in this city

J has been working hard in the yard, and things are looking more presentable…


I met a true foodie yesterday, a super kind lady- she was raised on a farm. She told me they had cut down trees in their suburban front yard and planted an orchard because *home-grown, non-GMO, pesticide-free food is more important than how my front yard looks*.


We’ve never really been ones to fall in line anyway and our yard proves it! Our neighbors are very understanding of the fact that we have corn planted near our mailbox.


This week it was Elias’ one year anniversary coming home (last year Mother’s Day). Click here for a recap.


Can you tell I told him to smile?


It has been a bumpy {sleep} ride but he is doing really well {excepting the normal terrible two’s}… especially the last couple of weeks… his personality & intelligence are really shining through… like his ability to count up to 10!


One of my favorite promises from the Bible is in Acts, when God promises Paul *Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.*

That came to mind this week as I think about how many people He has in this city.

This week we met a sweet little boy who has the same limb difference as Elias, and is from the same province in China. Who knew we would have such an opportune meeting in this somewhat small & unlikely place?

Then there are those friends of ours who work tirelessly on behalf of the orphan. Those who have given up a summer vacation this year to travel to India solely for the purpose of serving orphans and others in need. Right here in my city! I am so proud to know them.

It’s so encouraging. I have lived in places I never thought I would even visit. No matter where you are, He will meet you there. He has scattered His people everywhere, and in the unlikeliest of places.

where we are with sleep

We have about a 4am wake up call from Elias almost every night.

No crying, just yelling, running around, pulling everything off his bed.

Theories: plain old terrible two defiance, adoptive child trying to control environment, leftover bad orphanage behaviors, stress

Attempted solutions: limited one hour nap per day, sharing room with Seb, spending hours outside every day to wear him out, repetitive routine every night

Success = zero

When I came downstairs this afternoon and saw this, I just had to capture it.


My one and only decent sleeper, Seb. Believe me, I’m grateful he is.

There’s a reason sleep deprivation during interrogation is a form of torture.


I know this trial is for a purpose, I just don’t know what it is yet.

spring potholder sale


Spring has arrived.


And apparently that means it’s time for Jo’s annual potholder sale.

Here are the details:


Two for 6c, what a deal!


When I suggested she could give them away as gifts, she said, *No, I want to make a sale!*

There’s a popular dance school here that was started by two home schooled kids. And check out these 9 CEOs who started businesses as kids. 

You just never know… so I’m glad I didn’t laugh at the sale idea!


Yet another moment of Elias’ precision and high functioning with his little arm.

He keeps right up with everyone else.


I still wonder if he even knows he’s different. Regardless, he’s the one educating other people right now.

For anyone considering adopting a child with an upper limb difference, so far for us, it has been a non-issue. Elias has figured out how to do pretty much everything. He’s even almost dressing himself.

cracking wheels

What indeed!


Seeing Daddy & a few others dressed up like astronauts had to be slightly confusing for the boys.


It was P@rmaggedon! The annual world record for most # of wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano cracked at the same time {at all the Whole Foods stores in the region}.


…as documented by Jo.


She went to a different store last year with Daddy to watch.


I had never seen a wheel being cracked before.

It was pretty cool, those wheels are huge.


And it was really delicious and fluffy.


The kids lined up twice. I told Jo her pics were pretty good- maybe I’ll get her to do this more often!

On a related note, yesterday Whole Foods announced it is going to require labeling of all genetically modified (GMO) foods sold in its stores.

Read more about it HERE.

bethany’s story

A few posts ago, I shared about the i am second films. Well I’m still on the bandwagon.

I guess this one struck a chord with me because of Elias’ limb difference. Although Bethany’s was as a result of random trauma, her story reminds us that God can heal any trauma and He is always near to us in our distress, no matter what the source.

What she was able to achieve after she lost her arm too is simply inspiring.


Today we have a lot to celebrate! Elias is 2.




J & I turned 8 yesterday.


And we have dear out-of-town friends coming to spend the day with us.


The sun’s coming out~


this is a good day! More to come.

his story

I don’t know if I have ever really told Elias’ story. We don’t know much. Only what we’ve been told.

The only reason I tell it is to show how protected he was and how his exit from that place was orchestrated entirely by God and not by us.


On February 20, 2011, he was left on the steps of a hospital. As far as we know, there was nothing with him.

Many babies are left in public places: parks, bus stations. But I think the fact he was left near a hospital shows a thoughtful concern for him.

February in Qingfeng is pretty cold. The average high this week was around 35 degrees- yet when he was found he had a perfect body temperature. How long he was there we don’t know.


After he was found, the police were alerted and after searching, they could not find his parents or other relatives, he was confirmed an abandoned infant. We have a copy of the newspaper ad that was placed for him. It is in a column with pictures of other abandoned children.

The police took him to the Puyang City Social Welfare Institute (SWI). Both children and adults can live in an SWI, while a Children’s Welfare Institute is just for children.

According to his physical condition, his birth date was estimated to be February 19, 2011. Therefore he was abandoned at one day old.

He was given the name Pu Min En.“En” means grateful or grace. The rest of his name refers to ” citizen of Puyang City”- all the kids at that SWI had the same last name. His very name promised a legacy of sadness.

After his adoption, we re-named him Elias (“the Lord is my God”) Jordan (“descending, flowing down, the River Jordan”).

When my other two were one day old, they were attached to my side. Not only because they got kicked out of the hospital nursery for crying and waking the other babies, but because I wanted them with me. Elias was lying outside, alone, in the cold.

But now he’s here. Plucked from a city of millions, here with us now.

So… next week we look forward to celebrating. No, things haven’t gone perfectly. But we will celebrate the fact that he’s here with us.

And we look forward to the unraveling of God’s plan for his life.

some fantastic news

You may have noticed that I have been suspiciously absent from my own blog lately. Well, I’ve been waiting for the green light to share some fantastic news with you.

After a very intense few weeks 8 years, J got the job. The job.

The job we have been working toward our whole marriage. The reason we made so made out-of-state moves over the past few years. It hasn’t been easy. I have seen J work so hard and be so committed. I have seen him *turn the other cheek* in some situations. And we have often been at a crossroads awaiting God’s direction on the next step.

J’s job determines where we live, how we live, and where he puts his talent and leadership skills to use.


This is a really, really big deal for our family.

Last year, we were challenged to halt our plans toward buying a farm,  put our cushy savings account & career path on the line, and adopt from China.

Our eyes were opened and we sacrificed nothing because God faithfully provided for us, and more.

Fresh from seeing real poverty in China, we returned home feeling blessed to have a great job, live in a free country, and have a secure home. We were more than satisfied with J’s current position.

So we stopped praying for the job itself and instead resolved to leave it in God’s hands.


I am so proud of the man J has become. His leadership. His integrity. His honesty. His humility. His utter dependence on and surrender to God’s will throughout this whole process.

“… blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”


Being responsible for almost 200 people and their families… this is not something he takes lightly.

To whom much is given, much is required.

I pray that his every word and action serves God.

This is not just a *promotion*. This job will allow us to accelerate completely paying off our homes, achieve independence, and give more to those things that are *near and dear* to our hearts.

Who knows what will be in store for us next……………..

For now, we are simply thankful.


“Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.”

the rocky road to table manners

As I was cleaning up after dinner the other night, I turned around and saw~ the look of shame


You know- that look one has when one gets ice cream in one’s hair…


Oh wait, there’s no shame in that!


It’s a *rocky road* to table manners around here. Ah well. All in good time.


Or not.