Tuesday, August 28, 2007

No, we've not heard anything new...

and we've not slipped off to China....but wouldn't that have been a great reason for not posting in a while?!?

No news is good news? We pray this is true!

Yes, we've not posted in a while.

I suppose it is because I like to write exciting things...good news. Since we're still waiting for word about where we are in the process of waiting to bring home Emmy Xiang, I have wrongly assumed we haven't had much going on. But we have. We have three precious children here at home who are a blessing to us. We have a wonderful family. We are blessed with an awesome church family and friends. God is good to us if for no other reason than we are allowed one more day together.

So, no there is no new exciting thing to tell. But if you care to read, I'll share some of the simple happenings in our family.

Jim, Ladybug and the Elf have been running - I mean, ruuuunnnnnnning...miles and miles and miles. They keep on running. (My friend always asks, "and no one is chasing them?!?") The girls joined the local Christian school's cross country team this year and are enjoying running with others! Their commitment to training has encouraged even me to begin exercising again. I've never been a jogger, never wanted to be...but I admit that I feel a bit of peer pressure (the good kind *wink*). Of course, the first day I "jogged" (I use that term very loosely, as I barely made it one half mile) I thought my heart and lungs would burst. Three tries later and I can do it without begging myself to keep going. Maybe one day I'll be able to run a mile.

All the Brown kids usually do, but this year only the Elf will play soccer for the rec league. The Pooch decided to just stick to piano this fall. Good idea!

So far school is going well for the girls this year. The usual subjects like math, Latin, grammar, science...they'll study those. But what they are most excited about is our history, literature, writing and co-op activities. We're going medieval. We've sewn capes for costumes and will soon be working on making tunics, caps, shoes, pouches and the like, because as everyone knows, you can't really enjoy the study of a time period if you don't play dress up. The boys in our co-op will also be needing costumes and accessories, so we'll probably help craft some of those as well. The Pooch is building a castle with the boys in the co-op and the older girls will be planning and leading a few hands-on art projects, like illumination and embroidery. Surely we'll learn to prepare food the medieval way, for we hope to have a great Medieval Feast in December. In light of all this the girls are reading delightfully written books about the legendary King Arthur, Joan of Arc, Robin Hood and other medieval poems and stories.

Since we will be literally delving into the world of great adventures, fearless knights and imposing castles, we thought it would be entirely fitting to gather as ladies in our home and discuss fair maidenhood, or rather what it means to be biblically feminine...a maiden of virtue. Jim helped me choose the book Raising Young Maidens of Virtue to guide me in our maiden discussions. We hope to gather weekly, put on a pot of tea and enjoy a time of reading God's Word and this lovely book together.

On the quilting and sewing front....we've gathered many fabric pieces and wishes, I finally started sewing pieces for the quilt. It's still okay to participate if you've not yet done so...hint, hint! The quilt top will be lots of circles (think different sized polka-dots) on a black background. The girls will be making the scrapbook with all of the wishes. I'll post sometime soon to show the progress! Emmy Xiang is gonna love it! The Pooch wanted to help make a doll and some doll clothes for EX, so we started that too (gotta get some black yarn for hair!). And, we made for her a set of matching/concentration fabric, quilted cards to take to China. Hopefully these will give us a fun thing to play to help her learn a few English words. Hmmm...that's gonna be interesting...communicating with her when she knows no English.

Our "other" time lately has been trying to finish little and big projects, enjoy time together and patiently, yet actively wait for God to bring word about our China princess.

Wordy post...yet that's what life's like for us right now. We do stuff. We wait. We enjoy each other. We wait. We trust God's timing. We wait. We pray. And we wait.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

News about Emmy Xiang

I've been away from the computer for what seems like days. This afternoon I finally had a chance to catch up on email. To my surprise, one of the emails was from Pam at our agency with an update on Emmy Xiang.

Emmy Xiang TODAY....

Here's what we know:
Her current health is good and had no colds or fevers.
Height: 87.5cm Weight: 14.5 kg
She is talkative.
She is more extroverted.
She likes to play with all kinds of toys and likes dolls.
She likes "girly" things such as dresses and hair bows.
She likes to look at picture books, but sometimes she likes to tear the books.
She is affectionate to her familiar persons and likes to be held by her familiar persons, specially her foster father.
She is very active and does not want to share with others.
When the foster mother will stop her.

She is docile when being told no.

Foster Family:
There are foster parents and another boy from the orphanage who was older than her. They like that she is active, outgoing and cute.

Her favorite snack is peanut.
Her daily schedule:
7:30 am get up
8:00 am breakfast
12:00 pm lunch
1:00 pm have a nap
5:30 pm dinner
10:00 pm go to sleep

She received packages from her family and knows that she is going to be adopted.

God is so good to us! To know that she is healthy, cared for and growing is amazing. We ask that you join us in thanking God and continuing to intercede for Emmy Xiang.

Please pray that she will remain healthy and that she would find peace, comfort and joy in the new family she has waiting for her on the other side of the earth.

And one more request....please pray also that she would learn English soon, she would find joy in sharing with others and that she would not resist a new and much earlier-than-10 pm bedtime!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Evidences of God's Grace....

Oh, where to begin?!?!

I could begin with the "good news," however I am learning that even what appears to be "not-so-good" is in fact, good for me...in light of the Giver. For me, it's all good. That being said, here's what's been happening on the adoption front:

Admittedly for a while, it seemed nothing was happening. Still no word from China that our dossier and Emmy Xiang's file had been moved to the match room. Still no request for us to download that coveted TP2 and begin the process to order visas to enter China and prepare for travel. Still no word on when our passports would be done. Still no update on our precious child waiting for us in China (does she even know we exists???). Still no work on our quilt to welcome Emmy Xiang.

But we continued to pray and wait. I must say that waiting is hard. God knows that. He's filled His Book with words of encouragement to wait, to trust, to not grow weary, to love and to serve. I've been challenged to do those things...really do those things in my heart, as well as in deed. God has been faithful to provide encouragement in His word, through songs and to provide so many people to encourage me, even if it was just their cheerful, positive always-looking-to-the-sunny- side response to what I interpreted to be not-so-good news. I have prayed again and again that God would give me that"sunny side" attitude, both in my heart and in my outward response, my countenance and my actions. He is doing a major work in me. I struggle, but I am seeing His empowering my responses.

So, you may wonder...has anything changed? Yes. There is much good news...many evidences of His grace for which to praise Him:

1. As I alluded to, I have changed (thanks be to God), and I continue to change. God is meeting me and teaching me in my morning quiet times, through worship, through relationships, through conflict...through living life... so much more about Him and His faithfulness, His kindness, His care and His goodness.

2. We are "purty cert'n" (translation for non-Southern folk: "pretty certain") that we will not be traveling to China to bring home Emmy Xiang in August...or September...or even October. (By the way, this very statement is my largest temptation for struggling with discontent!) Since even today, we've still no word from China, and since the amount of time required between that "word" and when we travel is almost such that to get "there and back again" (to borrow a familiar phrase from a favorite author, Tolkien) by the end of September is fleeting...the likelihood of us traveling then is waning. Most people adopting children from Guangdong province do not travel in October due to a national holiday the first week of October and the Canton Trade Fair, which is held the last two weeks of October in the very city where we will stay for 14-16 days of our adoption trip. So......if families don't get "there and back again" by the end of September, they wait 'til November. That looks like us.

So how is that "good"? Only God knows for sure. But I have seen a few positives even with my own faulty vision:
  • more time to prepare (financially, spiritually, physically - have I mentioned that I am practically an exercise drop-out...need prayer here!)
  • time for more of our school year to be solidified and running smoothly before we travel (we started homeschooling again this week...still not full steam, but started!)
  • it should be cooler in Guangzhou then (I've heard that in the summer in GZ it is hotter and more humid than even Central Florida in the dog days of August, if you can imagine...yuck!)
  • maybe we'll finish the quilt before she comes home????
  • maybe it will even be less expensive (don't know about this one, but I can hope!)
  • more time to wait for those passports before we have to harrass the US Passport folks!
  • I'm sure there are more....but those are the obvious ones!
3. We continue to receive prayers and wishes and fabric from our dear family and friends to make Emmy Xiang's quilt. I can't wait to post and show some of them as we construct. We are so blessed (and EX especially!) to have loved ones who extend care to one that we've not even seen with our own eyes. THAT is an expression of God's goodness.

4. Our agency has requested an update on Emmy Xiang. Please be praying that the orphanage director and those "in the know" would respond with much information about our precious girl!

5. We got an email that the passports are being mailed. I repeat...we got an email that the passports are being mailed. Praise God!

Join me in thanking Our God for His goodness to me, to our family...though I deserve it not. How great is Our God!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Elf's Birthday Party at the Mission

I recently celebrated my 13th birthday for the 3rd time. My family and I took some girls and thier families to Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. We dressed up in period costume, played, and had home-made Red Velvet Cake (thanks to my Aunt (prounouced Ain't) Rufus!

Mission San Luis was a Catholic Spanish mission to the Appalachee Indians during the 1600's. Now it is being restored. The mission has a church, friary, Spanish house and an Appalachee meeting place called the Council House.

Thanks girls for a wonderful birthday! Love you!


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fun with Mammy and Pop

My mom and dad came to visit last weekend...so nice!

True, we had a couple of meals with folks from church, so our "family" time was not as plentiful as any of us would've hoped for. Still, it was a pleasant, relaxing time. We enjoyed an afternoon "window shopping" at the Destin Commons on Saturday and after church on Sunday we went to the pool.

(first attempt at a slide show...)

Thanks, Mama and Daddy! Miss you already...