Monday, June 1, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Girls just want to have fun

videoThis was one of Paulina's solos.

Boys dance

videoWesley has been the only boy in our dance studio for a few years now. This year he talked his best friend and brother and another boy into dancing with him. Most of the girls had no clue and were totally surprised! They did pretty good considering that three of the boys have never danced and they only started a month ago and I don't know that they had more than a couple of practices with all of them there.

Dance recital

video
Been trying all day to get a video to upload! This one is Paulina's hip hop group. Hope it works! If it does I will try a few more.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sneak preview of Paulinas dance

Here is a sneak preview of one of Paulina's dances she will do Saturday night at recital (she has 8 dances) In this one, the stage will be decorated with moons and stars, the wedge you see will be decorated to look like a mirror, the dance teacher hiding behind it will be better hidden with curtains (she was trying to watch since this was a class) The little bitty girl you see will be wearing a baby blue dance costume and angel wings and a halo. She will also be more of a ham with an audience. So enjoy this preview. (scroll down and find the music player on the right and pause the music so you can hear her dance music)
video

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shiloh's big news!


First, today Shiloh got his drivers liscense! Then after school he tried out for Drum major and got it! He is so excited! He has been practicing for weeks. This school went to state two years ago and were voted fourth in the state. Next year is a state year again. He is very excited and very proud of himself! We are also very proud of him!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Marceli Birthday party pictures






Some pictures from Marceli's party

Special day



16 years ago today, I gave birth to my first son. One year later at his birthday party, my sister in law finally asked if she could remove the birthday boys zipped up jacket. I told her to go ahead and removing his jacket revealed he was wearing a shirt that said "Big Brother". This was our announcement that son number two was coming. On my first son's 7th birthday, I was in Russia visiting orphans, and that day I chose one to be our daughter. Little did I know but that very same day, while I was in Russia choosing my princess, my youngest son was being born in Poland. So today I celebrate my four blessings, but especially my youngest and my oldest! Happy Birthday boys!
The pictures are Shiloh on his ninth birthday and The first picture we ever saw of Marceli. The other pictures are of Marceli's party on Saturday. (Shiloh's is next week)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fun stuff about Texas

Our Beloved Texas...

This is a must read for all Texans, used-to-be Texans, adopted Texans
or wanna-be Texans.

JUST TEXAS

Pep, Texas 79353
Smiley, Texas 78159
Paradise, Texas 76073
Rainbow, Texas 76077
Sweet Home, Texas 77987
Comfort, Texas 78013
Friendship, Texas 76530


Love the Sun?
Sun City, Texas 78628
Sunrise, Texas 76661
Sunset, Texas 76270
Sundown, Texas 79372
Sunray, Texas 79086
Sunny Side , Texas 77423
Want something to eat?
Bacon, Texas 76301
Noodle, Texas 79536
Oatmeal, Texas 78605
Turkey, Texas 79261
Trout, Texas 75789
Sugar Land, Texas 77479
Salty, Texas 76567
Rice, Texas 75155
Pearland, Texas 77581
Orange, Texas 77630

And top it off with:
Sweetwater, Texas 79556
Why travel to other cities? Texas has them all!
Detroit, Texas 75436
Cleveland, Texas 75436
Colorado City, Texas 79512
Denver City, Texas 79323
Klondike, Texas 75448
Nevada, Texas 75173
Memphis, Texas 79245
Miami, Texas 79059
Boston, Texas 75570
Santa Fe, Texas 77517
Tennessee Colony , Texas 75861
Reno, Texas 75462
Pasadena, Texas 77506
Columbus, Texas 78934
Feel like traveling outside the country? Don't bother buying a plane ticket!
Athens, Texas 75751
Canadian, Texas 79014
China, Texas 77613
Egypt, Texas 77436
Ireland, Texas 76538
Italy, Texas 76538
Turkey, Texas 79261
London, Texas 76854
New London, Texas 75682
Paris, Texas 75460
Palestine, Texas 75801

No need to travel to Washington D.C.
Whitehouse, Texas 75791

We even have a city named after our planet!
Earth, Texas 79031

And a city named after our State!
Texas City, Texas 77590

Exhausted?
Energy, Texas 76452

Cold?
Blanket, Texas 76432
Winters, Texas

Like to read about History?
Santa Anna, Texas
Goliad, Texas
Alamo, Texas
Gun Barrel City, Texas
Robert Lee, Texas

Need Office Supplies?
Staples, Texas 78670

Want to go into outer space?
Venus, Texas 76084
Mars, Texas 79062

You guessed it. It's on the state line.
Texline, Texas 79087

For the kids...
Kermit, Texas 79745
Elmo, Texas 75118
Nemo, Texas 76070
Tarzan, Texas 79783
Winnie, Texas 77665
Sylvester, Texas 79560

Other city names in Texas , to make you smile......
Frognot, Texas 75424
Bigfoot, Texas 78005
Hogeye, Texas 75423
Cactus, Texas 79013
Notrees, Texas 79759
Best, Texas 76932
Veribest, Texas 76886
Kickapoo, Texas 75763
Dime Box , Texas 77853
Old Dime Box , Texas 77853
Telephone, Texas 75488
Telegraph, Texas 76883
Whiteface, Texas 79379
Twitty, Texas 79079

And last but not least, the Anti-Al Gore City...
Kilgore, Texas 75662

And our favorites...
Cut n Shoot, Texas
Gun Barrell City, Texas
Hoop And Holler, Texas
Ding Dong, Texas and, of course,
Muleshoe, Texas
Here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about folks from Texas ...

If someone in a Lowe's store offers you assistance and they don't work
there, you may live in Texas ;

If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in
Texas ;

If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed
a wrong number, you may live in Texas;

If 'Vacation' means going anywhere south of Dallas for the weekend, you
may live in Texas ;

If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Texas;

If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may
live in Texas ;

If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both
unlocked, you may live in Texas;

If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use
them, you may live in Texas ;

If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph --you're going 80 and
everybody's passing you, you may live in Texas ;

If you find 60 degrees 'a little chilly,' you may live in Texas ;
If you actually understand these jokes, and share them with all your
Texas friends, you definitely live in Texas ..

Here are some little known, very interesting facts about Texas .

1. Beaumont to El Paso : 742 miles

2.. Beaumont to Chicago : 770 miles

3... El Paso is closer to California than to Dallas

4. World's first rodeo was in Pecos, July 4, 1883.

5. The Flagship Hotel in Galveston is the only hotel in North America
built over water.

6. The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman who was
the first full-time coach at Rice University in Houston .

7. Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other area in
North America

8. Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America's only
remaining flock of whooping cranes.

9. Jalapeno jelly originated in Lake Jackson in 1978.

10. The worst natural disaster in U.S. history was in 1900, caused by
a hurricane, in which over 8,000 lives were lost on Galveston Island .

11. The first word spoken from the moon, July 20,1969, was "Houston,"
but the space center was actually in Clear Lake City at the time.

12. King Ranch in South Texas is larger than Rhode Island ..

13. Tropical Storm Claudette brought a U.S. rainfall record of 43' in
24 hours in and around Alvin in July of 1979...

14. Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by TREATY, (known as the
Constitution of 1845 by the Republic of Texas to enter the Union )
instead of by annexation. This allows the Texas Flag to fly at the same height as
the U.S. Flag, and may divide into 5 states.

15. A Live Oak tree near Fulton is estimated to be 1500 years old.

16. Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.

17. Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. There is no period in Dr Pepper..

18. Texas has had six capital cities:
Washington-on- the Brazos, Harrisburg , Galveston ,Velasco, West
Columbia and Austin ..

19. The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the U.S. which is
taller than the Capitol Building in Washington DC (by 7 feet).

20. The San Jacinto Monument is the tallest free standing monument in
the world and it is taller than the Washington monument.

21. The name ' Texas ' comes from the Hasini Indian word 'tejas'
meaning friends. Tejas is not Spanish for Texas ..

22. The State Mascot is the Armadillo (an interesting bit of trivia about
the armadillo is they always have four babies. They have one egg,
which splits into four, and they either have four males or four females.).

23. The first domed stadium in the U.S. was the Astrodome in Houston.


Cowboy's Ten Commandments posted on the wall at Cross Trails Church in

Fairlie , Texas :
(1) Just one God.
(2) Honor yer Ma & Pa.
(3) No telling tales or gossipin'.
(4) Git yourself to Sunday meeting.
(5) Put nothin' before God.
(6) No foolin' around with another fellow's gal.
(7) No killin'.
(8) Watch yer mouth.
(9) Don't take what ain't yers.
(10) Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff.

Y'all git all that?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

For Naomi

This is for Naomi, an adorable little girl who just had an amputation. Of course anyone else can watch too, especially if you ever wondered how prosthetics work.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mary and Martha

For some reason the story of Mary and Martha keeps showing up in my life lately. First I heard a brief thing on the radio, then it showed up in a book I was reading (Max Lucado's "Cast of Charecters". Then it was the theme of the retreat I went to. Not only that, but the retreat center we were at was also hosting a "walk to Emmaus" and so of course this reminded me of when I went on a walk and I was at the table of Martha. This last weekend I was paired with two women for a small group session. Both are beautiful women, inside and out and both have been blessed with incredible musical gifts. I think they are both Mary's. When they sing, they truly worship, they positively glow when they sing praises to the Lord.

Max talks about how every church needs some of each.
I think he is right, in the church you can find Martha's in the kitchen cooking or cleaning, in the nursery rocking babies, teaching Sunday school, and doing all the little things that people take for granted. When you see the santuary decorated for a holiday, it's likely a Martha was involved.
In my life I have had Martha's. I think a gift got left out in the Bible, the gift of the Cassarole. Some women have this gift (not me!) I have been blessed by it. After surgery it was so nice to see someone bring me a meal so I didn't have to cook, after a baby or an adoption it left me more time with my new child. When my daughter was a baby and had surgery, I didn't want to leave her side, but my pastor's wife brought me a basket with fruit and granola bars and other healthy snacks that kept me going as I stayed by my babies side. Those cassarole women are Martha's. They feed the soul by feeding the body. I have seen Jesus through thier actions.
I have also been blessed by the Mary's in my life. On Sunday look around and you will see these people, they worship with thier entire being. Don't worry about looking around, they won't notice they are consumed with worship, like the two ladies I was with this weekend, they glow when they worship. I have been so blessed by these kinds of people. They are the ones you want to pray for you when things are tough, they won't question you, but if they say they will pray, they will. They will not forget and they will pray hard. Mary's write and sing and pray in ways that inspire others and bring us closer to God. They are also the ones you want to talk to when you have a problem, they will listen and give you Godly advice but won't try to fix it as a Martha is lible to do (maybe with a cassarole!)
It is sad when differences in people cause differences in God's family. God made us all different and gave us all different tasks. One thing that our speaker at our retreat did was she gave us all cups, they were in a basket and all wrapped in napkins or bags so we could not see what we were choosing. All were different. In them we put little pieces of paper representing our lives, the good, the bad and the nuetral. We were told that God gave us our Cup and our Portion. No two were the same, nor were the contents the same. There is so much work to be done here so God gives everyone different jobs to do. We need to respect each other and each other's callings. I happen to beleive that God called us to adopt, but not everyone is called to do that. I have a friend who felt God wanted her to wear a head covering. It had to do with her own vanity and soemthing God was teaching her. She took a lot of flack for that, even though she never said anyone else should do it. I have seen people fight over homeschooling, end times theology, when and how to baptize, how to parent, what time to have church, what age to start youth group and other stuff. I remember one time seeing a cartoon. You could see a group of people who had been wearing church clothes and sitting around a table, but thier clothing was torn, some had black eyes, furniture had been upturned. There had obviously been a fight. The words underneath said. "It's settled then, we will paint the Sunday School room blue." Christ came to unite Us. He asked us to Love each other, not judge each other. I guess this problem won't be going away soon, half of Paul's letters deal with settling petty arguments in the early church. I am going to pray that I will do my part to do better to get along with others. Whether a person is a Mary or a Marth or whatever, we are all sisters (and brother's) in Christ.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

An awesome weekend!

This weekend our church had our annual ladies retreat. At first I was a little bummed cause my bff (oooh don't I sound cool!) Best friend was not able to go. However, this turned out to be a good thing for me. I got to know other people better. I would not have done this if I had been with my friend. I was room mates with a lady who has kids who are friends with my kids and we had a good time getting to know each other better, I spent time getting to know the very sweet wife of your music director. Best of all on the way home and then standing in the parking lot of our church I met someone who has raised (and survived) a child a with attachment disorder. She totally understood the stuff I go through. The way the child will be one way in public and another at home makes it hard to talk to other people about things because they totally don't see the same child. They don't see the issues. I thought I was prepared, but the truth is you can never, ever be totally prepared to deal with these types of issues. Those who have not lived it cannot truly understand, though they can try. This lady has lived it, and it was amazing how wonderful it felt to talk to someone who really understood. She talked about so many things that had me saying Yes, yes, yes! So today I am thanking God for a wonderful refreshing weekend.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Challenger baseball




Last night Marceli had his first Challanger baseball game of the season. He was so excited, especially when a coach told him he was the player of the game!
Challanger baseball is part of little leauge, but its for special kids. Kids of all abilities can play. The kids on Marceli's team may be Autistic or have Downs syndrome, or muscular dystrophy or any number of mental, cognative or physical disabilities. The rules are different too. The bases are closer together and the runs are tiled with stuff that makes it easier for kids in wheelchairs or walkers to run the bases. The players have buddies that help them, with the batting if they need it or in the fields, some that don't want to use walkers to run the bases run holding hands of buddies. The buddies might be regular kids from a regular baseball team, college or high school kids, sibings or parents. Each kid bats until they hit the ball and then they can run as many bases as they want while the pitcher (a coach) plays catch basically wtih the team in the field. Marceli of course likes to run all the bases for a home run. After every kid on the team bats they change places and the other team bats. Each team gets two turns at bat, so every kid bats twice. The kids love it. In the pictures he is trying to show his tough face. I made him take his hat off for one so he could show his new summer haircut, but he loves his hat so we have a frown on that one. (he hates haircuts so I did it very short so it will be a while before he needs one again) The one of him up to bat is hard to see.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter loot


One of my kids took this picture of some of his Easter loot.

Easter memories






Here are some Easter pictures. Easter baskets, coloring eggs, indoor Easter Egg hunt, and new clothes. I did not get any pictures of our performance at church. I was Mary Magadaline and Bob was Peter and Shiloh and Wes split the part of John (Shiloh had to work on Saturday so he did it Sunday morning, while Wes did it Saturday night) Sorry, I was too busy messing with costumes and mic's and trying to remember my lines to mess with pictures. That and making sure my little ones behaved. (sign language is very useful!)

Easter Fun






So lots of pictures of Easter fun. The big white bunny at the citywide Easter egg hung was (shhhh) Wesley. He got pretty hot, but really had fun. There were tons of kids and tons of eggs and the fire department brought trucks for the kids to climb on. Wesley I mean the Easter bunny was a big hit. There is a picture with Marceli in his manual chair. (he uses his power chair for school, but we are making him use the manual some on weekends to get practice). Paulina did not want her picture taken with the bunny, but he grabbed her anyway. Wesley's friend Jacob (seen hugging the bunny) came along to help Marceli find eggs and to help Wesley get into the costume. Wesley only counted three babies that cried and would not have anything to do with him. Several little girls followed him around hugging him. He plans to brag in school about all the girls hugging on him, and just leave out the fact that most were 3-4 years old.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Reliant-LK


Yesterday my son thought we were just going to meet his girlfriend for breakfast. which we did, but afterwards we went to six flags over Texas for the day. It was Christian youth weekend so we also went to a concert. The headliner was Reliant K (needtobreath was also there and they were great) Anyway, at the begining of the concert they asked the people to send a text to a certain number. Then they texted ten people back. There were tons of people there, but Amy (Shiloh's girlfriend) happened to be one of the ten. They got to take one person and go back stage and meet Reliant K. They were very excited and really enjoyed it. Here is the picture!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What if?

My kids love asking that question. "What if I clear the table without being asked, can I stay up later?" "What if our car could fly?" "What if I had been born with two normal feet?".

Most of the time we don't know the answers to these and it's probably not healthy to dwell too much on things we can't change. Sometimes though it's good to ask the questions. Like when my daughter wondered what would happen if she tried being really nice to her brothers for a week. We made it a homeschool science project. She was shocked at how they responded. They were nicer to her!

I was reading a book by Max Lucado the other day called Cast of Characters. When he talked about Moses he compared his time in the dessert to school. God was preparing him to lead the people. He was learning the ways of the dessert, where the good watering holes were, how to survive, what plants you can eat, and how to deal with children and families. I had never thought about it that way. God uses the hard times and things that seem bad to teach us or prepare us for the future. It's pretty plainly stated in the story of Joseph when he told his brothers "What you intended for Evil, God used for good."

I remember once when I was a youth director. There was a teen age girl who was sitting apart after worship. We could tell she was upset and had been worried about her for several weeks. My friend who was helping me with youth went with me and we sat beside her in the dim sanctuary. She was sitting on the floor so that's where we sat too, one on each side of her. As we began to talk to her, she said she could not tell us what was happening to her becuase we would not understand it. She gave us enough clues that we both understood the idea of what was happening to her. It just so happened that it was something each of us had experienced. Because we were able to tell her that and share our experiences with her, she opened up to us and told us what her step father was doing to her. She said over and over that she could never have talked to us if we had not gone through something similar. We were able to help her and more important, get the abuse stopped. I don't think that God years ago decided that my friend and I should both experience such terrible things. However, once people with free will made the decisions to hurt us, God was able to redeem that and use it for us to help someone else. So often I think God does use hard times to prepare us for what we may have to deal with in the future.
When we were first trying to adopt, there was a little boy we wanted to adopt in Russia. Some missionaries had told us about him. He had a clubbed foot and a missing foot. My first thought was that we were in a two story home, there was no way we could adopt such a child. But the missionaries talked about him so much that I researched it and found that the stairs would not be something that would deter this child. So we proceeded. I was heartbroken when I found out it was not going to work. I had been so sure that God had been opening the doors! When I finally was called to go to Russia, I was asked to travel blind. I was given a list of 9 children I could choose from. Each had a birthdate, gender and a one sentance diagnosis. Arriving in Russia and having had only a couple of hours of sleep in several days, I was asked which children I wanted to see first. I knew that I could not go through seeing lots of children. The list had some with heart conditions, some with conditions I had never heard of and three with limb differences. Wow, what a co-incidence, I had researched limb differences. (LOL, I know it was not a co-incidence, but a God-incidence) The very top child on that list was a little girl with the diagnosis of "halfs of legs". That girl is now my beautiful Paulina.
Go back and look at these posts of her dancing.
http://momrainefamily.blogspot.com/2009/03/trying-again.html
http://momrainefamily.blogspot.com/2009/03/dance.html
http://momrainefamily.blogspot.com/2009/03/dance_10.html
God most certainly had a plan. What if I had not stepped onto that plane in faith? What if I had not researched limb differences? I would have totally missed out.
If we had not adopted Paulina and been exposed to different limb different children, we would not have had the courage to adopt Marceli. If a domestic adoption had not fallen through, we would not have been ready to adopt Marceli. So many things. Isn't it good to know that God has all the details in hand? He has a plan and he will prepare us for each thing we will need to go through. He knows the answers to the "what if" questions.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Good news

So often when I read or watch news, it's mostly bad. So today it was refreshing to find a couple of positive stories. There are good people out there!

http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=10115185

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/04/01/landlord.foreclosure.help/index.html

Friends


Last night a storm woke me up and for some reason I started thinking about a certain Bible story. Do you remember the one where Jesus was preaching in a house and four guys pulled off part of the roof to lower thier paralyzed friend down for Jesus to heal? I got to thinking about that story and that man. How blessed he was to have the friends he had.

Lets just look at what the poor guy had going against him.
First off a society that was pretty supersitious about things like disabilities and illnesses, they saw them as a punishment from God. Remember the blind man? Jesus was asked who had sinned, him or his parents. Notice they didn't ask if it was caused by sin, they assumed that, they just weren't sure who was being punished.
Then we have the fact that they did not have the technology we have. No wheelchairs, no beds that are specially made to prevent bedsores. Even if someone did come up with a wheelchair they only had dirt roads and I can tell you from experience, wheelchairs don't do so well on dirt roads. Not only that but depending on the severity of his paralysis, they had to deal with the fact that he may have needed diaper. So not only did someone have to cook and clean for him and bath him and feed him, but change his diapers - cloth diapers that would need washing. I did cloth diapers with my boys, and cannot imagine having to do that for a grown man!
I find it interesting that it was not his family who brought him to Jesus, but his friends. Where was his family? The Bible doesn't tell us. These friends of his loved him so much that they carried him to Jesus, they actually had to pick him up and carry him. Can you imagine what it would take to get a paralized man up to the roof? Then getting through the roof. I had one teacher who said that was no big deap because it was probably only a thatch roof made of only hay. HMM, it occurs to me that the roof was sturdy enough for five people to stand on without it collapsing. The friends also risked the wrath of the homeowner. I don't know what the penatly was for destroying someone's roof, but I bet it could have been severe. Remember this was an age where people could be stoned for all sorts of things.

Yet these guys risked, ridicule, bad luck, back problems, angry home owners and climbing on a roof to help thier friend. Do you have friends like that? I have a friend whom I beleive would do that for me. I know she carries me to Jesus daily in her prayers as I do her. I know I would do that for my children. For those of us who are adoptive parents, it reminds us of what we already know. It's not blood that counts, it's love. It was love that compeled this guys friends to do what they did. It's love that makes our children so precious to us. A lot of people will be your friend when things are going good, but how many take that committment to the extreme of being there when things are bad. It's the same with parenting, it's easy to be a parent when our children are making us proud, but what about when it's hard? God doesn't give up on us when we are difficult or when we behave badly or even when reject him. With his help, we can be the same with our children and our spouses and our friends.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Can a cookie change the world?


I worked with a lady once who told me this story.
When she was a little girl a friend invited her to VBS. She went because her friend told her they had cookies. Her friend was right, not only were there cookies, but the workers at VBS made it fun so she went all week. Then her friend moved and she never set foot in a church again during her childhood.
Fast forward to collage. She is a freshman in college. It's harder than she expected. More expensive than she expected. Her boyfriend broke up with her. Her mom moved in with a new boyfriend. Life was tough. She decided life was not worth it. She purchased sleeping pills and then decided that she would pack her stuff up so her mom would not have to do it. As she cleared her desk, she picked up the can that had always held her pencils. It had a pretty butterfly sticker on it she liked. She picked it up and turned it around and on the back it had another sticker that said "Jesus loves me". She remembered that she had made the little can in that VBS so long ago. As she looked at that sticker she wondered if it was true. She didn't remember much from that VBS, except that there were good cookies and it was fun. She remembered that one of her classmates went to church. She wasn't preachy or anything, but she said she could not attend a study group brunch on Sunday because she had church. She was a nice girl and was always kind to everyone. Her number was on the list for the study group. So my friend called this girl who came right over and answered all her questions about Jesus. By the time I met this woman she was a mom and wife. She volunteered and taught Sunday School. She told me once that she was only alive and saved by the Grace of God and the chain of people he put together. Had one link in that chain not done it's job, she might have been lost.
Note something the people in her chain, were all women. None of the women in that chain were clergy or missionaries. None did anything big. One baked cookies for VBS. One volunteered to work for a week at VBS and made it fun. One came up with a simple, inexpensive craft. One simply lived her faith. Add to that that someone in the congergation probably read that VBS needed cans, and took the time to wash out a can and bring it up to the church. Someone donated a few dollars to buy stickers. All little things really. All things that helped this woman who now does a lot to help others. There were people in my own life. The Sunday School teacher who held me in her lap as she told the story of the lost sheep and acted it out. She made the story come alive for me and made it personal. There was a lady in our church who when I was 14 and going to a leadership weekend retreat took me shopping and bought my first deoderant and some nice smelling shampoo (my family could only afford the bargain stuff we all shared) and a nightgown and robe set that made me feel like a princess. She told me someone had done something similar for her when she was young.
There was the friend who was the first "born again type Christian" to ask me what I beleived rather than to assume she knew. When my daughter had her first surgery, it was kind of a scary time for us. But when we checked into the hospital they gave her a little goodie bag of toys and a handmade baby quilt. (she was 14 months old at the time)That quilt was conforting. Knowing someone had cared enough to do this work for my child, even though they didn't know her. It made her stay better. When Paulina came home the ladies in my bible study were not only there at the airport seeing me off as I made my first trip out of the country alone, but when we got home half our church was there with banners and balloons and gifts. Waiting at home was a freshly cooked dinner. When I came back to bible study there was a shower. It was such a wonderful feeling.
So no matter what your gift, large or small, you can make a difference. Whether it's a cookie, a quilt, a smile, a cassarole, a shoulder for someone to lean on, a cash gift or a prayer. Any gift, when given to the glory of God will reap benefits that will astound you when you get to heaven and see the chain you were a part of and the results of that.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What Marceli has learned


Lately Marceli has been learning some tough lessons. He does seem to have actually learned this time and is trying to do better. That's a huge step for him.
Here are some things he learned:
1. When mom tells you not to race your power wheelchair through every puddle and not to peel the plastic off of your control panel she is not just being mean. This will short out your power chair and you will have to use your manual chair for a few days.
2. If you throw your library book across the floor and mom says no library books for two weeks, your teachers will back her up.
3. If you try to bend your glasses in half they will break and people will figure out it was not an accident. Especially when three kids in the same grade all break thier glasses during the same recess.
4. The two for one deal: if you get in trouble in school, you get in trouble at home. If you get in lots of trouble at school, you get in lots at home. You get grounded for two weeks if you get on red at school.
5. Threatening to never eat again will not make mom let you watch TV when you are grounded. If you don't eat all day though, you might have to take a nap to conserve your fuel.
6. If you play mean tricks on your friends. They will get mad and not play with you.
7. Mom talks to teacher and bus drivers and finds out when you tell lies.
8. Mom loves you even when you get into lots of trouble!

Mission trip pictures






Here are more pictures from the mission trip.

Spring break






Here are some pictures from Spring break. The big boys and Bob (the biggest boy) went on a mission trip with the church. They went to Galveston to help repair homes damaged by the hurricanes. Even though they were a while ago they are still rebuilding down there.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My beautiful daughter






I may be just a little bit prejudiced, but I think my daughter is very beautiful. One day in dance class her teacher was playing around with her new camera. It was my daughter's private lesson and she was also trying on some of her costumes. The green top and gold shorts are part of a costume for one of her solos. I am sure after recital I will post a video! The tutu is for another costume. Anyway, Thank you Miss Mandy for these pictures they are great!

updates



Lets see it's been awhile since I posted.
Shiloh: He's at work now, but this morning he competed in UIL Science. There were only two sophmores on the team and they came in second and third of our schools team! I don't think he places overall, but he did really well considering he has not had all the classes they test on! Last week they had another Tennis tournament and Shiloh and his partner got third overall. Pretty good considering Shiloh has had very little time to practice lately as One act play practice is at the same time as Tennis practice. We saw the one act play at open house last week and I was impressed. They perform at contest Monday! So prayers for them to do thier best. A few of them are actually a little ambivilant about doing well. See the band leaves on a ski trip Wednesday. Shiloh paid for half of the trip on his own. IF the play does well and advances, then he (and a couple other members of the cast and crew) can't go on the ski trip because they would have to perform while the band is gone.
He is excited about the ski trip and about the concert the band will play in Colorado. The band did very well this year winning sweapstakes (means they took top scores in every contest!)Shiloh also got all ones on his solo at UIL (that is the best score)
Wesley and Paulina are busy getting ready for dance recital. Wesley is also doing track. Wesley competed in UIL earlier this year, getting all star cast in one act play, and placing in listening and dictionary skills and something else. (they did thiers months ago) Wesley and Paulina went to thier first clogging convention and loved it. Wesley is proving to be a very professional dancer, as he and his girlfriend broke up, but they are still doing a beautiful duet together and they are both doing a great job of not letting their personal life interfere with dance. Here are some pictures from the clogging convention. The man in the red shirt was thier favorite teacher. In the other picture they are with thier dance teacher Miss. Mandy who is wearing the scarf. Wesley is of course the only boy and Paulina the one not wearing a matching shirt (she could not find it) They had a great time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hope is a fragile thing



I was painting another section of our family room today. (someday the whole room will get done, it's more than half way there now!) This time I had to do the corner where my collection of crosses is hanging. I had to take them all down. Move the bookcases(we are book addicts so there are bookcases in every room) and paint and them put everything back. Bob and the older boys are gone on a mission trip, and the little ones were begging to help. Well, I am not dumb enough to let them paint! So I gave them the job of dusting all the crosses. Naturally in the process one got broken, but we glued it back together. Interestingly, it was one that said "Hope", it was given to me last Easter my my neices. Now, I worry a lot about my neices for many reasons, but I have hope that they will turn out OK. Looking at that cross as it sat waiting for the glue to dry, I thought about what a fragile thing hope can be. I saw my daughter's face when it broke, the hope that she would be forgiven. Of course she was forgiven. She had that hope because she has made many mistakes in her life and been forgiven many times, as have I. My son on the other hand had a different reaction. His first reaction was to try to hide it, even though I was in the room. His second was to make sure I knew it was not his fault and he became angry. He seemed surprised at first to be forgiven, and then behaved as though it was expected. There is a difference between expectation and Hope. His reaction showed that he felt that he did not deserve any consequence. My daughter on the other hand who has lived in a family much longer, knew that she might deserve a consequence, but she also knew that her mother is often merciful. She also knew that sometimes she is forgiven AND has a consequence. She understands all this. So she had hope. My son does not hope for things very often. He has had a lot of dissapointment in his life that has taught him not to hope for anything. He is slowly learning that promises are kept by some people, that some people will not leave him. We are teaching him about God who has loved him all along and never left him. The God who arranged an incredible series of seeming co-incidences to bring him to our family. I occured to me even more that a cross that says hope is so fitting. Wihtout the cross we have no hope. Not only the obvious idea that we would have no hope of heaven, but what the cross also represents is that God loves us, He loved us enough to give up his son, that means he probably also loves us enough to take care of the smaller things in our lives. (it's all small compared to eternity!) If he didn't care what we did, or what happened to us, what would be the point in hoping for anything? My friend has a little girl who was in worse straights than my son. Her orphanage experience was far worse, but she never gave up hope. I am not sure what the difference was. Maybe that my son was alternatly spoiled and abused and hers was mostly just abused? I don't know, but God does. I also know that God is working in my son's heart and in her daughter's heart. Both children have a lot of physical issues to deal with, but I think God has great plans for both of them. They are both now in loving families, learning to trust and learning about the God that loves them so much. I can't wait to see what he does with them. I have great hopes for both of them. And as long as I keep my eyes on my Father, that hope is not fragile at all, but stronger than steel.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why adoption?


I am often asked why we adopted. The usual follow up questions is why did you adopt kids with disabilities, weren't there any healthy kids? I am also asked why I did not adopt from foster care.
So here is the truth. I have always known I would adopt kids. When my siblings and I were younger we had those fisher price little people. Do you remember those? They were wood, and later plastic. The had cylindrical bodies and little balls for heads with plastic or painted on hair. No arms or legs. Well we had a bunch of these. We would set open books up to make rooms for our houses. I remember that my brother would always choose the dresser or a bookshelf, whatever was the highest point in the room and build his home on a mountain. He would have a mom and a dad and a boy child. My little sister would always have a mom and dad and a boy and a girl. I would take whatever was left over. This would include the broken ones, and often I would add bottle caps, rocks, washers, erasers or whatever else I could find. My brother would tell me I could not do that. I would explain that the rocks and bottle caps and such were adopted. I would then name all my "children" often I would have 20 I would also tell him the ages and which ones were twins. So as you can see adoption was something that was always in my heart. By the time we set out to adopt, we had three children in our home. My two bio boys and my baby sister (who was a teenager not a baby) We had a pastor doing mission work in Russia. He told me about the special needs orphanages. This broke my heart. My youngest brother was born with angelmans syndrome which left him very disabled and cost him his life. I loved my little brother very, very much. So we decided we would look into adopting from Russia. That story is posted elsewhere on this blog. Anyway, when things did not seem to be working, I contacted social services. I told them we already had a homestudy and wanted to adopt a child with special needs. I figured I had already done the baby thing and would leave the babies to those who had not yet gotten to have that joy. (not kidding here, I love babies)I wanted the kids no one else wanted. Social services informed me that they would not talk to me unless I was willing to take a child over the age of 7. Except that our homestudy specified we should adopt a child younger than our oldest bio son. He was only 5 or 6 at that time, so they would not even talk to us. Well, eventually we did adopt our daughter and later another son. They have made our family better and stronger. My boys have learned so much from them.

Look at the videos below, look at my daughter's smile at the end of her solo. Now I want you to realize that had we not adopted her, at the age of four she would have been sentanced to an asylum. Most kids don't live to be 16 there, because the strong ones get the food. The ones who do live are thrown out at 16 to make thier own way begging. She would not have gone to school or had proper medical care. My daughter is beautiful and talented. She is in fourth grade. The government does not support her in any way. We get no government money. Someone accused me of adopting my son for money. I want to know where this money is? We paid 3000.00 out of pocket for his wheelchair, we had to buy a van to haul the wheelchair, we have paid for counseling for him and other things. We get no money from the government. We have not applied for disablity or SSI for him. We expect to come up with the money for him to go to college and expect him to get a job just like our other children. Several other adoptive parents have also lately been subject to rude comments. I think this is sad. People just don't understand. My personal theory is that they feel guilty because there are millions of children in the world who need parents and they are not willing to step up to the plate. So to make themselves feel better they have to come up with a reason why adoption is a bad idea. It's sad really. With the downturn of the economy, our retirment fund may not be there when we retire. That money we invested may just be gone, just like that. However, the time, money and love we invested in our children will pay eternal dividends. I am so glad we chose to invest in a sure thing. LOVE

Dance

This was Paulina's very first solo. It was two years ago when she was 7.

Dance

This was 2007's jazz number with Paulina and Wes video

Dance

I was having pain issues and could not sleep. So I thought I would post some old dance videos. Something happened to last years, so I am posting a couple from 2007. This one should be ballet. Wesley is the only boy and Paulina is the smaller girl. This was the advanced class. video

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sad commentary on our world

I was sitting in the doctors office today with Paulina waiting and waiting. She was looking around the room and then asked me a question. She was dead serious. She wanted to know which corner we should go to if we were under lockdown. Lockdown?
Ok so we live in a very small town. People all know each other. There has never been an incident. Nevertheless in addition to the fire and tornado drills, the schools are now required to do "lockdown drills". The children learn to lock themselves in the room and hide in a corner that can't be seen from the window on the door. The gates from the playground are locked. All doors are locked. To get in someone has to buzz you in. To volunteer you have to have ID.
When I was a kid I had never heard of a lockdown, when I got older I only heard about it in connection with prison.
Everytime they have any of those drills she gets scared and has nightmares. It's a sad, sad commentary on this world that the schools have to be prisons, and that our kids have to be afraid.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Another prayer request!

This is for a little girl that lives in the next town over in our county. My son's second grade teacher is her godmother.
Please pray for her and then send a note to her and her mom to let them know. They are currently at St. Lukes getting treatment.
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/darcycassidy

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Paulina's hero


I assigned Paulina to write an essay about her hero. Here it is.


My Hero
By: Paulina Fuller


My hero is my Doctor, Dr. Herring. He has changed my life in many ways.
Dr. Herring did two surgeries on me. In the first surgery he cut off my foot cause it was in the way of me walking, so I could like not walk. Then I got prosthetics and learned how to walk. Then for my second surgery that was on my other leg on my condile you probably don’t know what that is. It’s a bone that sticks out of your leg. One of my condiles on my left leg was growing sideways. I could not even wear jeans. That was bad. So he did a surgery on that condile and he like shaved it down a little and now I get to wear jeans. And now that bone doesn’t grow so funny.
Because I got my legs, I love to dance. That’s one of my hobbies. The kinds of dance I do, in case you are wondering, I do two jazz classes, and tap, ballet, hip hop and clogging and I do solos. On one of my solos for this year I start out with my legs and then I go in a mirror and I take my legs off and change clothes and I am just me! It’s called a lyrical dance, if you want to know. On my other solo, I just leave my legs off for the whole song and do Girls just want to have fun. It has lots of flips and gymnastics in it. Clogging was hard because I did it with my legs on and my legs don’t bend at the ankle and I can’t point my toes. But then we decided to try it a different way. My mom got me some large clogging shoes, and I use one of those and one of my last year’s shoes. I have a small foot on my left and I put the small clogging show on that and I put the big clogging shoe on the other leg. I put both shoes on backwards! I bet you can’t clog backwards! It looks really cool, cause my shoes are two sizes and they are backwards. My dance teacher thinks it would be fun for me to go out in my backwards clogging shoes with a hat on backwards and sunglasses on the back of my head. I love dance.
Dr. Herring works in Dallas at a hospital called Scottish Rite. At Scottish Rite a lot of people like me go there so they can be fixed up and almost have a normal life. It’s a really fun place. They have fun doctors and fun movies and when you have surgeries they have a lot of art stuff and sometimes people come and do stuff for us. The minute you walk in there is a really tall ceiling and hanging from it is this bike thing with two people riding it and stuffed animals and stuff, but it’s not real. The add something new almost every year. They also have popcorn, it’s really good, but you have to pay for it, but it’s really cheap, only a quarter and you can get a big one for 50 cents. They have a lot of fish, when I was little and I went there, every time I saw the fish or the trains I would stop and stair, cause they are so cool. They have a store with a lot of pretty stuff, but my favorite thing to buy there is gum, well and the toys and the animals (I am an animal person) After you have surgery the nurses have faces on their nametag and you get to pick how you feel. And people there always have stuff for you, if you are good sometimes you get animals or something. They have elevators to go to every floor and they have mirrors in them even on the ceiling. If you get a prosthetic you can choose what fabric or if you want to look normal you can choose skin. But I always choose the fabric so I won’t be boring. Right now I have Hannah Montana. I go to Wal Mart to get my fabric, but you can get some in prosthetics too. They can make lots of different kinds of prosthetics. They can make running ones that are kind of bendy and have a loop kind of foot and you can run really fast and bounce. When I get in seventh grade I am planning to get some of those legs and do track.
And Camp! The hospital lets us go to out on a limb. I have a friend whose dad runs the camp and she gets to live there. We are best buds. It’s so much fun, you get to go everywhere on golf carts. In the summer we get to go for a whole week and in the winter we get to bring our families, which is cool, cause you get to meet everyone. They also have horses, and miniature golf and a swimming pool we get to go to in the summer and a theater. All that stuff I just said, only happens in the summer, but the movie theater is in the winter also and the golf. They also have games and toys and fish and popcorn and stuff. They have a cool 80’s bathroom. And when you walk through those castle doors, it’s magic, stars on the ceiling and the stage and cool beanbags. They have a backstage too. The way cool thing about camp is everybody has something missing, they are all different like me, so I don’t feel different. Every body at least has one or two limbs missing. So nobody looks at me funny even if I take off my legs.
Dr. Herring, this is the part why he is my hero, he is the one who runs the hospital and he is my doctor which is really cool. He thinks my little foot is cool, I don’t know why, but he just does, he even takes pictures of it. And the very best thing is he is trying he is trying to find a way for me to meet Hannah Montana. He is just a cool doctor, I can’t explain it, he just is. That’s why he is my hero.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Prayer request

I have a prayer request for a friend. This man is a Godly man. He has raised three step children and then grandchildren. He still has three living with him. He has cancer and we are told the end is near. His cancer is a result of Agent Orange, but because he was exposed on a ship and not on the ground he was denied his veterens benefits. We need to pray for this family. Pray for him, as he is in lots of pain. Pray for his wife as this is very hard on her. Pray especially for his Grandson J. This little boy has stolen my heart. I can't go into his story here, but he needs a lot of prayer. He is five years old and God knows the whole story. He is very, very close to his grandpa.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Peace on Earth?


I don't know about the whole planet, but our cat and dog seem to be doing pretty well. I tried to go outside and get a better picture (this one is through the window and the screen) but they both jumped down. Our Terrier Sandy, is a digger so we can't keep her in a fence, so she must be on a chain. However, we have this old wheelchair on our front porch which she likes to sleep on. It must have been cool this morning because our outside cat Gizzy (she came with the house, and was already an outside cat, she is mosty long fur!) was curled up with the Sandy. Aren't they cute together?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Pictures just for fun
















Just some pictures for fun. Mostly Marceli this time. He loves his skateboard and his car. He looks so cute in his new glasses. I love the picture of Shiloh playing Tuba with Marceli in it!