Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happy Birthday

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. Psalm 139:14

Today is the day the Lord designed for Cameron. Today is his birthday! He turns 3. Sheng ri kuai le Cameron!

Cameron is a precious little man. He always has a smile when I walk into the House of Blessings. He loves to sing. Before I learned some Chinese songs to sing with the children, I often sang songs in English. I loved it when he would join in a on a tune he knew but would sing along in Chinese! He attends the Little Lambs Preschool. He is such a joy to spend time with.

Cameron has been diagnosed with Treacher Collins syndrome. Treacher Collins is a hereditary condition that causes facial defects. I am now realizing that I should have done a little more research on which traits Cameron has. One of the greatest resources I have found on conditions that Waiting Children have has come from They sell a CD to raise money that includes 60 common conditions which Waiting Children may have. If you are considering adoption, I recommend you check it out. You may find that some things really aren't as bad as you might think. A special needs child may be just what fits with your family. I know there are over 100 children here that are all special needs and just waiting for a family.

Cameron was fearfully and wonderfully made. Our G*d didn't make any mistakes when He created Cameron. He knows the plans He has for Cameron. I can't wait to see all that will happen in this little boy's life. Join me in celebrating this day...Cameron's birthday...the day the Lord knew He would be born on. Happy Birthday Cameron!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A package from the other side of the world

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. John 15:13

I have once again been blessed abundantly by friends! I arrived in my classroom yesterday to a very large box from home! My friend, Jenny, coordinated this amazing box! I opened it up to find cards from all the kids! I loved it! I have pictures, stories, notes about their love life, a Puerto Rico flag, all made with love. It was so wonderful! I cried.

I also received lots of treats as well as things I needed. It was so amazing to know that He knew my needs before I did. This happened to arrive on a day that I was missing people from home and some of the basic comforts, like independence. Nothing helps more when you are missing people than something that lets you know you are thought of and loved. I continue to be floored by how generous people have been since I have been here.

I was also blessed to be able to spend time with friends over the weekend. This always lifts your spirits. They brought me some treats also. They also brought me a package from my friends, the Pieschke's. I just want to wrap myself up in the pictures, the cards and all the goodies. I feel loved every time I look at them. Thank you to all of you who have sent me things while I have been here. Thank you to all of you who have encouraged me through pr*yer, emails, Skype and just loving me. I can't do this without all of you.

Snow at Shepherd's Field

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:7
We had our SECOND snow for winter last week! The boys and I decided that playing in the snow would work for Physical Education class! We started with me teaching one of the women in the office how to make snow angels. She had never done this before. As I got down to show her how to do it, the boys took this opportunity to bombard me with snowballs!

As you can tell, I am already losing this snowball fight and it hasn't even started! I don't know if it works this way with all twins, but I could NOT get these two to gang up on the other one. I think they enjoyed bombarding me more!

Don't you think they should take it easy on me? I am getting older you know! Plus, I am a lady!

Yes, I missed again. What's new!

How are you supposed to fight against a snowball that big?

It appears I may be the loser in this fight but I had one last chance to get them!

Dog Pile on Zack!

Make sure you spend some time with your kids today. Have a little fun. Don't worry about who is watching or how foolish you may look. Your children may remember that moment forever. Take the time to make some memories with them. I know I am glad we did!

Monday, February 23, 2009

More funny "mother" stories

I just need you all to know, I have total respect for all of you that are mothers and even MORE respect for those of you who answered the call to have a large family. I came from a family of two kids. Certain things didn't large fights in the van among 3 boys while I was in the store picking up juice, milk and bread. I return to the car after getting my Starbucks splurge to find it silent except one crying who typically doesn't cry. This, of course, happened after our lovely lunch. Besides the typically adventures of keeping children entertained until the food comes, I got to deal with bathroom issues in the restaurant. Phil (7) had to go to the bathroom. One of his brothers offered to take him...not a good idea. I followed to make sure it was ok. The other brother was already in the other stall. Zack (11), who offered to help Phil, yells out "What smells?" while the door is wide open to the restaurant. As that echoes through the restaurant, I was mortified once again. There I stand with my eyes bugging out of my eyes and Zack looks at me and says "What?" like he has no clue. Love him! I get him out of the men's room...yes I was standing in the men's room now. Phil couldn't make it downstairs to get in the women's room 'cuz he had to go NOW! I herd him into the other stall while Nate (11) is next door to him yelling "Doing something private in here!" I spent alot of time laughing to myself this past four days. Do all mothers do that? Do people think you are crazy because you laugh and talk to your self? Back to the bathroom...I try to go back out of the MEN' S ROOM and Phil yells, "Miss Dawn. I can't reach." He was blessed with short legs and a tall urinal. guessed it...I re-entered the men's room and picked up Phil so he could go. Needless to say, Nate is mortified on the other side and wanting us to leave. Eventually we gave him the privacy that he needed. I think all the people upstairs at Peter's Tex Mex was truly glad to see us go.

For those of you who are blessed to only have girls, if you didn't already know it, boys are a totally different breed! I tried SKYPEing my best friend on Saturday. I had Phil climbing all over me and Nate was holding up their littlest dog trying to show their little girls the dog's male anatomy. As I mutter through my teeth to cut it out, you get the cutest grin saying "What? I'm not doing anything?" Do they really think that we don't know what they are doing?

I can think of so many funny little things that happened this weekend. I am assuming that is how all mothers get through those challenging moments. It was all worth it. I got facebooked by their sister a little while ago and she said to me that Phil got up this morning and all sleepy said "Where's Miss Dawn?" Awww...I love him! He also asked her if I was going to be at their house when he got home. I guess I will do the family thing...but I am adding only one kid at a time. It has got to be easier that way...right?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Praising all mothers

He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children. Praise the L*RD!
Psalm 113:9

Let’s here it for all the mother’s out there! Hip! Hip! Hooray! I need to applaud all of you out there since I am in the mother role for the weekend! I am blessed to be able to spend the next 4 days with the Baker children while Tim and Pam are in Hong Kong on business. Let me share with you how my day started. I’m sure many of you will be able to relate to this!

It actually started around 11 pm last night. Just as I was falling asleep, the youngest one, Philip, came out of his room. He has sleep apnea and woke up looking for his mom. He didn’t want to go back to bed so I put him in bed with me. Since I am not used to sleeping with anyone in my bed…you can imagine how much sleep I DID NOT get! When my alarm went off at 6:00, I knew I was going to need A LOT of caffeine and lots of grace to get through the day. As I came downstairs to brush my teeth, Philip ran down the stairs in front of me. He scooted to the computer and scooped it up. He turned around and headed back upstairs. I told him he could only do the computer if he got ready for school first and only while I was making him breakfast. I left him moaning, pr*ying he would give it up and went to the bathroom. I was starting to rethink the day I said to God “I could do a big family.” Let’s hope He thought I was only joking when I said that! I went to brush my teeth and let Phil sort out his issues. I went in the kitchen to get a cup, brushing my teeth while I was walking. Cocoa, their oldest dog, came in the kitchen. I figured now was as good a time as any to get her outside. While standing there with my toothbrush in my mouth, I tried to pick up an old Doberman who saw the snow outside and didn’t want to go out. After a few minutes of that battle, I was able to get her out. I went to get the other dogs. They went out but I obviously didn’t leave them out long enough. When they came in, Benji was caught up in his dog sweater and as I tried to untangle him, he peed all over the floor. I want you to know that I now have been up no longer than 10 minutes!

As I walked into the kitchen looking for paper towels and all I could do was laugh. I just kept thinking, if this is the first 10 minutes, what else is in store for my day? I went upstairs to get Phil dressed for school. He was trying to convince me that his mother only makes him brush his teeth at night. Good thing I had the dangling carrot of "Hurry up and get dressed so you can go on the computer" on my side. I never knew how wide awake children can be and how fast they can try to negotiate their way out of what ever your best laid plan was. Remember...I have been teaching for 20 years but have rarely had to do this morning negotiation thing. AND I function best AFTER I have had my shower. So after 10 minutes of negotiating, I won out and we headed downstairs. I walk into the kitchen to make him breakfast and SLIDE through a present that one of the dogs have left me on the floor. Now I am doubled over in laughter! What else can you do when you have lost full control over the day in 20 minutes and you still have 2 more kids to get up and you are not yet ready for work either! Thank goodness that Esther is 17 and took care of herself!

I can fortunately say that other than needing a caffeine IV, my day was fairly uneventful. I did shake my head and ask Him though, "Are you sure I can handle this mother thing?" I will be 43 next month and my adoption is at least 1 if not 2 years off. When I started this adoption journey, I was originally thinking a child closer to the 9 month old age would be nice but now I am thinking I am WAY TOO OLD for a baby...toddler/preschool age sounds much nicer! So this goes out to all the mothers out there who have had one of these days if not many of these days and for those of you who have perfect children and NEVER had to experience one of these. My hat goes off to you. Thank you for having children and loving them, especially when you lose full control over your day and your plans. I so long to be a mom and what a gift it is to be a mom. If your children don't already realize what a gift you are to them, may they come to know that soon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Lantern Festival

"For You are my lamp, O L*RD; The L*RD shall enlighten my darkness. 2 Samuel 22:29

On Friday, the boys and I traveled into Langfang. It is about 30 minutes away from Shepherd's Field. We had a little field trip. For Chinese New Year, they decorated People's Park with lanterns and other things. It was really well done. We walked through the park and then went to McDonald's for lunch. We were able to order all our food IN CHINESE WITHOUT POINTING TO PICTURES! Woohoo! AND we got exactly what we wanted! SUCCESS!

As we walked through the park, I periodically would make the boys stand in front of something. I never realized what a challenge it would be to get 11 year old boys to willingly smile for the camera. Oh well, I think they turned out well in spite of that fact. Would you like to come for a walk through the park with me? Follow along!

Zack and Nate Baker

You know I hate to be in the pictures, but once again...this one is for you Anna and Sarah!
The week before, we had gone to the park at night. Here's a little different view for you to enjoy.

Yes, it's me again. Can you guess who I put this one in for? :)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Beloved, if G*d so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 1 John 4:11

Ain't love grand? Who says you have to have a boyfriend or husband to celebrate Valentine's Day? I was blessed to spend the evening with Tim and Pam Baker's children so they could go out to dinner together. Nothing makes me happier than cooking and baking. Ok, I'll take it back...nothing makes me happier than cooking or baking than to do it for people I love. This is exactly how I got to spend my Valentine's Day! Loving people isn't just about feeling that way. It is putting your feelings into action. People know they are loved by the things you do for them.

There are 5 different ways people know they are loved: through touch, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service and gifts. I'm a big touch person. Nothing like a hug from a child to let me know I am loved. Another one for me is words of affirmation. Praise...I guess this is why I use this one alot with my students and children. I like to know when I am doing something that is appreciated. For other's, they need quality time to know they are loved. They want the undivided attention of the person they love. This doesn't have to be long period of times. They just want to feel like the most important thing in that person's life at that moment. This just involves not watching the game while they are talking or getting off the computer when they want to talk for a little while. Acts of service people like little things done.. This is taking out the garbage, running the vacuum for them, carrying the laundry upstairs or going outside and carrying in the groceries when they get home from the store. Gifts...I think this one is fairly self explanatory. Just bring home little things that made you think of them...their favorite drink or candy bar while you were at the gas station, a card for no reason, notes in their lunch box/car or inside the medicine cabinet so they see it when they go to brush their teeth.

Most of these things cost so little financially. What it costs is our own time and effort. Have you shown the person you love how much you love them lately? If not, why not do that. You might be surprised that when you take a little extra time and do things that matter to them, they might start doing more of the things you love too. Try it...what have you got to lose?

As for me, I am blessed by the Baker's. They continue to show me their love and appreciation often. I arrived at their house and the boys and Pam had made me valentine's from red hearts. They came with a bag of chocolate. This would have been enough but they topped it off with flowers.

I want you to know that the last time I received flowers on Valentine's Day was my senior year in college. I lived with 5 other girls and they all had boyfriends. I had no one so my parents sent me flowers. I love being loved!

Even though Valentine's Day is a day to say how much you love someone, don't wait another whole year to show the people you love how much they mean to you. Just do something little every now and then. If it is not noticed right away, eventually it will be. Most people can't ignore loving actions forever.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Broken Hearts

'Then, if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins. Leviticus 26:21

This Sunday, we sang a song at church that had the following line in it: "Break my heart with what breaks yours." It so touched me. I felt I wanted to share this with you. Obviously, I procrastinated since it is now Friday but He put it back on my heart this afternoon.

Break my heart with what breaks yours...G*d wants us to know what kind of things break His heart. When we accepted Chr*st as our Sav*or, He comes into our heart and therefore, our heart should match His. I started thinking about this when I got an email recently regarding pr*ying for our new president. I know as I mention this some people are already raising their eyebrows and waiting for my next words. I ask you to be matter whether you voted for President Obama or not.

G*d tells us to follow His commandments. I can tell isn't always easy. It is a choice that I can make: His way or my way. I battle that daily with some days being more challenging than others. I also know I am not the only one that has this battle. He asks all of us to follow His commandments, whether we believe in Him or not. If we don't follow His ways to stay away from the things that break His heart, there are consequences.

Many of you are parents. If you are not, you are someone's child. When you ask your child to do something and they choose not to listen to you, aren't there consequences? Sometimes we are merciful with our children and sometimes when they repeatedly don't listen, the consequences are greater. Either way, G*d warns us of this happening to us when we don't follow His ways. He is our Father and those of us who believe in Chr*st are His children. No parent wants to punish their children but they know that this is necessary at times.

I desire that our country be blessed. I don't desire for us to live with the consequences of doing things that are against G*d's ways. This involves us making choices that follow G*d's heart and staying away from things that break His heart. That is my desire for our president, that He has G*d's heart directing Him and that the things that break G*d's heart will break President Obama's heart as well.

G*d calls His church to pr*y for our leaders. There is nothing greater you can give our country than to pr*y for your leaders. Please pr*y for the following:
1. God reveals His truth through wise counselors to the President
2. God convicts Mr. Obama's heart, leading him to repentance, and
3. God brings Mr. Obama to understand that His created life begins at conception.

You don't have to agree with him to pr*y for him. If you don't agree with him, all the more reason to pr*y for him. If you love your country, then I ask you to pr*y for our president.