Thursday, March 14, 2013

Just in Case...

When I was a child, I misunderstood the tradition and believed that I needed to hide my Easter Basket from the Easter bunny.

Well...just in case the Easter bunny shows up while we're gone, Dayna wanted to have her bases covered.

Easter bunny...if you're out there, you might want to pay attention to these pictures:

Bags and Bags

3 suitcases.

3 carry-ons.

2 backpacks.

1 diaper bag.

And a 5 page packing list.

I think we're ready!

All the Tea in China

When I was packing almost 7 years ago to go to China, I called my mom and asked what kind of tea I should bring. I'm pretty picky about my tea. I knew that it would be an emotional trip, and I could use the comfort of a familiar cup of tea.

My mom told me in no uncertain terms that I was NOT to take tea with me. After all...I was going to China.

It turned out that every day the hotels we stayed brought us brand new bags of tea every day. I couldn't read the writing, but they very definitely bore the Lipton label.

Being the tea snob that I was, I promptly found a tea shop and the "real" stuff. And my mom....well she got several bags of Lipton tea as a souvenir.

Guess what, Mom? The tea's in the bag...3 kinds of loose leaf with an infuser and tea bags. I think I'm set!

And I'll have to find something other than Lipton for you this time!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

God is Alive and Well in Public Schools

Part of Dayna's daily routine at school is the Daily 5. One component of that is "Read to Someone." Today, Dayna's partner brought his Bible to school and asked if he could read it to her. He started "In the beginning...."

After he was done reading, he asked Dayna if he could pray for her trip.

So who, exactly, said God wasn't allowed in public school? Praising God for parents like his and a little heart that's not afraid to share his love of Jesus.

Feeling Very Blessed

The past few days have been quite a whirlwind of emotions. On Friday, Dayna and I spent the afternoon with my dear friend Mary Ann and her daughter (my heart sister) Maralee, along with an assortment of precocious grandchildren. This family has allowed me to be an honorary member of their clan for years, and some of the grandkids even believe that Dayna is their cousin! The afternoon spent sipping tea, sharing our hearts, and watching the kids play felt like a Benediction to our family before we travel and grow.

Over the weekend, I attended my final BSF leaders meeting. The women in the circle prayed over me. Some gave cards and gifts to help our family. It was a tearful goodbye as this season (10 years in the Omaha evening women's class and 6 years in the leaders circle) is coming to a close.)

Yesterday, a dear friend brought her sweet boys (both from China) and helped me get a jump start on packing. Having been there twice, she's an expert on what to take and what to leave behind. (And I dare say, having 2 boys, she was having a bit of fun going through little girl clothes and accessories....wondering if those 2 boys might be destined for a little sister someday...)

And last night, 2 of my friends "stopped by" Chick-Fil-A on their way home to bring us dinner. (Of course, they don't work anywhere near Chick-Fil-A, which is in a different city altogether, and NOT "on the way" to where we live.) So in the midst of packing and sorting and cleaning, I had one less dinner to worry about. We also enjoyed the conversation (and of course, a few cups of tea).

I'm so blessed to have the friends I do, and I don't take any of these kindnesses for granted. Today is shaping up to be a quiet day of laundry, folding and finishing a baby quilt. The calm before the storm!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


It's something I don't often think about. Citizenship is a privilege that comes from being born in the country where I live. I'm an American. I didn't have to do anything special for this to happen. I just am.

But having gone through the Immigration process once for Dayna, and doing it again for Anne, I know that the privilege of citizenship isn't so easy for others. We've sat in a waiting room with people from all over the globe wading through endless documents and waiting for the day they can also call themselves Americans. For those not born here, the right to become an American citizen is worth the blood, sweat and tears it takes to make that happen.

However, as much as I love being an American, I long for something more. I know that God has allowed me to live her for a time, but this isn't what He created me for.

But our citizenship is in heaven...(Philippians 3:20a)

This is a citizenship that no one is born into. No one can work hard enough or study long enough or fill out enough papers to earn citizenship. But it's a citizenship that is freely offered to everyone.

To say it's freely offered does not mean it comes without a price. A dear price that was paid at the cross with the blood of Christ. I know that I will live out my citizenship someday in the land I was created for...a land that was promised.

And in a few weeks, when I stand in the US Consulate building halfway around the world, watching my new daughter become a US Citizen, I will remember our true citizenship is in heaven. And I will thank God for the price that was paid.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Crazy Happy Friday

Yesterday was exhausting, crazy, and completely exciting. We indeed got our Consulate Appointment and were able to book our plane tickets. Only instead of leaving next Saturday afternoon, we'll be leaving EARLY Friday  morning. Less than 7 days from confirmed CA until wheels up. We'll be arriving in China mid-afternoon on Saturday, giving us an extra day with our friends in Beijing. From there, we'll go to Zhengzhou on the 20th and meet our sweet girl on March 21st. (So cool...Dayna's Gotcha Day is on May 21st.) We will be arriving back in Omaha at about 10 pm on Wednesday, April 3.

So today will be filled with shopping, shopping and more shopping...getting things like travel size rolls of toilet paper, gifts for officials and staff. Our packing list is 5 pages long (not including clothes.) I'm drinking up some tea and resting up before today really gets going. Somehow I think I'll need some extra help keeping my energy up this next week.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

On Your Mark, Get Set...


We got the go ahead to travel to China yesterday. It's been a crazy 24 hours. We were originally told we could choose between leaving April 3, April 10, or wait until May. None of those options seemed very good to us. Almost a month until we get to leave!?!

So, a bit tongue in cheek, I responded that my first choice was March, but if I had to choose between the others, I'd take April 3.

I was surprised to get a somewhat quick response that they would see what they could do to give us a March departure.

We were called this morning and told they could fit us into an "atypical" travel schedule, possibly with 2 other families. We won't be eligible for group discounts, and we'll have to stay 2 extra days. But...we can leave on March 16 and return on April 3 or 4.

We weighed the options...if we go early, it's about $500 more. If we go later, it will be about $500 more (because we'll be there during the Trade Show.) Seeing that it's a wash, we opted to go earlier and stay 2 extra days.

So here are where your prayers come in. We can't book tickets until we have a confirmed appointment at the US Consulate. That can take 1-3 days. If it comes tomorrow, we can book our tickets and still have over a week to spare. If not, we're not booking tickets until a few days before travel, and that may likely increase our airfare considerably. So, prayers are appreciated for a confirmed appointment TOMORROW, that we can get everything done in the meantime, and still enjoy each other's company by the time we get on the plane. It's going to be a crazy 8 days.

Descriptive Writing

Dayna recently had an assignment where she was asked to describe someone she hasn't met. With her permission, I offer the following story:

"My Chinese Birth Mom" by Dayna

My Birth mom has dark black hair. She has dark brown eyes. Even though I don't know her I imagen her dressed in a light cotten canddy blue shirt and tan pants and a pony tale.

She knows how to wright and speak and read in chinese. She did what was best for me and I imagen that she is really nice. Some-times when I'm laying in bed I think about her and I someteims I imagen what it would be like (diffrent) if she could ceep me and all that I really know about her is that she really love Me (picture of a large heart) all we have of her is me and a green scrachy sweater and a apron.

The End

I confess, this brought tears to my eyes when her teacher shared this with me. We have tried so hard to always speak of her first mom in an honoring way. It does my heart good to know that Dayna honors her as well.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

She Doesn't Miss a Beat

When you have a seven-year-old with a mind like a steel trap, not much gets by her. On Monday night, Dayna and I were singing hymns together at BSF. By the end of the first measure of the second hymn, Dayna leans in to me and whispers, "Isn't this hymn in a minor key?"

Now...why couldn't I ever get 6th graders to hear the difference?

Well played, Dayna. Well played. I think it's time to start on the modes now.