Monday, August 31, 2009

Mysterious Relationship #4

Being a Christian has required me to believe in several mysterious relationships:
1. The Trinity- God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit= 1 in 3 and 3 in 1. Huh?
2. Marriage- The 2 shall become 1. Really?
3. Salvation- in an instant we go from being a child of wrath to a child of God. Wow!

...and then there is #4. I am amazed by #4 each time I look into the eyes of Ruthie and feel this overwhelming love for her.

#4 is the mysterious love that God gives a parent for an adopted child. I remember the exact moment when Ruthie went from being a child that I loved and was willing to take to being forever mine. It wasn't at Gotcha, believe it or not. It was actually months before that. I was sitting in my bed working on Trent's computer and opened my email to find a picture of her holding the pillow we sent with our faces on it. In that moment, God flipped a switch in my heart and I was unable to keep from crying because I knew she was mine.

It is a complete mystery to me how a child who is 100% Chinese can also be 100% mine- not because I have a piece of paper that says it is so but because God by his perfect plan placed her in my heart and I will never be the same. AMAZING!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Totally unrelated- Ruthie loves her new kitchen from Uncle Mark and Aunt Kelley. My decorating conscious sister in law also did a great job making sure it matched her room. Good work Kelley. :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I spent some time pondering this verse last night as I was laying in bed at midnight, in a hotel, listening to the cries of a little girl who had been upset for an hour.

Several years ago Trent and I heard a speaker who taught on this verse and how to prepare our arrows (kids) for the world. He said that "you will know when your quiver is full". I remember thinking then that I didn't have this firm feeling that way. I knew then that I did not want anymore kids immediately, but I didn't "know" that I was done altogether.

Well, I believe I can finally say that my quiver is indeed FULL! No vacancy in the Inn Full! My cup runneth over FULL!

Things have been a little tougher with Ruthie the last few days. She had 5 shots on Wednesday and I keep telling myself that is to blame and it will get better soon. She has just been real fussy, is not sleeping good at all, and has been rather demanding. In addition to the shots, I think we are moving out of the honeymoon phase and into the "what is my place here and how do I get what I want" phase. The challenge for me is to be firm and consistent while being compassionate to all that she has been through and must be feeling. You can pray that God will give me a clear vision for how to best parent this little girl.

Here are a few pics from our short weekend getaway.


My arrows and the chief archer


No, she doesn't have the chicken pox. She was just assaulted by a mosquito at the dinner table. That mosquito is no longer with us and I strangely enjoyed ending its days after I saw what it did to my little girl.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Potty Training and A Few Extras


Before we left for China, we were told our definition of potty trained and the Chinese definition of potty trained are very different. We sure found that to be true.

When they gave us Ruthie, one of the first things they said was that she is potty trained. So I asked, "how does she tell you that she needs to go?". Their response was great- "Oh no, you just put her on the potty every hour." I wanted to respond, "Now which one of you did you say was trained?" but I didn't think that would be appropriate. I have no idea what the potties looked like in the orphanage, but if it was like most of China, they were holes in the ground and toilet paper was rare.

Since returning home, Ruthie has been very fascinated with what she has found in the bathroom. We are not potty trained, but we are getting there.

Busted playing with the paper again

Hey she took away my toy


Watching it swirl


Oh no it stopped. Maybe I can swirl it myself to keep it going.



ANOTHER NOTE:
On a completely different note, my dad thought I was being hard on Jack's private school from last year (in the last post) and that certainly was not my intention, so let me clarify. I was under the misguided notion that I could enroll Jack in a private Christian school and "protect" him from all those other kids out there. This was not our experience though. I am not sure I will ever be able to protect Jack from all the world will show him, but I can do a better job at preparing him for it.

The public school Jack is at now has an exemplary rating, is full of Christian teachers, is walking distance from my house, and has a good friend of mine as the Assistant Principal. I have been able to advocate for Jack's special needs there more in the last 2 weeks than I was able to do in a year at the old school because the state system has such great programs for kids with needs.

Conclusion- Christian schools are outstanding. We are just lucky enough to have an outstanding free public school 5 blocks away.

Now for putting up with me- A Bonus....

Morning hair at the Hendersons

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Well It was Better than Last Year



1st Day of School

Jack started 1st grade today and only cried for a few minutes when I dropped him off. This is much better than last year when he started crying (and hiding from us) hours before we even left for school. I really like his teacher and feel very good about moving him to the public school here. I know it sounds odd for the pastor's wife to be moving her child from private school to public school, but I learned last year that the kids in private school are going to teach my son all the things that I feared he would learn from the public school kids. The only difference was that it was costing me $400 a month for him to learn them. :) Don't get me wrong, the scripture memory was great too, but for $400 a month I should be able to get a dry erase board and marker and teach my children verses each week. Academically, Jack's new elementary is the best and until God calls me to home school (which I am not opposed to), that is probably where he will be.


Miss Ruthie Mei

When I 1st heard about Ruthie's condition, my standard statement was, "So she will never play a musical instrument. That is no reason to spend the rest of your life in an institution". I stand corrected my friends. My little girl loves musical instruments and just might be determined enough to learn to play one.




Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Get To

I have got the Christian industries' next big money maker. You know like WWJD that they can take and turn into t-shirts, bumper stickers, bracelets, and yes even a board game. The new phrase is "I Get To"

Let me explain...

I have been processing this theory that most of the time we as women live in the "I have to" world. You know, "I have to do laundry", "I have to stay home with a sick child", "I have to go to work", etc. I believe all of these statements are reflective of a state of being burdened.

Well let me pick these apart for a minute. What if we looked at these from another perspective and appreciated that the opportunity to wash a husband's shirt mean we have been blessed with a husband or the opportunity to take care of a sick child means that he/she is ours or the opportunity to go to work means we have a job (which in this economy is a big deal). We might just see these not from the perspective of being burdened but from the perspective of being BLESSED.

I have been working at changing my attitude in order to operate my life in the "I Get To" mindset. I can tell you that I have been focusing on this for about 2 months and it is really changing the way I view life, transitions with a new child, and just the world around me.

So we were driving to get ice cream the other night and Ruthie found the volume control for her voice. She wasn't upset, but she was entertaining herself by yelling "Ma Ma" at the top of her lungs over and over. I looked at Trent, who was about to crawl out of his skin, and he said, "We get to". Yes, we get to rejoice in the sounds of this little princess we have waited so long to hear. Thank you Jesus for all the things "I get to" experience because of your perfect plan for my life.


One of the things I get to do is spend most of my days in the land of the Jedi


Friday, August 21, 2009

FUNNY FUNNY GIRL

Every time I took Ruthie's picture today, she would make this face. I wondered if she thought she was smiling



Then it occurred to me that she is copying what she sees me doing when I look through my view finder. Funny funny girl!

PRAY FOR GEORGIA MEI


Please pray for Georgei Mei, the adopted daughter of my friend Shannon. Georgia is having a very serious heart surgery today that will take most of the day. Her blog is:
http://pandalily.com/miller/

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Saw the Orthopedist Today

Let me start by saying that my girl is growing so fast. They weighed her today at Texas Children's and she was 21 lbs. She gained 2 lbs in 3 weeks. That may not seem like a lot but when you consider that it is 10% of her weight, it is quite a bit.

The orthopedic hand specialist said that he felt pretty sure she has Arthrogryposis. He went on to say that she is the most mobile and functional patient with Arthrogryposis he has ever seen. The therapist came in and took video of Ruthie feeding herself so she could show her students what they should look like after therapy. That cracked me up since she has had none. He recommended a series of surgeries that I am not convinced are necessary yet. We will get a 2nd opinion from Shriner's Orthopedic Hospital as soon as they are able to schedule us. The Dr. did not feel like Ruthie would gain any more motion but I have a good friend who has a daughter with the same diagnosis and her daughter has gained motion, so I don't buy that theory yet.

Here are a few recent pictures

Trent shooting of rockets with the neighbor kids



I just couldn't resist the pig tails. Isn't she so cute?



Kissing her bubba. She loves her big brother.


My sweet newly middle child who is trying to find his place in the world



Me and Ruthie with her great grandmother Dot who is 94 years old.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

HOME SWEET HOME- Video

So I have bombarded you with videos through this whole process. Good news- this should be the last one for awhile. This is a short video from our arrival home. We are blessed to be a part of an incredible church family that has welcomed Ruthie as their new little Empress. Enjoy!

video

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Sensing" God


We are home from our Tour de Tejas or week of travels to see friends and family all over the state. It was great and Ruthie did really well.

During one of the 4+ hour drives, I was thinking about how my relationship with Christ changes with my life experiences as I go through periods where I hear and seek Him more and sometimes unfortunately, less. I was rationalizing with God that sometimes I have a hard time grasping Him because I am so sensory driven and I cannot "sense" Him per se. I don't know about how you "sense" those you love, but when I think about my husband, I see his blue eyes or feel his hand in mine. When I think about Sam, I see his wonderful smile or feel his hair in my fingers. When I think about Jack, I can smell him or feel his cheek on the back of my hand. Finally, when I think about Ruthie, I see these adorable little crooked front teeth and hear her say "ma ma". These are all things that make my heart skip a beat. But what do I have like that for God?

I was telling God about this and then it hit me. I know exactly what God smells and looks like. He looks like a crooked toothed little Chinese girl and He smells just like a spring rain. He sounds like thunder and He sounds like a 4 year old saying "I wuv you". Trent says he tastes like a good steak, but that kinda weirded me out because I would prefer not to think about eating God, but you get my point.

So as I was having this conversation with God during my drive in 100 degree sunny Texas, and I kid you not, it started to rain right over my car and guess what- I could smell it like I was sitting in a rocking chair on my front porch watching it come down. It lasted only a few minutes, but is something I will never forget. God gave me a gift that day on the way to Texarkana and I am sure that from now on when I think about God, I will smell rain. I hope you will stop and think about how you "sense" God as you try and connect with Him today.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

ONE MONTH- I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!


We are in Texarkana and Ruthie has been meeting lots of relatives. Today we took her to Bryce's Cafeteria and all the ladies working there were commenting on how cute she is. My husband responded that we have had her for one month today. WOW- that had not occured to me until that moment. I can't believe it has been a month since they handed me that scared screaming baby. I looked over at her when Trent said that and she was sitting in a high chair, grinning ear to ear, eating jello and banana pudding. I think she knows that life is good now.

Our trip to T-town has been great. Except for a little trouble sleeping, Ruthie has done very well. We replaced Trent's car with a newer more family friendly option. You have to pray for me because I have serious car envy right now. He only has to open one door to get all the kids in while I still have to open 3 and occassionaly climb into the back end to get everyone into mine. He has earned this though. His last 2 cars have been my "hand me downs" so the man should be able to drive the nicer car for once. Can you tell that I am trying to convince myself to rejoice with him right now?

Heading to Waco tomorrow with Sam and Ruthie and looking forward to seeing more people at Highland on Sunday!

Monday, August 10, 2009

You Were Right!




When we had been waiting for what felt like forever, you told me that once Ruthie got here, that time would seem like forever ago. Well, she has been here for 2 weeks and it feels like we have had her for months. I hope that offers some speck of encouragement to those of you who are still waiting. What they say is true.

Ruthie is continuing to adjust beautifully. I am amazed at how quickly she has gotten comfortable with her surroundings. I had prepared myself for months of having her connected to my side, but she isn't like that at all. Sunday she followed Sam into his Sunday school class and wanted to stay and play. Tonight she ran through the cul-de-sac with the neighborhood kids like she has known them for years. It is really great to see.

I am headed to Texarkana tomorrow to introduce Ruthie to some of the extended family. From there, we will go to Waco for the weekend to see friends. I am not sure if I will have time to blog while I am gone, but I am sure I will have lots of pictures to post when we return.

Have a great week.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Slow Me Down Lord

My mom (who died when I was 9) had a poem in her bathroom that I used to read when I was little. I haven't thought about that poem for years, but its familiar lines have been running through my head this week.

Like most of you, I recognize that school is about to start and with it comes all of the obligations a new year brings. I have added a new child to those obligations and find myself at this time of year always asking myself what my ministry focus is going to be too. All of this has left me a bit overwhelmed and thus the Lord has pulled the words of this poem out of the cobwebs of my memory and laid it before me.

I pray it brings you encouragement as it has me.


Slow me down, Lord!
Ease the pounding of my heart
By the quieting of my mind.
Steady my harried pace
With a vision of the eternal reach of time.

Give me,
Amidst the confusions of my day,
The calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tensions of my nerves
With the soothing music
Of the singing streams
That live in my memory.

Help me to know
The magical power of sleep,
Teach me the art
Of taking minute vacations
Of slowing down
To look at a flower;
To chat with an old friend
Or make a new one;
To pat a stray dog;
To watch a spider build a web;
To smile at a child;
Or to read a few lines from a good book.

Remind me each day
That the race is not always to the swift;
That there is more to life
Than increasing its speed.

Let me look upward
Into the branches of the towering oak
And know that it grew great and strong
Because it grew slowly and well.

Slow me down, Lord,
And inspire me to send my roots deep
Into the soil of life's enduring values
That I may grow toward the stars
Of my greater destiny.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Changing Everyday!



My quiet shy child is quiet and shy no more. Everyday she blossoms into this new person who seems to be unfolding before my eyes. Yesterday she really started talking more. She can now say "mama", "poo poo", and "bye bye". In addition to that I think "Ah Bwa" really loudly indicates that she wants something in her sights and a long string of Ls like "lalilala" has something to do with needing to go potty.

Yesterday she started the funniest game where she would take her bow out of her hair, walk over to me, throw it at my feet, and then run away laughing. I would then chase her to put her bow back in to start the game all over. In the meantime I was also thinking how I did not wait all this time to have a girl for her to refuse to wear bows. Super glue?

Today she waved for the first time which was really significant because it was a great repeated use of her finger extensors. Since a lot of your finger extensors are also wrist extensors, this was encouraging to see. Finally, she puckered up to kiss me for the first time today. This was so sweet because in the past when I go in to give her a kiss, she turns away from me. Today she looked at me and puckered up (unprompted) as to say "kiss me please". It melted my heart.

Here are some pictures of my shy no more child at her brother's t-ball game Thursday night.






Thursday, August 6, 2009

Just Crazy- God is So Good

I would normally wait a few days after posting a video before I would post again, but I just couldn't wait to share this.

I just happened to turn on the TV in my bedroom this morning to catch the headlines when I saw a 10 second piece on flooding in Chongqing China. Apparently they have had a lot of rain over this last week that is causing the rivers to overflow. Over 100,000 people have been evacuated, 10,000 homes have been toppled, and several people have died. It occurred to me instantly that if we had not gotten our TA when we did (our July 3rd miracle that you can read all about in the June and July section) then we would be in Chongqing RIGHT NOW with all the flooding. I am so overwhelmed by the sovereignty of God and His perfect timing that I can't hold back the tears as I write this.

Here are a few pictures of the flooding that I got from the internet. I recognize one of these locations as somewhere we drove in our bus just a few weeks ago.





Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Wish I Was an OctoMom

No I don't want 8 children. But I would settle for 8 arms. I am finding that I can't be everywhere and get everything my children need when they "need" it. I just don't have enough arms.

Otherwise, things are going really well with Ruthie. We are seeing more of her personality everyday. She smiles at us all the time. I can't believe that we went days without seeing that smile in China. She is also starting to talk more. I often wonder what is baby babble and what is Chinese. Today I downloaded some pictures and she pointed to them and said "Mei Mei". It was very cute to see her recognize herself in the photos.

Here are a few pictures from the other day. I am working on the in China video and hope to have it posted soon.


Big Brother showing her the cul-de-sac


My future Baylor Bear

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Another Tool and Some More Pics

In the last post, I shared a cool parenting tip that I learned this summer. Well, I am not finished yet.

The other major parenting idea that I picked up the this summer was to choose a value for each member of our family to pray over them for the whole year. Trent and I took a week to think and pray about what these would be for everyone and when we came together, we completely agreed on what we chose. We wrote these values on a plate that we have displayed in the center of our kitchen island so we do not forget. This has been a great way for Jack and Sam to participate in praying for the family too. For Trent we are praying for boldness, peace for me, Godly confidence for Jack, security for Sam, and joy for Ruthie. I cannot wait to see how God develops these traits in each of us this year.

Here are a few pictures from our day today. In hindsight, these probably would have turned out better if I had not chosen to take them at 1:00 p.m in Kemah. It was very hot and my kids were mostly not amused. I will plan better next time.