Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Wonderful Christmas Surprise

This Christmas Eve day seemed to be like most others- we celebrated Shelby's 13th birthday, prepared for Christmas lunch since we were hosting this year, and other typical activities for the day before Christmas. However, this Christmas Eve ended up being a day that I will never forget and not just because I became a mom to my first teenager :) I share this story in hopes that you will be encouraged and inspired.

The doorbell rang around 3:30, and I couldn't imagine who it was since grandparents and aunts and uncles had already visited Shelby on her special day. I opened the door to find a friend, her parents, and her sister-n-law along with their husbands and children. I asked if they were carolers, and her mom began to sing but then explained that they did not come as carolers. Feeling very curious at that point, I listened carefully as my friend's sister-n-law began to speak. She explained that each year they forgo giving gifts to each other so that they can bless someone in need. She proceeded to say that after reading our blog and learning of our fundraising efforts to help bring Hudson home, the 3 families decided that they wanted to bless us this Christmas with a monetary gift for "Hudson's Adoption Fund". I was in tears by this point as were all 3 of the women. I was . . . speechless. . shocked. . .amazed. . could this really be happening to me??? I have read where other adoptive families have been blessed in similar ways, but I truly never expected it to happen to our family. Quickly I began to offer my sincere gratitude for their kindness and generosity. What a blessing. . . what a wonderful feeling to be the recipient of such love- the love of Christ displayed through the thoughtfulness of others. I truly felt God's presence at my front door.

David was inside as his brother and family were visiting Shelby for her birthday. We all met inside our foyer and began to open the envelopes. There were 3 beautiful Christmas cards with such encouraging sentiments written inside. The children were doing the math as I was trying to compose myself. . .as the children said the total out loud, I began to cry joyful tears again. How could this be? I honestly do not recall another time in my life where I have received such a wonderful gift in a most unexpected and surprising way. A gift given from the hearts of 3 families who love the Lord and who obviously believe that it is truly better to give than to receive. Praise His name.

As I reflected on this gift and its perfect timing- the day before Christmas, I thought of a baby in a manger. . . another gift that was undeserved, a gift that took many by surprise although it had been prophesied for thousands of years, a gift that could not be repaid. I'm so thankful to call Him my Lord and my Saviour and so thankful that He chose to lay our family on the hearts of these 3 families this Christmas. I am so thankful to have truly seen the love of Christ right here on this earth. . .in fact right at my own front door. Thank you to 3 very special families who touched our lives this Christmas in a most unforgettable way. Thank you for encouraging me when I desperately needed it. . .thank you for loving and giving straight from your hearts. . . thank you for following your hearts as you heard Him call. . .thank you for inspiring me.

Inspired, yes, David and I are inspired to "do" Christmas differently next year. I know what a difference this gift made in my heart, in my life, and in the hearts of my husband and children. We want to ring some one's doorbell next Christmas season and truly touch a life in a most unexpected and unforgettable way. Would you join us in prayerfully considering how God would want you to "do" Christmas next year? There has to be a better way than giving "stuff" to people who really have enough "stuff" and who have enough $$$$ to buy the "stuff" they want in the first place. How about a family pooling their resources together, giving a gift, and showing the love of Christ to someone in need. . . a single mother, a widow, an adoptive family, a family struggling to make ends meet. The needs are plentiful, but I am afraid that the workers are few.

"What good is it my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him '"Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed, " but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." James 2:14-17

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve: 6 kiddos (and a kitty) with much anticipation for Christmas Day
We hope you and your family have had a beautiful Christmas Day rejoicing over the Savior whose birth we celebrate on this special day! Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Remembering Wags

This past Monday, our family lost a cherished member. Our dog, Wags, was hit by a car and killed. Wags came to our family in August of 2005 as a stray pup who had recently had pups herself although we never found them. She was a loving and faithful friend. Wags, named not after the Wiggles dog, but simply because she was always happy and thus always wagging her tail. She was our family's first dog, and she was so good with the children.

Wags' only bad habit was that she loved to roam which is how she came to us in the first place. On Monday morning, we let her and her friend, Lucky, out of their pen to get some exercise while the children were out playing. Before we knew it, they left our yard as they have done countless times before. We live on acreage, but they still loved to cross the surrounding highways running after who knows what. Sadly, Lucky came back home, but dear Wags did not. A friend found her on the road and told us. David picked her up and brought her home for the last time. It was so very sad and still is. We all miss her.

Shelby loved the fact that Wags would ride on the golf cart with her. Our other dog Lucky seldom would, but since Wags died, Shelby has been teaching Lucky to ride too.

In May, the girls dressed Wags in their old clothes. Wags was a good sport!

Lilly and Katie with Wags on a hot summer day in 2008.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Adoption Fundraising

We are trying many different ways to earn money for Hudson's adoption. As many of you know, international adoption is unfortunately very expensive and cost alone is a deterrent for many families. I'm so excited to announce that we now have an on-line store set up just for our family's fundraising efforts. This fundraising venture is through Adoption Bug. Our web site is www.adoptionbug.com/bryant . There you will find 4 t-shirts which we have chosen for our family to sell. These shirts come in children's, youth, and adult sizes. They are not specifically related to adoption, but 3 of the shirts do have scripture verses printed on them. For each shirt we sell through our website, we will receive a commission which will go towards our adoption expenses. Please take a look and help spread the word. Feel free to copy and paste the button in the sidebar to put on your blog. These shirts will make great gifts for birthdays, Valentine's Day and even Christmas- if you hurry!!! We will be selling these shirts for at least the next 6 months so if you don't need one now, save our website under your "favorites" and consider one the next time you need to purchase a gift for someone or to purchase one just for yourself.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas T-shirts for Sale

My good friend Sharon at "Make it Mine Monograms" (MakeItMineMonograms.com) donated these shirts for me to sell at our homeschool co-op today. Unfortunately, the turnout was not so great, and only 1 shirt sold. However, the girls and I had also taken homemade bread and fudge to sell so we did make a good little bit to add to our adoption fund. And a few sweet souls made a couple of donations too! Now, since the Christmas season is here, I thought some of you may want a cute appliqued shirt for your favorite little person! The shirts are $15.00 plus $5 for shipping. Please spread the word if you know of someone who might be interested. Sharon may be able to custom- make a shirt for you if you need a different size. Just leave a comment with your e-mail and I'll get back with you promptly.

"Ho Ho Ho" shirt size 3T

"Elf" shirt size 6-6x

"Candy Cane" shirt size 24 months

"Truck and Tree" shirt size 4T
Thanks for looking and spreading the word! Oh, a quick update on our paperchase. All of our dossier documents are in Washington being authenticated. Well, that is all but that one little piece of paper from US Immigration that we are still waiting on. We were fingerprinted on Monday, and we hope and pray the folks at immigration will get to our file sooner rather than later. After we get that precious approval letter, we should be DTC (dossier to China) in a matter of days. Praying this all comes together by the end of the year. What a wonderful Christmas gift that would be.