
And their mom - who's as strong as an ox - hauled the door to the carport.
Great teamwork!

I'd appreciate no references to their mom looking like an ox.
Thank you very much.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday, October 4, 2014

I couldn't agree more!
So we 'went to see the beauty" of a country bazaar - outside.

How beautiful is this?
Our view for the day.

Looking out over a lake 

Chicken on a stick - and the men who cooked it

Sweet babies! 12 y/o chihuahuas sisters...the ones in the stroller - not Em and M

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Majestic Background, Huh?

We Were All Pickin' and a Grinnin'

Singing our fave worship songs with some family friends

This brother/sister duo sing so beautifully together.
There are 8 kids in the family.
They KNOW the Duggars.
The 2 oldest sons were in D.C. and hung out with Josh Duggar.

Spur of the moment visit 
On a school night

We 'd gone to our 6:00 orthodontist appt. on the other side of town.
I text the mom, Melissa, earlier and told her we were coming out her way, and we all decided to pot luck and wing it with some fun.

Super family.
Models of what most of us should strive for.
And they have big challenges...special needs family I'm not talking about a picture perfect situation.
But boy...
What a positive impact they've had on my family's life !

Special time together!!
Playing with Two Little Crabs 
Benjamin and Levi
Sort of a 12 Tribes of Judah theme going on with crab names

They're well cared for!

The Girls are Weaving Little Friendship Bracelets

I reckon that's a good descrption of what they're doing.
Emily's is on top -- threads taped to a hardback book. 
Our sweet friends and homeschoolers Natalie and Mallory -- showed her how to do that.
Molly's is on a little store bought loom- type thingy in photo under Em's.

I love, love the hand-brain-thinking- weaving connections.
Making these various designs by following patterns in sequences...
Just makes my teacher- mother heart go pitter patter!

They've done some nifty things with beads and metal wire and the popular rubber band bracelet designs.

I'm just proud to tie my shoes correctly!
How does it go -- one of those little rhymes that help teach kids shoelace tying maneuvers...

"Make a teepee. Come inside. 
Pull down tight so we can hide.

Around the mountain... here we go!
Here's my arrow. Here's my bow."

Thank heavens for Velcro and flip flops!