Growth...of our our walk with all things to worship HIM!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree

I love everything about Christmas!!

I love celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior,
I love singing Christmas carols,
I love decorating,
I love baking,
and I love the bustle of shopping.  

Yep, as far as I am concerned, it is indeed 
"The Most Wonderful Time Of the Year"!!

On Saturday December 1st we set out to find a tree.

In years past that equaled going to a tree farm, selecting just the right one, hubby using his mean sawing skills with girls giggling and dancing about, and dragging the tree through the snow to measure, pay, and transport it home.

(Christmas 2005)

Since living in the south...we have had to adapt this tradition quite a bit:)

Our first year in NC...
There was no snow:)
 We called around to find a farm that told us we could cut our own,
drove over an hour to said farm, was even handed a saw by mrs. tree farmer...
just to gaze out over a field of charlie brown trees that didn't even reach Kylee's waist:(

So we walked back to the entrance of the farm and picked a precut tree off the lot

 From that time on we started a new tradition...
going to the farmer's market to pick out a tree.

THIS YEAR, 2012, we were off to the market again:)

As soon as we entered the first lot my hubby pointed one out...A GINORMOUS ONE!!

Of course it took the girls no time at all to fall in love with that one!!

But I asked them to humor me and see if there was a smaller/cheaper tree that we might find.

We looked the lot over and came back to this one.
Mr. Tree Farmer gave us a good discount so this big boy came home with us!!

It took hubby and a kind neighbor to get the tree into the house.
We started with a small step ladder and then decided it was time to bring in the big guns!!

You really cannot spend much time around this clan before the sillies start coming out!

Our oldest decided that since the tree was so big...
EVERY ornament needed to be placed on the tree this year!!

And God's perfect timing would have it...we were able to face time with Aaron so he could share in our festive night!!

Showing Aaron the penguin stocking he picked out for him!
(yes, I tried to talk our family into changing tradition
 for beautiful stockings with names monogrammed on them...
they were not having it.)

Thank you Lord...we are overwhelmed by the countless blessings
YOU shower on us each and every day!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

...for this is God's will for me

There is nothing better than basking in the presence of God!

There are times when I am crying out to my father God about a particular situation.  
And in those moment I find peace for my soul.

But my favorite times are when I am overwhelmed with thankfulness...
thankfulness for who HE is,
what HE has done,
 that HE loves me,
 and the intentions of HIS heart for me are steadfast and forever!!

This Wednesday night, at our House of Prayer, our worship pastor spoke briefly on ThanksLIVING.  

Basically we all put on our thankful hats for the Thanksgiving season.  
And then somewhere between the Christmas crazies and new year resolutions gone bad...
we lose that thankful heart.  

There are numerous references in the bible that clearly state 
that we are to be thankful in all circumstances.  
I may have had a beautiful typed list of said verses that I misplaced following the service.
I will blame it on the 3 hours sleep I had the night before:)  

A verse we all love to miss use is
...all things work together for the good of those who love God...
We love to think that if we love God he will take all our bad circumstances 
and change them to good.  
But that is not what Romans 8:28 speaks of.
It means that God will take the good and the bad situations and use each of those to grow us and mold us for our good.    

There was another verse that struck a cord with me.  
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says...
Give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  

In the past I had read the verse to say that God's will is for us to give thanks.  
When I looked at it this week...
I realized that where we are right now in our adoption God's will for us.  

I know that seems like common sense.  Of course it is God's will for us.  We have been praying for God to bring us the right child, we have be walking in faith, and trust God to open and close doors.  

But the timeline...and the so called "delays" that don't make sense...they are God's will for us RIGHT NOW in this leg of the journey.

In this season, God is asking us to rejoice for others who are traveling to their treasures.

HE is asking us to be thankful for our timeline.

He is asking us to give thanks for when it hurts and when it is all smooth sailing.

So today, I am choosing a thankful heart!

I am thankful for my partner, my lover, and best friend!!

I am thankful for my beautiful girls that have a heart for Jesus!!

I am thankful that this sweet boy knows he has a family and that we are coming for him soon!!

Today I am thankful that THIS is God's will for ME~

Monday, November 19, 2012

God's Timing

If you have already walked or are in the process of walking the adoption road, 
you are very familiar with the waiting game.  

Many good things in life require waiting.  
But there is something so very raw when it comes to waiting for children.  

Some have experienced loss of a child and/or infertility.  
Some have experienced being matched only to have the adoption fall through.  
And sometimes it is just the raw feeling of lost time.  
(the feeling of urgency to get your loved treasure into a loving family 
and not have them spend another day in an institution or foster home.)

Whatever the circumstances....waiting for children is just plain hard!

I cannot tell you how many times I have been told, "Oh dear, you are pregnant!" 
(meaning you are adopting)

And all I want to do, with my sweetest smile in place, is say, "Yes, I have been pregnant for almost three years now... I am ready for the 'pregnancy' to be over!!"
A gal can take just so such false labor and muscle ache:)

But the truth remains.  God's timing is perfect!  

I have been guilty of saying that we are "experiencing delays" throughout this journey.  

It was gently brought to my attention again this week that there are no DELAYS in God's plan.

My timeline has been changed, disrupted, and delayed.

BUT God's timeline is still running strong and will arrive right on time!!

We have been praying and believing for our sweet boy to be home by Christmas.

We serve an amazing God that has Aaron's (and our) best interest at heart.

NOTHING is impossible with God and HE is more than able to grant us the desire of our heart!

The only thing remaining for Aaron to come home is a medical and visa appointment.
But we have learned throughout this journey that the timing is NOT in our hands.

I keep saying that we are so very close that I can taste the Lumpia (Filipino spring rolls).

No matter the day or hour of our travel...We know that our heavenly Father has it all orchestrated for HIS plan and purpose.

And Then She Was Twelve

When did it happen?  

This gorgeous little pumpkin,
seen here on her forever family day (when her adoption was finalized) in 2006... 

 turned 12 years old!!

As much as I would love to keep her young, 
she is determined to grow up and blossom into a beautiful young lady!!
(she doesn't wear glasses...they are purely for the fashion factor)

Because I have been sick she told me that I could simply make a box cake this year.  

I said, "Bite your tongue sweet girl...
no sickness is going to convince me not to make you a homemade cake!"

I was relieved that she was not looking for a cake boss knock off this year:)  

She settled for a simple red velvet with cream cheese frosting.  
And there were sparklers and horses for an additional flare!

Happy Birthday baby girl!!  
May you draw closer to your heavenly father with each passing year!!

Over due approval announcement!

I was out of commission for two weeks with a sinus infection.  
Yep, this stubborn gal waited 12 days before seeing a doctor:)  

But in the midst of it all...God blessed our socks off!!

On Tuesday, November 6th, something spectacular happened!!

We had been waiting nearly two weeks for the additional document 
requested by our immigration officer.  
You remember...the one needed to have I800 visa clearance...

The document was requested but not a word was heard in that two week period of time.  
On November 6th I decided to call our immigration officer to see if the ICAB may have wired the needed document directly to them. 

When I called I learned that nothing was wired.

But then something miraculous happened!!!
The kind officer on the other end of the phone line put me on hold...for quite some time.  
This mama was praying and praying as I waited:)

A few minutes later the officer informed me that she could approve our I800!!! realize that this was AGAIN completely orchestrated by God.  
I felt very strongly that I needed to call that evening...
had I not called the officer would not have taken a second look at our file...
no new documents were sent...but we still got approved!!!


HE is our grace extending, 
mountain moving, 
blesses beyond what we could ask or imagine
kind of Father!  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Catching Up!

Much has happened in these parts over the past several weeks.  

Our 11th grader has been doing a science course online so she is usually on the home computer...therefore, my posts have been few and far between!!  

Let me give you a catch up of our month in photos:)

We were blessed with tickets to the NC State Fair!  We are all critter lovers!!!

And the oldest KID of the family enjoyed some bumper cars with our youngest daughter.

We worked on a care package for Aaron...

And Kylee practiced her super hero drawing skills.  
I am sure Aaron will love her Hulk!!

There has been baking...

And posing.

Hubby was on a business trip in CA and met this renowned athlete...
Yep, I have no clue who he is:)

 We attended a FABULOUS fall fair at our church...

The cowgirls

The oldest

It was a knock down battle to the end:)

We had an Ulta experience 

Spent time horsing around

And lived through the coldy cold cold winds brought on by Sandy... 

 But it is never too cold to love on some barn friends!

We were also blessed to go to Defy Gravity with one of my high school friends and her boys!!

Add some priceless moments skyping with a certain Filipino cutie,
much school work,
rockin' for Jesus through kidz worship,
and MUCH prayer for God to move mountains for a pesky document.

Yep, we have had a fun-packed, priceless month!!  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Me of Little Faith...

We have been living in bliss the past few weeks!!! 

We are skype-ing with the most beautiful boy in the world!!

I especially love to watch his gorgeous eyes dance when he speaks to us...
and then there is the sweet voice laced with a charming Filipino accent.  


We (and the family we hope to travel with) have been waiting to receive our I 800 visa approval.  
My sweet friend called me Thursday morning to tell me that she just got off the phone with the immigration officer.  She told me that she got her approval and that I needed to call immigration right away!!  

I was overjoyed!!

I sent my paperwork the same time she did 
so there was a wonderful chance we would get ours as well:)  

I was routed to the correct officer and learned that she had our file in hand, 
and would review it this morning for approval!!!

If we received the approval that day...another week would be shaved off our anticipated timeline!!!  We have been reminded many times that it would take a miracle to get the boys home by Christmas, but we have continued to pray and believe!!

I was dancing around our home envisioning Christmas lights twinkling in our son's eyes as we read the Christmas story from the Bible together in our PJ's Christmas morning.  

My beloved day dream came to a screeching halt just a few minutes later 
when the Immigration Officer called me back.

I was informed that the ICAB didn't send the documents that they usually send with the referral.  I looked over my copy of the documents and asked if a certain document would be sufficient. 

The officer got off  the phone to talk to her supervisor.
And I called my hubby, who is on a business trip in CA, so that we could pray together.  

A few minutes later I learned that immigration will not accept our document...and that we have to get our hands on a different one.  

I will be completely honest with you...I fell in a heap and cried hysterically.  

Not attractive, I am fully aware.  

I felt like the lights went out on my Christmas miracle.  

The good news is that I didn't stay there!  

After much prayer and worship throughout the day, I eventually came back to truth.

God didn't stop being in control because I received news I didn't want or anticipate.  

This new bump in the road was not a surprise to HIM.

HE didn't leave my side...I simply looked away.

It frustrates me that I can still be shaken so quickly.
It is confirmation to my need to be firmly planted in Christ throughout the day.
I did devotions that morning.  I worshipped and prayed.

But when the unexpected came...I still faltered.

I still have much to learn in this journey.
My prayer is that I will grow in HIM every step of the way and that HE will continue to mold and craft me into who HE has made me to be!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Journey Is Not a Competition...

I have been quiet over here at grown2worship.  

Not because there is nothing to share.

It is quite the opposite really...
my heart is bubbling over and I would love to spill my guts.

So what is holding me back?  

fear of hurting another adoptive mama's feelings, fear of jealousy, fear of sharing too much...

The bible is clear that fear is not of the Lord!

so it is time to put fear in it's proper place...under my feet!!

When on the adoptive journey 
(or any other journey God has you on) 
we have to realize that Christ is completely in control of the journey.  

What do I mean...well, if we pray for God to 
lead us to our children, 
open doors, 
provide finances,
and that 

Then we have to believe that HE WILL ANSWER PRAYER!

Where we get into trouble is that we want our prayers answered 
our way 
and in our timing!!!

In these moments we are simply wanting a genie in a bottle, 
not our Heavenly Father who has tremendous plans for us...
if we but earnestly seek his will for our lives.   

Many of you know that our adoption journey didn't start a year ago, or even two years ago.
No, our journey has been going on for many years.  

I was guilty of seeing couples having babies and wondering why God didn't bring me mine.  I have watched couples get matched almost instantly...and I have watched friends become pregnant and birth those beautiful babies all while I was waiting to be chosen.  

But through that time I had to keep going back to the truth...

I was praying for God to grant me the desire of my heart, but more importantly...I was asking for HIS will to be done in my life.  I am a firm believer in if I am praying for God's will, and we were not being matched...then logic would tell me that each of our previous situations were not God's will for our family. 

Unfortunately, we still get caught up in comparing....
we compare time lines and dates,
then get frustrated when someone else achieves a milestone before us.
We compare how many photos we have seen of our child/children.
We compare how soon our child learns that he/she has a forever family,
 wether we can send a care package... 
and if we can Skype, when, and how many times.  

Yes it is hard to wait, yes it is hard to see others receive the blessings that we may not have, 
yes it can be painful.  

But friends, have we lost sight that each and every one of us have been called by God to a personal journey to adopt our treasures.  

Ultimately, the truth is, we all have a different journey to walk with HIM.  

There are wonderful similarities that allow us to do life together.  
We may be adopting from the same country, same provence, same orphanage, same gender...

But even with these similarities, God has each of us on a personal journey.  
One that will shape us and grow us to be the Christ followers 
that HE has been grooming us to be.  

My journey will not be identical to yours and likewise yours will not be identical to mine.  

For this I am grateful!  

You see, even when I tried to expedite our journey by having ALL our paperwork sent in with our initial application fee.  
God had the perfect timing for our family.  
Obviously it was not MY timing...but HIS timing is perfect!!!

We would have never asked for the problems we had with Aaron's birth certificate or for our estimated travel time to come and go...But again...God's timing is perfect.  

He will use EVERY situation for the good of those who love him!!!  

Would I love to jump on a plane this very moment and pick up our son???  
You better believe it!  
BUT, I will choose to be overjoyed and thankful that Christ has lead us to our son, and that HE is in control of OUR journey!!

I slipped up again this week and fell into the comparing game:(  

I asked another sweet adoptive mama when she filed a certain document and where she is at now...somehow grasping at straws to learn when we can finally be united with our newest member of our family.  

But then I was quickly reminded that I have been in fervent prayer for our journey.  
And our timeline may look very different from this friend's timeline. 

Instead, I am going to rest in the blessings HE has given me!  

The truth is...we have been given the awesome privilege of Skyping with our sweet boy!!!  
I know it is a priceless gift that is not always granted.  That blessing has not been lost on us!!

We have been praying for Aaron's heart to be open and receptive to our family.  And for God to remove all fear of the future.  

We are in awe of how HE has answered these prayers!!!  

Aaron is in a FABULOUS orphanage with caregivers who love him and want the very best for his future!!!  He is absolutely gorgeous, funny, and outgoing.   He loves music, drawing, and sports. 

 He has asked Mélika to teach him to play the guitar
(not when he gets home...but now through Skype:)  
I have never seen such pure excitement and concentration!! 

and Kylee loves to show Aaron her drawings. 
Aaron looked at each one and joyfully asked her questions.      

My very favorite times have been looking up bible verses together.  He loves to read them to us.  
Until this time we had no idea he could even read in English!!

I know that we will still have difficulty communicating when we first travel for Aaron.  We are relying heavily on interpreters right now.  But oh how my heart rejoices that with the interpreter's help, Aaron is getting to know us and his fear of leaving with us will be lessened!  

I praise God for my personal journey to our son!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Today is my new favorite:)

Oh if you could see what I see!!!!

This morning, at 7:24am to be exact...

the most wonderful gift arrived in my email box!!!!!


and not just ANY photos

Photos of our gorgeous son 

looking at the album of our family!!!

I cannot begin to tell you what a sweet gift that was to this mama's soul!!

We were blessed with photos of each stage of Aaron seeing our family, from wrapped gift to the last page.  His eyes smiled on the pages that were written in Tagalog.  It may have been because of the content, or it may have been because he could read them himself.  

I think my father summed it up best today.  
We could not have asked for a better response when he saw our family for the first time!!!

I had originally decided to declare today as 
National Aaron Knows He Has A Family Day

but truth be told...that was Friday.

So, shall be declared
National Stare At Your New Son Day!!!!

And that my friends is the holiday that I am claiming to justify accomplishing NOTHING on this freezing rainy day!!  

So, to celebrate, I have been curled up on the sofa with a fleece blanket staring at our cutie pie!!!

I think the holiday is going extremely well!  

And, there are rumors of a video!!!
So, there may be more holiday celebrations tomorrow.  


Friday, October 5, 2012


We are absolutely, completely, over the moon....EXCITED!!!!

Throughout this leg of our adoption journey we have knows that Aaron is our son...

hundreds around the world have been praying for him knowing he is our son...

but our sweet Aaron has not known.


Today the liaison for our agency was able to hand deliver our family album to our son and let him know that he is loved, and wanted by his forever family.  

Today he knows that he has not been overlooked by his heavenly father...he is no longer fatherless!!!!

We learned that photos and video were taken when Aaron got the news!!  

We hope to see it on MONDAY!!  I can say in all confidence that not much sleep will come to this mama's body between now and Monday:)

Praise God...our son knows!!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

There's nothing my God cannot do!!

My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do.
The mountains are his, the oceans are his, the stars are his handy work too.
my God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do!!

These childhood song lyrics have been resonating in my mind this morning!!

I had myself convinced that once our referral came in that I would have a relaxed peace of mind knowing our sweet boy is ours, and have a somewhat accurate timeline for bringing him home.  

Wow, was that a misconception!!

I think the best word to describe my emotions right now is ...frantic.  
We made it over the big hurdle...we are in the home stretch...and I just want desperately to bring Aaron home...YESTERDAY!!  

You know that feeling...the one where you would scratch through a brick wall with your bare hands to get to your child on the other side if that was all that was required.  

I am feeling very, very pregnant these days, 
and I just want so desperately for the big day to come!!!

It appears that I still have not mastered the quality of patience:)  

We are at that place where we have accepted our referral and paid the fees to the ICAB.  
The album of our family that will be shown to Aaron when he learns he has a family is in the hands of our liaison in country.  

I know God's timing is PERFECT!!!  
And at the same time my mamma instinct just wants Aaron to know that he is wanted...he is loved...a family a half a world away has been anxiously awaiting him for months and months and months.  

I want to know his favorite color, his favorite sport, does he laugh with his eyes,
 is his voice smokey...has it changed yet,  where did he get the scar on his nose,
has he accepted Jesus into his heart???

Aaron could learn about us any day now.  
We have been praying for MONTHS for his heart to be prepared, 
and his anxiety to be soothed.  

And, just as HE is moving in Aaron's heart...
my big, strong, mighty God can (and will) calm this mama's frantic heart as I wait!!

There's NOTHING my GOD cannot do!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012


My most sincere apologies!!!!

I dropped the ball...

and didn't keep ya'll updated with the most spectacular news!!!!
(In my defense, I had a house full of people for the week and we were celebrating over here!!)

Monday morning, September 24th, we learned that we were officially matched and that we


In adoption speak that means that we have passed the biggest hurdle, and can now countdown to bringing our son home!!

NOW, we wait for his documents to arrive so we can apply for his visa, then there are a few hoops on the Philippines side....THEN WE TRAVEL!!  

We have been told it usually takes 3 months from receiving the documents to travel.  


Our agency has tried to give us a very realistic timeline and have told us that more than likely we will not be able to travel for Aaron until January because of offices being closed for the holiday, and the ICAB has been taking much time lately to forward the needed documents.

I am thankful that they provide honest, realistic information...

but this mama is going to continue to pray for favor and miracles!!!!  


But, of course our heavenly father knows ALL of this and will do what is best for all involved!!!

So what else has been keeping us busy???

Well, we ran a 5K for Compelled by Love
 to raise money to help free girls and women from human trafficking
(we all finished... but some of us were VERY sore that night and the next day!!
I guess this old lady should try training next time:)

We had a great week with my parents, sister, and niece...

and as always...there was much horsing around!!

Lovin' on barn kitties...

And a certain pampered pooch found a way to stay on grammy's lap most of the week:)

 Last night we were very challenged at a missions banquet 
by guest speaker Dick Brogden, author of the Live Dead Journal!!  
And that would be a whole different post:)

Monday, September 17, 2012

16 years

Where has the time gone!  

It is as if I blinked and my chubby cheeked baby

had her first birthday

comforted a brother

developed a love of art

had her first dance class

rode her first bike

 embarked on her first day of school

her first opportunity to step out for those without a voice

welcomed a sister

developed a heart of praise

a love of books (the Philly Library was closed)

 a love of critters

especially the fluffy kind:)

 a love of music

 a love of sharing Jesus with littles

a love of God's word

a love of sleep:)

a heart broken for what breaks HIS

 a love of riding

a love of adventure

a love of missions

 a love of worship

 Our chubby cheeked baby grew into a lovely young lady

 Although I don't know where the time went...
and I am certainly not old enough to have a 16 year old daughter...
I am so very thankful to our heavenly father for lending her to us and allowing us to watch her grow in the ways of the Lord over the past 16 years!!