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Welcome to my family blog. I have been married to Mike for over half of my life. I love my Savior, Jesus. I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to six terrific, interesting children. My 3 oldest were born to me in my younger years, while my 3 youngest were given to me by God in my older years. I am very blessed. ~Cheri



I've struggled with whether or not to write this post.  I've struggled with when to write this post because I've so many thoughts running through my mind.  Lately, Mike and I have been dealing with a difficult situation that really started almost 2 years ago.  It is a very personal matter that only a couple of people are aware of.  But, the point of my post is to write down what I believe the Lord has shown me through these times.  I am generally a very private person when it comes to my fears and concerns and my faith.  But, I do believe that God spoke to me about certain matters of my heart.

You see, I've been doubting God can ever take care of the "situation" (as I'll call it).  I've replayed various events over the last couple of years in my life.  I've even thought about how the things I did decades ago could have resulted in our current situation.  What if I did not do this?  What if we never moved here?  What if we never had children?  What if we never adopted?  What if we never married?  All these questions and more ran through my mind on a daily basis.  I was/am trying to find a cause for our current situation.  I wanted to blame it on someone or something.

God so lovingly brought to my mind a lady.  She's a lady many of us have heard about or even read about.  We do not know much about this particular lady, but we all do know one thing about her...She...Looked... Back.  The lady was specifically told in Genesis 19:17 "Do not look behind you...."  But, in verse 26 it says, "But his (Lot's) wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt."

Ouch!  When I looked up the word "looked", it meant "look intently at; to regard with pleasure, favor or care".  Was I doing that?  Yes, I was regarding my life of years ago, before the situation, with pleasure!  Oh, I wanted to be out of this situation.  I wanted to go back to the carefree days. But, I was wrong, so wrong.

Then, God showed me a blog post from another adoptive mom and it convicted my heart.  I'm quoting her last paragraph with permission since it applied to my heart also, but she put it so well!  "I was given a beautiful reminder the other day when a visiting pastor spoke on Matthew 11:28-30.  He first recounted to us how Jesus, as a carpenter, would have had the distinct job of fashioning farming implements, including yokes.  He told us how each yoke would be fashioned to be a perfect fit for the oxen that it was designed for.  If used properly this yoke would then make the work easier and the oxen would more effectively accomplish the task that was required of it.  If the oxen chose to fight against the yoke, regardless of its perfect design, it would cause chafing and discomfort.  What a beautiful picture of the perfect design of our own life experiences.  If we would allow them to work in the way they are intended, rather than struggling against them, the Lord can work more effectively in and through us to accomplish his purposes for our lives.  I needed this reminder last week as I struggled with guilt and condemnation at my own shortcomings.  I needed to be reminded that the Lord is not surprised at any of the ugliness that remains deeply rooted in my own character, but rather that He has fashioned this current situation to help bring forth the fruit or Godly character that He desires to see there in its stead.  How I pray that I would learn to fully cooperate with Him, allowing Him to change me into the wife, mother, and friend that He wants me to be."
Wow!  Every time I read that quote, I seem to understand it more fully.  So, I'm trying...very hard...with God's not look back....and allow use and work this situation accomplish His purpose.


Where is Joy?

Have you ever thought you lost your child?  It is a terrible gut-wrenching feeling.  Seth and Jack did that to me about 8 years ago.  They left their bikes by the road at the end of the driveway (we live on just over 3 acres of land).  Then the boys proceeded to go to the back of our property into the neighbor's woods.  Imagine what ran through my mind when I called them in for dinner and got no answer.  Then I found their bikes at the end of the driveway.  I was not sane during those moments of searching.  They finally answered within my 10 minutes of panic.

Joy was nowhere to be found this afternoon.  I was busy previewing a movie in my bedroom (before I let the family watch it), and thought Joy was with Eva and Ivy outside playing.  Earlier she had been in my room.  After Mike and Seth left for soccer, Ivy and Eva came into our room.  No one knew where Joy was.  I was not too worried since Joy never wanders away, but I was curious as to where she was.  I looked in Mike's closet since I remember her going in there.  This is what I found.

 Sound asleep on the cushy stuff behinds Dad's shirts.  The lights were off at the time.  Little stinker.

Just thought I'd add a picture of Eva's lunch for the fun of it.  She did this on her own.


Funny Kids

Well, actually only 2 of them were funny today.  We'll start off with Eva.  I was emptying the dishwasher and she said, "Wow those dishes are REALLY clean.  How does a dishwasher do that?"  Then, I, in my great domesticated knowledge replied to her, "Well, Eve, it mixes the water and soap and washes the dirty dishes."  Then Eva says, "I'd sure like to be a plate and see it all."

I discourage my kids from eating with their fingers, unless it is finger foods.  Joy notoriously uses her fingers.  I think it is because of her sensory issues.  She's always touching and feeling things while she seems to be zoning out.  Tonight, while eating spaghetti, she had a noodle in each hand.  I tell her to put her food down and use her fork.  She then, proceeds to put the two noodles in the corners of each side of her lips, sucks them up rather loudly.  Then with a big grin on her face says, "Can you do that mom?"  It was interesting.

 My 2 Goofballs


Big, Bad Dog

We went from this...

to this... just 5 short weeks.  Moxie went for her first puppy check yesterday.  The first thing the vet said to me upon entering the room, "Look at the size of those joints and feet!".  She will be at least 85 pounds one day.  

Moxie is fun and big trouble.  She makes me laugh and the girls cry.  Joy has not figured out that if you run from Moxie, she will chase you and bite at your feet.  Eva is a little braver and will roll around on the floor with her,

playing sweetly,
until Moxie turns on her puppy power.
Then the tears begin.  Eva was fine, but those little teeth hurt!


Pumpkin Patch

Fall is the time for the pumpkin patch.  We headed to one with a very large corn maze.  Since our friends were visiting, we thought it would be fun for the older children.  Dan and Becky have 5 children, ages 6 to 14.  We took our 4 youngest.  It was a fun warm day.

We were there in 2007, just after bringing Joy home from China.  Of course, Joy and Eva do not remember a thing about it.

Eva and Joy, 2007

2010, same pumpkin patch

There were some fun things for the kids to do besides the corn maze.







Getting Lost...
(I just have to make note that Mike is ex-Navy and helped guide his big ship across the big ocean, and Dan is a Police Sergeant back in Illinois.  It is a good thing we cut through the maze, or else we'd still be in there.) this cornfield

Jumping some more.


Eva and Her Food

Many of you know about Eva's obsession with food.  For those who do not, I'll share a bit with you.  When we met Eva on September 12, 2006, she was a tiny girl.  She weighed about 14 pounds at 12 months.  She had no problems putting away the bottles or the food while we were all in Nanchang.  In fact, I was surprised by Eva's excitement at every meal or bottle feeding.  I was quite pleased that she did not grieve to the point of abstaining from food.  

Eva's favorite place to be...the high chair.

 Once we arrived home, her obsession with food became obvious.  At every bottle feeding, she was obviously quite anxious.  Anytime someone was in the kitchen, she wanted to be there in case there was food.  I had to resort putting her in the high chair while I made meals because she could get hurt crawling around in my narrow, galley-like kitchen.  Eva would then sit in the high chair, rocking back and forth, moaning a certain chant until I placed her food in front of her.  She would stress me out while she was stressing out about her food.  If we were out at a soccer game, she'd delightfully stare at anyone eating food.  She could not take her eyes off that food.  Eva was easily out-eating my other children, by speed and amount.  I had to limit her intake for fear that she'd get sick.  She quickly because known as Pudgy Eva.

Eva has gotten so much better over the last 4 years.  She's less anxious about food, but it is still obvious that food means a lot to her.  She occasionally takes someone's candy without asking.  She giggles when she knows she is getting some ridiculously rich chocolate treat.  While I was in China in February, she helped herself to the pantry while Mike was working here at home.  Apparently, she's better at opening up boxes of crackers than Jack?  Then, while going through some of her school (we attend a co-op once a week), I found some of her papers.  The first or second week of co-op they were studying the letter "M".  Of course, the children made a letter "M" our of marshmallows!  What a delight!  What fun!  How delicious!

Eva's paper is on the left, Joy's on the red, of course.

After about 2 weeks, Eva ate the marshmallows off her paper, glue and all.  I guess all it needed was a little saliva to make them soft again, which is kind of scary in itself.  I quickly looked for her letter "P" paper.  Luckily all the popcorn was still glued on.



My son, Seth

The Heat Miser

There are some similarities, yes?


A First Birthday

I know Ivy is not one, but she had a birthday celebration for the first time in her life.  Imagine being 8 years old and no one ever acknowledging your birthday.  It is so hard to comprehend that in our current society, but that is what Ivy has told us.  But, Sunday, Ivy celebrated her first birthday while celebrating 8 years of life.  Our dear friends from Illinois happen to be in town to share in the joy of Ivy.

Waiting for us to say "Go".

Mike's mom has bought each of the girls one of these cute dolls from Magic Cabin.  The neat thing is that they all came with a different dress so they can tell them apart.

Seth, enjoying his new "Rapunzel Hair".

Notice Moxie's wounded eye?  Our friends' dog got a little annoyed with her puppy-like behavior and let her know it.  Thus the cut below her eye.  Poor baby!

Ivy just fell in love with this doll cake.  She picked Strawberry cake with buttercream icing.  The yellow dress with pink flowers was her choice.

It was a great day.  Ivy was very happy.



Last night, Joy drew her first real picture.  She's always been a scribbler, never writing much  or drawing anything of substance.  But, Ivy had been drawing on the dry-erase board.  Then Joy took over.  And when she brought me this picture,

I was shocked and surprised, yet so proud of her!  She has come a long way!



Eva has been asking me often if she could have a whole apple to herself.  She wanted to eat it without Mom cutting it into pieces.  I don't know why, but I always just wash the apple, then cut it up.  Eva and Ivy would usually share an apple.  Today, I had a small one, so I just washed it off and gave it to her whole.  She was quite tickled by having this beautiful, juicy, red apple all to herself.

I proceeded to make her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with some chips.  I left the kitchen to do some school with Seth.  Later, I went back into the kitchen to clean up the lunch dishes, and this was what I found on Eva's plate:

Apparently, she really enjoyed that apple!  It surely does not look too appetizing at this point.  Too bad I missed out on the devouring.

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