If you have visited here before, you can probably see that I have changed the name of the blog again. I started blogging at 4URuthie to tell the story of our journey to adopt our 1st daughter. I changed it to Mountains for Maggie when we were praying for God to move mountains on behalf of our 2nd daughter. Well now it is no longer just Ruthie’s or Maggie’s stories. It is now our family's story, and the stories of those we share life with, as we Conquer Mountains together. Both ConqueringMountains.net and 4URuthie.blogspot will lead here.

About Me

My photo
I am a pastor's wife, mother of 4 kids (2 adopted and 3 with special needs), physical therapist, and photography junky. This is where it all comes together for me. Feel free to join along as I process life out loud.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Congratulations Cheri!!!

Now that is the smile of one happy boy! My friend Cheri traveled to China last week to get her son Evan from the same orphanage that Ruthie was in. She has waiting a long time for this boy and it looks like her trip is going well.

I am kicking myself right now because the day they got to China was the same day my grandmother died and I forgot to follow their trip in the midst of all the craziness. I read it all tonight and it looks like they are doing great. You can catch up on their trip and leave Cheri a note HERE. One of her posts has some great pictures of Ruthie's orphanage too.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Really Good Day!

I woke up this morning finally feeling better and so of course I cleaned my house. The best part was that everyone helped me. I think I am almost caught up on my list and will be ready to start Monday out back to normal.

When we were in Texarkana for my grandmother's funeral, we stayed at my Aunt Mary's (GranMary's). I love how relaxed she is with kids running all over her house with popsicles and baseball bats. She just smiles and reminds me that life is short. I could use a little of what she has sometimes to help me chill out and have perspective. The kids had a blast and of course, I scrapbooked it. The other 2 beautiful little girls are my cousins' daughters Libby and Catherine. They are just precious.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Still Around but Out of Whack

2 things throw me out of whack- death and being sick. Well this week we have had both and I am WAY out of whack. My house is a wreck. I haven't done my school work. Jack hasn't done his school work. I have several notes that I want to write after the passing of my grandmother and frankly I can't get the energy to do any of it. I am hoping that next week is a good start over and I can hit rhythm again.

A few things that haven't changed- Jack is still analyzing the world, Sam is still making us laugh, and Ruthie is as cute as ever.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Remembering Great Dot

My grandmother Dorothy Hawkins passed away Thursday night so I have spent the last few days getting ready for her funeral. She lived a long life and survived cancer that left her with complications and a stroke that left her blind. We used to say that she was going to outlive the rest of us because she always seemed to miraculously bounce back. This time she had surgery to place a stint in her leg to increase the blood flow to her foot and it just proved to be too much.

It has been several years since I have lost a loved one and I feel like a am grieving differently. One difference is that Dot's death was not tragic or unexpected so the element of shock is removed, but the other difference is that I think I have a better grip on how our time on earth relates to eternity. I once heard a sermon where someone stretched a piece of rope across the length of a sanctuary and then made a mark in the center of it. She said that the rope represents all of eternity stretching back and forward as far as we can see and that the mark represents our very brief time here on earth. I grieve with hope today because I know that my grandmother was a follower of Jesus and that someday I will spend all of eternity with her which is infinitely longer than my time left here without her.

I am smiling right now as I think of all the things that made me grandmother unique. She spent much of her life in New Orleans and she loved her Cajun food. She also loved slot machines and playing bridge (I am not sure that God is going to let her gamble in heaven). Dot sewed most of my halloween costumes an always came up with the funniest things. She also dressed up every halloween herself and even dressed one year as the grim reaper. We laughed knowing that only Dot would show up at the retirement home as the grim reaper. She was a faithful Catholic and didn't give me too much grief about marrying a Baptist preacher, but did ask if a priest could stand in at our wedding so it would be official. That still makes me laugh to this day.

I will miss Great Dot and am sad that my kids didn't get to spend more time with her, but I am also thankful for the abundance of time that we did have as I have been saying goodbye to her for 15 years it seems. Like I said, she had this incredible ability to bounce back. Well I guess this time she bounced back completely as she walks in wholeness in the presence of Jesus. Farewell Great Dot until we meet again.

A few photos of the lady who gave me my sense of humor.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Better Late Than Never and a B&W Wednesday

We have a Chinese family that has been visiting our church off and on for the last 6 months. When I saw them Sunday, them mom said to me, "Happy New Year". I smiled and thought, "I guess it has been a long time since I have seen them". Well, I got home and pulled up my blog and saw all the "Happy Chinese New Year" posts on everyone else's blogs. OOPS! Totally forgot or better said, totally didn't know.

The good news is that Chinese New Year is celebrated for 15 days so I still have a little time to cook that Chinese dinner. Ruthie was given a beautiful dress by her Nana while we were in China, so I did dress her in that on Monday and took some pictures.

Enjoy and Happy Chinese New Year!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ice Skating P90 Henderson style

The workout program, P90x is a big deal around here right now. Well, I think I have it beat. I took all 3 kids ice skating Saturday night and spent over an hour bent over, in a squat position, and using my upper body to keep little people up on blades. Needless to say, I am a little sore today. It was a lot of fun though and Jack asked if we could go every weekend. I am not sure my body could handle that, but it was a great memory.

I went ahead and scrapbooked the pictures. If you can't see them well, just click on the photo and it should enlarge it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Tale of 2 Valentines

Happy Valentines Day friends!

This morning I was pondering what this holiday has reminded me about my 2 little boys and their personalities. It is the story of the school Valentines. Both boys had valentine parties on Thursday. What they did with those Valentines described their love languages perfectly.

Sam wanted to hold his Valentines all the way home and could not stand that I wouldn't let him open them yet. As soon as we got home, he sat down on the couch and opened each one and told me who it was from. He carried some up to his room and has carried the others around with him everywhere he has gone the last few days. Ruthie accidently tore his Valentines construction paper holder (which he made at school and talked about all week) and he cried.

Jack on the other hand was told to make a valentine holder at home to take to school and it was like pulling teeth trying to get him to do it. He came home with those Valentines Thursday, walked in, and set them down in my room. This morning (Sunday) I reminded him that they were there and so he reached in the box, pulled one out, looked at it, and walked away to do something else.

Those 2 are so night and day. Sam cherishes every card anyone has ever given him. The way to Jack's heart is all through experience. Our friend Malinda Watson took Jack to ride an elevator the other day, and he has asked to see her every day since then. She found the key to his heart and communicated love to him in the way he received it.

Trent is a mixture of both. He loves making memories by going somewhere or doing something unique, but he also loves a good note of affirmation. I don't know who Ruthie is yet. That girl still changes every week. Maybe I will have that one figured out by next valentines day.

Today's Sidenote: A few pics from our week

When Trent and Jack were at the launch, I let Ruthie and Sam have a slumber party in my bed. They were so excited they giggled themselves to sleep.

Just another pic worth sharing of my crazier two

These super cute frames that I have been using over Valentines are from the designer at Just So Scrappy. I have fallen in love with digital scrapbooking, but I am not this good yet.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Using our Elbows. Check it out!

Ruthie has a diagnosis called Arthrogryposis. When we got her in China, she could throw her arms up using her shoulders and momentum, but could not hold them there. She did not use her elbows actively at all and she did not move her wrists. Well, now she can hold her arms over her head for long periods of time and even brush her hair. She can use her hands to do all kinds of things and has even gained motion in her wrists which we were told could not be done AND NOW (drum roll) she is starting to use her elbows actively!!! We work a lot on these things at home and it is so great to see that hard work paying off.

This video is to show off her progress and give me a new baseline to measure from. A quick note on the video- please forgive my messy living room. :) I have 3 kids you know!

I am so proud of my girl! She works really hard and is very determined.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Trent and Jack traveled to Florida this weekend to see our friend Terry Virts pilot the Endeavor into space in his very first mission. The boys had a great time. Please pray for Terry over the next 10 days as he and the rest of the crew attach the last 2 pieces of the space station.

Here are a few pictures from their adventure!

Jack and our friends the Watsons pretending to be astronauts

The launch was at 4:00 am and they had to be there at midnight. I love this picture because it proves that you are never too old to fall asleep on your daddy

Sunday, February 7, 2010

That 4th Corner Piece

Several posts ago, we were talking about what it takes to live a simple life. You guys had some great ideas and helped "frame" the puzzle I was trying to complete. You can see that discussion here.

I told you then that there was one more corner piece left and I was still thinking on how to represent it. The first 3 pieces were all different but yet alike in that they dealt with the condition of our heart. This 4th piece is no different.

When I was growing up, my dad used to tell me a story about a friend of his who lived a very modest life with a normal house and older cars. What people never knew about him was that he had millions in his bank account that he often used to bless others. This man had chosen to live below his means. I believe his choices modeled a right heart relationship with what God had given him.

I believe strongly that those who manage to live a simpler life are not lovers of money. Now before you get nervous and just scroll down to the pictures, you can know that I am not even going to pretend to tell you what you should do with what God has given you. So take a deep breath. It is safe to read on.

Here are the 2 things that I think of often when I think of money:
1. I heard someone say once that if you drive a car with air conditioning, you are in the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the world. I have no idea if that is true, but I think we can look around and count it fair to say that if you have access to this blog you are probably not "poor" by the worlds standards. Your standards may be different, but from my view, we are all pretty blessed.

2. Matt 19:24 says, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

That verse always makes me squirm. I don't think God is saying here that only poor people are going to heaven. What I think He is saying is that money, more than just about anything else, can grab hold of our hearts and distract us from what matters most. So I feel strongly that in order to walk the path that God has called me too, I need to have a right relationship with my finances.

Today's Sidenote

Friday, February 5, 2010

The GIft of Prayer

I got an email from a friend today reminding me that she is praying for Jack and that on Thursday she gathered with some friends to pray for his healing. I was overwhelmed by her demonstration of selflessness and faith on behalf of my child. Her use of her spiritual gift of prayer and intercession reminded me that when God speaks in the Bible about the church, He is not just talking about the people that inhabit a building or are members of your denomination, but about the entire body of believers.

You know what else is amazing about this situation. I have never actually seen this person who is praying for my child, nor have I met her friends who gave of their time to lift him up. She is one of the incredible women that God connected me with through this adoption process and He continues to teach me about His faithfulness through her even after both of our adoptions have been completed.

If you are not familiar with spiritual gifts, you should read 1 Cor 12-13. In those chapters, God teaches us that when we choose to follow Christ we receive the Holy Spirit. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we also receive certain spiritual gifts that are given to us for the purpose of edifying the church. Trent's spiritual gifts are obviously teaching and preaching. Mine is much more administrative. My friend Bec has the gift of encouragement. My friend Kimberly has the gift of teaching. Our giftings are usually identified not just by what you are good at but also by what gives you energy. This sweet friend who emailed me gets energy from praying for others and I am blessed because of it.

There are a lot of spiritual gift inventories online if you want to take one. I don't know which is best but if someone would like to recommend one in the comment section, please do.

Today's Sidenote:
We went to eat dinner a few nights ago at the Rainforest Cafe in Galveston with some Waco friends who were coming through town. Here are a few pictures from that evening.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

B&W Wednesday - A Bit Particular

For this week's black and white Wednesday, I decided to choose a picture that told it's own story about my girl. I colored the important items for you.

To set the stage you need to realize that Sam (4 year old) was the one who got Ruthie out of bed that morning.
Now for the props:
1. See that sweet little hand? Sam managed to get the message from Ruthie that she was not going down stairs until her night splints were removed and so he removed them himself.

2. The beloved bunny had to come to breakfast with her. The bunny replaced Minnie Mouse who replaced Lamby as the favorite and ever present stuffed animal.

3. Notice the bow in her hair? Lately, Ruthie will not eat breakfast until she has a bow in her hair. She just sits there and cries "Boooow" until you put one in. Sam clearly got this message and made sure she had a bow before heading down stairs.

4. Finally, Ruthie used to LOVE bananas. It was one of the first things that she ate for me in China. For some odd reason she has decided this week that she will no longer eat bananas and has even gone as far as to push the rest of her food far enough away that it doesn't touch the dreaded banana.

Lord help us when she becomes a teenager. :)

A Few Prayer Requests/Updates:

1. Jack's Healing- we are still praying for this. I have not updated anything here because nothing has really changed except that he seems to still be progressing. One thing that concerns me right now is that his feet are starting to turn in which is a sign of increasing spasticity. We are so encouraged by the fact that other people are feeling led to pray with us. Please don't stop.

2. For Naomi- She has been waiting for a Visa to return to the states with her family. She was told this morning that she may not be able to move from England to here for 6 months. Please pray for God's provision here.

3. For STS-130- This is the shuttle mission that goes up this Sunday. The pilot, Terry Virts, is a friend of ours and a church member. Please pray for his wife Stacy and their 2 kids. From what I understand, this mission is a little more dangerous than previous ones because they are taking up 2 pieces of the space station and it is heavier than any other mission. Pray for protection, peace, and an amazing experience for Terry.

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