Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Blogs blogs blogs

My love of blogs is no secret to those who know me...  I enjoy learning from others and sharing in their joys and sorrows.  My favorite kind of blogs are those about things I am passionate about such as adoption, special needs, teaching, and marriage.

I hope to post some of my favorite blogs soon and get ready to give this blog a makeover but until then, check out THIS awesome giveaway over at Words of Williams

Sunday, December 11, 2011


*This post was written a few days after I got home which was about a month ago.  A lot of life has happened in a short period of time but I don't want to neglect or leave out stories from my time at Shepherd's Field.  Red will indicate updates since the post was written and more posts will follow. * 

I landed at DFW Saturday evening and it's been a whirlwind since then.  After doing a 180 twist on my sleep and diet, my body was confused to say the least.  Lots of water (my cure for everything) and some melatonin have helped push me in the right direction.

It took me two full weeks to get my body turned around.  

My last day at Shepherd's Field was perfect.  

The morning began with a special ceremony at the school.  All of the children were gathered and Grady was called to the front.  The "Grady-ometer" was there with a pallet and brush and it was announced that the remaining funds had been raised!! The whole class clapped with excitement and the teacher's jaws dropped.  Soon, he will be on a fast train to Nanjing to receive corrective surgery for his severe scoliosis.  PTL!

Update: Grady is in Nanjing! 

inn-mates ;) 
Howard greeted me enthusiastically as always and handed me a gift.  He was so excited for me to open it and said he wanted to thank me for being his teacher and helping him with his English.  I opened the box to find a beautiful frame.  There was some Chinese written on it and then across the bottom it said "Grandma"..... Yes, in English.  I tried so hard to stifle my laughter as he waited with anticipation to see if I liked it.  I assured him it was wonderful and thanked him profusely. Part of me felt I had clearly failed as his teacher yet the other part of me could not get over how "China" this really was.

Lunch: Chao Bing
Grady told me the cook must have known it was my last day since he made my favorite dish.

Instead of English class we had a party in the inn.   We ate brownies, watched Philip sing silly songs, laughed and took pictures. It was perfect and wonderful!

My English class
All the girls living in the inn
Thank you for faithfully lifting me up while I was in China.  Please continue to lift up the children, staff, volunteers, and waiting families of Shepherd's Field.  

"Now that I have seen, 
I am responsible
Fa!th without deeds is dead
Now that I have held you in my own arms, 
I cannot let go 'til you are

I am on a plane across a distant sea
But I carry you in me
And the dust on, the dust on
the dust on my feet

I will tell the world, 
I will tell them where I've been 
I will keep my word
I will tell them Albertine" 
- Brooke Fraser "Albertine" 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gotcha Perry!

"Blessed be the G0d and Father of our L0rd Je$us Chr!st, who has blessed us in Chr!st with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Je$us Chr!st, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Chr!st  as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth."
Ephesians 1:3-10 

(Written on Thursday, Posted on Friday due to computer problems) 

Last night, I couldn't sleep.  I lay in bed with my mind racing a thousand miles per hour with the anticipation of what was to come in the morning.  Perry's family had arrived and would be meeting their son for the first time!

"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" 
Romans 8:15 

Excitement filled the room this morning, as they anxiously waited.  Sara went to get Perry from his house, Tim had his iphone poised to video capture the moment, and Jamie and I were on picture duty.  Months of paperwork, waiting, and pr@ying, had all culminated to this one moment.

First glimpse in person, out the window!

Will, meet your MaMa and BaBa!

It was evident that what I was witnessing, was a miracle.  An earthly picture of a spiritual truth.  Just as He predestined us to be adopted into His family, He knew from the beginning of time that Perry would one day be will Will A.

My eyes were filled with tears of joy as I watched this scene unfold before me.  I tried desperately to hold it together and snap pictures furiously.  It wasn't until I was sitting alone and reading in Ephesians that it hit me.  Overwhelmed with emotion, I began to weep.  Tears of gratefulness, fell hard and fast, at the reality of His love for me, displayed through the beauty of adoption.  

This day will forever be etched in my memory.

First Family Picture!
Congratulations Will and welcome to your forever family! 

You can continue to follow their family's journey HERE!

Praise G0d from whom ALL blessings flow! 

Forever changed, 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Comings & Goings

The past few weeks in English class, we have been reading a book about Helen Keller.  I chose this story because I knew it would be one they could relate to and the vocabulary they would gain would be useful to their lives here at Shepherd's Field.  We finished the book yesterday and Stacey sat there for a minute pondering.  She got out her phone to translate something (something I only let her do if I am at a loss for how to explain/draw/act out something) and said "Strong.  Helen Keller was a strong woman.  She no see, no hear, help many many people." Melt my heart. It was such a blessing to hear that the story inspired and encouraged her.

Shepherd's Field Rummage Sale
Last Friday we held the first ever "Shepherd's Field Rummage Sale".  The ayis (nannies) buzzed with excitement the whole week in anticipation of sorting through the goods and finding a good deal! Tables filled with books, toys, and used clothes lined the front entrance by the gates.  Word had spread through the villages and there were people lined up at the gates.  I was stationed at one end of the clothes table.  It was fun to use the little bit of Chinese I have learned! The morning was spent yelling "Wu Kuai!" meaning "5 RMB" (a little less than $1).  In the end we made $474 (almost 3,000 RMB!) which was a huge blessing and much needed!

Perry turned 3 just last week!
"Gotcha Day" is a term used in the adoption world for the day the family gets their child.  I keep seeming to miss these, as there were some right after I left this summer and right before I came back.  I have been asking Him to pretty please let me witness one before I leave.  With only two and a half weeks until I am back in the States, and no word of travel approval from the waiting families, my hopes began to dwindle.  That is, until yesterday... The cyber world of SFCV is a pretty tight knit community of families, supporters, and volunteers.  Throughout my time, I have become facebook friends with several waiting families who scour through pictures hoping to see their precious waiting one.  A status popped up yesterday from a mom that said "TA! TA!! TA!!! SO close now!!!".  My heart leapt, could it be? It was soon confirmed that Perry's (soon to be Will!) family will be here next Wednesday!!! I am so overwhelmed with gratefulness that He would grant me the opportunity to witness this miracle! You can follow his family's journey HERE !

Meet George! 
Due to hard financial times, SFCV had been unable to accept any new children for some time but that is beginning to change.  A new little boy arrived just this week! He is the fourth new arrival of the year (PTL!). We call him George and he is quite handsome and precious! George is just under a year old and has an ear malformation of his right ear.  He is now living in Zachry House and is adjusting quite well! New friends, like Ethan, are helping him feel right at home!

George & Ethan

For those that have been asking, yes, it is cold here.  Like you can see your breath inside the house kind of cold.  The heat comes on November 15 (3 days after I leave) so until then, we are staying warm with lots of layers and hot water.  The Chinese drink straight hot water as a remedy to most ailments and to help stay warm in the winter.  I began using my water bottle as a hand warmer and can now drink the hot water as well.  I was quite proud of myself for this accomplishment and it really does warm you up!

Time is flying by and I am trying to savor every hug, giggle, and moment here!

Check back next week to hear about my first "Gotcha Day" experience!

Grace & Peace,

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cooking Cake

aka Baking Brownies...

Yesterday was May's last day at SFCV.  She is a university student in Beijing and has to go back to school.  May, on top of helping in the clinic, has been teaching us Chinese each afternoon.  She is so kind and patient with our horrible tone pronunciations and million cultural questions.  One evening a while back, we had baked a batch of brownies (the mix was a very exciting find in Beijing) and offered some to May.  She was SO excited to try them because she had heard that "American cake" was very good (the culture here does not consume a lot of sweets and their cakes are a lot less sweet than ours).  Needless to say, she LOVED the brownies and would frequently talk about them after that night.  We decided that we would make them again as a surprise during our last Chinese lesson with her.

Wendy was hanging out in the Inn so I invited her to help me.  She agreed and wanted to know if "cooking cake" was hard.  I chuckled and explained the difference between cooking and baking and different names for desserts (they call all sweets 'cake' ).  After a quick trip to a vendor across the street for some eggs, we got started in the kitchen.
Adding the mix

"hey, this is fun" 

mmmm... thank you Betty Crocker!

Ready for the oven!

Wendy did all the work, from cracking the eggs to pouring the batter, and in the end decided that "baking brownies" (we learned some English along the way) was really quite easy!

Our baked goods, turned out delicious and May was thrilled with her farewell surprise! (we took a picture with someone's camera which I will post when I get a copy)

Today some visitors arrived from Australia! 3 Teachers are chaperoning 9 high school students on a history trip across China for 10 days.  They are staying the night and I am so excited to talk with them some more.  I have already learned that a "jumper" is a sweatshirt and I am only mildly obsessed with their accents!

Although it's Saturday, today is considered a normal working day in China because of this week being a holiday.  The children are in school and everyone is back to work as if it is a weekday.

Grace & Peace,

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Those Golden Arches

Last Friday the primary class took a field trip to visit the golden arches.

That's right; McDonalds.

      9 kids
     4 wheel chairs
     3 Baker boys
     8 adults
  + 2 vans                        
     1 crazy fun adventure

Upon arrival, we realized that there is a flight of stairs to get in the restaurant.  With no accessible entrance, we ditched unloading the chairs and instead carried them up the stairs and to a table.  The combination of foreigners and kids with disabilities created quite an attraction to the locals.  It was seriously a blast and one of my favorite memories so far!

Elizabeth, Blossom, Me, & LingLing

*Precious moment: Grady paused to bow his head and silently thank Him for his food prior to eating.  Oh my goodness, how these kids daily bless me! (there is a video here)


Cheers and applause erupted from the gleeful faces of the children when the food came out.  All of the boys ate 2 whole meals and everyone got to enjoy a mini ice cream cone for dessert.  Now, I'm not the biggest fan of MickeyD's back home but for some reason it tastes SO much better here! 

The first week in October is a holiday here to celebrate National Day.  All of the local staff is off work (minus the nannies of course) so things have been pretty quiet around here.   

Tuesday marked the half way point of being here which is really bittersweet, 40 days in to this 80 day journey! 

I apologize the updates have been sparse, the internet is slow and unstable.  Check my facebook or the SFCV page for more pictures.  

Grace & Peace, 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Daily Life

Unfortunately, technical difficulties have left me out of contact for the past two weeks but I'm back in business now! 

The seasons are changing here and cool morning meet perfect days as the leaves turn to bright beautiful colors of autumn.

We've had the a/c off for a few weeks and leave our windows open to let the night breeze in.  Minus the stray dogs that make quite a ruckus, it's really quite nice.  

Daily life has fallen into place, as this week marks a month of being here.  A typical day consists of speech therapy with the boys, English class with the oldest children and some of the staff, Chinese survival class, working on grants for SFCV, and lots of hugs with the little ones.  Of course, most days here are anything but typical.  When we wake up and find the water off or when the internet goes out right after you type a long email or blog post, we just laugh and say "Oh China".  

Things of lately: 

Making Jaiozi
from left: Chrissy, me, May
September 12 was the Mid-Autumn Festival (aka Mooncake Festival).  The Moody's invited us over to their house to celebrate and toast the moon.  We learned how to make jaiozi, ate delicious Chinese food, and sat outside toasting the moon (although it was nowhere to be found on this cloudy evening) with our mooncakes.  Dr. Ana asked us if we would like to stay and watch "a silly movie" with her and we readily agreed.  Love Birds (a New Zealand film where Queen is as ABBA is to Mamma Mia) was interesting to say the least and we now affectionately refer to it as "the duck movie".

"The Girls" in Beijing
from left: me, Chrissy, Marissa
Each Sunday we venture in to Beijing to attend BICF, get our Western food fix, and do a little exploring.   Chrissy, Marissa, and myself have been nicknamed "the girls" and we finally got a picture of the three of us! 

In case you were previously unaware of the awesomeness that is Texas A&M and its networking, I have run in to three fellow Aggies since being in China.  
1. The Baker's son-in-law, Taylor 
2. While at a mall in Beijing, I saw a man wearing an A&M hat and got SO excited! After exchanging "Howdy" and class years, I found out he lives in Beijing with his wife and two kids because he works for an oil company there.  
3. There was a physical therapist visiting Shepherd's Field from Beijing and I was told I needed to meet her because she was a fellow Texan.  Not only is she a Texan, she's an Aggie who studied special education! Her husband's job landed her in Beijing, where she has now started her own hippotherapy (physical therapy using horses) program.  

Chrissy and Marissa are both amazed because they had never heard of A&M before me. Moral of the story, I love Texas A&M and am so very proud to be an Aggie! 

More pictures and stories to come soon! If you haven't already, please GO HERE and read Macy's story. Spread the word, tell others, and become a part of Macy's Miracle!