slide show

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's the little things

It really is the little things that mean the most, don't you think?  I remember being in China last June and just studying Sunshine ... all of the little bits and pieces of her that I didn't have memorized.  I didn't realize that I had taken this for granted with the 2 older kids ... the fact that I knew every feature of their tiny little bodies almost immediately.  I remember getting both Angel and Lovebug home from the hospital and studying them, trying to find out about the new little beings that I had given life to.

It was different with Sunshine.  Although the studying and discovery process was the same, it came later.  376 days later.  A small amount of time in comparison to some of my friends' adoption stories.  But the time without her meant I had a lot of catching up to do.  There were a host of scars and marks that I didn't know anything about.  I didn't know any of her mannerisms.  All the curves of her face, the way her toes curled up, the shapes of her fingers, her eyes, her ears, her belly button, her birth mark, and her sweet un-repaired cleft lips ... all of these things needed to be studied and memorized.

10 months later, I can say I've had plenty of time to make these discoveries and memorize every teeny little part of her precious body.  I know all of her mannerisms.  I can close my eyes and imagine her waddle around the house with her fingers in her mouth.  I know how her little fingers wrap themselves around her cup.  I know the teeny curves of her belly button and sometimes think about how that part of her body was once attached to her birth mama.  I know how her tiny hands clasp together as we pray before meals.  I know how she pokes herself when I ask her where her eye is.  I watched the scar form on her lip and helped her recover from surgeries.  And I smile just thinking about her joyful little smile and how she can light up a room with it.

Today I am thankful that I get to be Sunshine's mama ... there are still lots of discoveries to be made as this precious beauty blooms into the little person God intended.  And I plan to soak in every single one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

1100 Orphans No More

A slideshow from the C4C Retreat of adoptive families represented by attending mamas. Between all of the mamas, there are about 1100 children from around the world that are no longer orphans. 1100 less! What a testament to God's love for all of us being adopted into His Heavenly family. We are at about 3:35 of the slideshow. Please watch it and don't tell me you aren't touched by all of this love! To God be the glory.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mamas who Jesus loves

Just as John is "the disciple who Jesus loved," so are all of us mamas. And I do mean ALL of us mamas.

Mamas who Jesus loves.
I am Nicole, a mama who Jesus loves.
You are a mama who Jesus loves.
We are all people who Jesus loves.
And I love that.

We all have such difficult, yet tremendously rewarding jobs in raising our precious treasures. And Jesus has blessed all of us to do it and loves all of us as we do it. He loves all of us just as we are, and that is such a beautiful thing. Because He loved us first, we love Him and our blessed children. We know how to love because of His unconditional love for us.

This retreat was so wonderful. I learned a lot about practical advice for parenting in grace, like Jesus does for us. I learned about nurturing my marriage (DH loved that one). I heard miraculous accounts of God stories that brought the entire room of 450 mamas to tears. I shared battle stories ... um I mean sweet thoughts ... about being a mama with other mamas who truly get it. I worshipped and praised our Heavenly Father with many women of very strong faiths. I was in His Word so much this weekend and prayed, prayed, prayed ... so refreshing, restorative and reflective - 3 things I think all mamas could use from time to time.

It's a first for me, but I took more pictures of inanimate objects than I did of people this weekend. It was kind of fun and a nice change of pace. I was surrounded by so much beauty and I wanted to capture all of it! The only thing I really feel I missed was the grounds of this lodge, what a gorgeous location set on Lake Lanier. So peaceful and relaxing. I took a nice walk around with another mama on Saturday afternoon and got to soak it in a bit. And speaking of that mama, here are a few shots of people that I did manage to bring home ...

I love these last two images - we were encouraged to write our prayers on sticky notes during our "Date with God" - when you added your own prayer, you were then supposed to pray for 2 other mamas who had left prayers. I think leaving all of our worries, concerns, praises and prayers at Jesus' cross was super-therapeutic. Not only was it awesome to have our prayers written out in words, we knew that other women would be praying for us also. And seeing all of these prayers clinging to the cross was such a stunning sight ... so symbolic and representative of all Jesus can do.

So can ya tell I enjoyed the retreat? Yes, I totally did. I am a better person because of it ... definitely grew in my faith and as a mama. And it was just nice to get away and fellowship with so many Christian mamas. I am already penciling-in this retreat on my calendar for next year and a few mamas are going to start working on *maybe* getting a Philly C4C retreat off the ground. What a sweet thing that would be to have one up north.

PS - Don't forget to check out my other Created 4 Care retreat post HERE - more beautiful shots of the work that so many are doing through God.

Sunday Snapshot

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Created 4 Care

What an inspiring and uplifting retreat this has been. Being here in Georgia with 450 other adoptive mamas has just been awesome and so restorative! I had a chance to walk around and soak in some of the sights at the tables earlier today ... so many wonderful organizations doing God's work for orphans. I still have many more images to go through and I think there are more to be taken as well! But for now, here's a little taste of the work so many Godly women are doing:

Oh and I finally had the privilege of meeting Stefanie from Ni Hao Y'all - I am one of her bloggers at No Hands But Ours, so it was really great to meet and chat with her in person!

Here are the organizations represented at the retreat ... I know there are a few others here but I cannot remember the names right now:

What a cool list! I'm off to bed and up early for more praise, worship, fellowship, and another main session talk with Beth Templeton. We'll then be packing up, saying goodbye to so many sweet faces, and working on traveling back home.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Taking care of business

No doubt, trying to convince Nana of something ... baby girl loves to talk on the phone, although most of her "talking" happens in the form of signs (so I have to translate by yelling what she's saying to the other person on the phone). She actually cheesed for me when I pulled out the camera yesterday. LOL. Oh, this child is too much!

And yes, I apologize for my baby wearing only a diaper. She had just finished eating breakfast and was covered in food, so the clothes had to go. And then this photo op struck ... I gotta take what I can get. And honestly, I think she's utterly adorable like this :-)

Oh, and I started learning Spanish with a homeschool self-teach book for my Mexico Mission Trip. So far, I can say boy, girl, brother, sister, friend, young man and young woman and I am learning about articles. Next up is plurals. I think I have a long way to go. Oy vey.