Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Yes, we got our LOA today from China. Woo Hoo.....89 long days of waiting. So, wow. What now? A little more waiting : ( but a big step in the right direction. Praise God.

Yesterday we went to Children's Hospital for Mari's myo-electric hand fitting. Oh my she was something. She tried it on and was able to open and close beautifully. Tears and more tears over this hand. My tears...not hers : ) I'm just so in awe of her in how she is handling all of this. The color matched so well. It looks very real. In five minutes she was able to pick up a roll of masking tape and hand it to me. By the time we left she was opening and closing her hand over and over and it's not even fully assembled. It had wires hanging out. It looked robotic because the outer covering/glove wasn't on it yet. She didn't care though. It's a tool for her life and she immediately used it. She is so smart. It was quite impressive. I'm still blown away by the myo-electric process in general. But seeing my Mari with a hand and watching her use it was a lot for this Momma yesterday.  God is so good. So good to us.

Tomorrow we start our spiritual pilgrimage. Oh how we covet your prayers.  There's a lot going on with our family right now and I'm a bit overwhelmed by it all. I joked earlier with a friend that it feels a lot like a roller coaster ride....exhilarating but at the same time I might have to throw up : )

More to come.....much love, lisa

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I love this time of year. I'm not a winter type of girl. I'm much happier at the beach in the summer. But I LOVE the holidays. I'm always excited when Thanksgiving comes. I've always put up our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. My kiddos always loved it too. Then they got older and didn't even want to help me decorate it : (  Now though...I've got two little sweeties that are all about decorating for Christmas. They are already planning their birthday party for Jesus. Planning the kind of cake we're baking.  What color icing should we make. Decorations....oh, the decorations!!! Izzy suggested that we skip school this week and just make decorations for His birthday party. Ha....good try Bella. 

So this year we went to get our tree on Thanksgiving night and instead of black Friday shopping we decorated the tree. A much better plan than Black Friday...much better. This is the first year in ten years that we are in a different house so that was a little strange for me. You get used to decorating your house a certain way so it's all new this year.  The girls had a blast though. They have such a beautiful way of keeping my focus on what matters. It's nothing like having a 4 and 6 year old reminding me that it is in fact all about Jesus.

Elfie is back..... and so are the squeals of delight every morning when they discover the new place that he returned too. Sweet...sweet.

Of course our tree couldn't be complete without a little bit of China.....

What a great Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for.....

Thank You my Savior for Your birth on this earth

My sweet partner in partner in Christ

Thank You Lord for the first miracle of adoption in our family....Izzy Ting

Thank You for our second miracle of adoption....Mari Jiang

Thank You for our baby boy that will be with us soon

Thank You for my big kids that I miss terribly....miss them decorating the tree with me.....miss their dirty clothes all over their rooms....miss them drinking all of the sweet tea and leaving an empty container in the refrigerator....MISS THEM !

We ended this weekend with a mad game of Battle and Hot Chocolate on the back porch. So thankful for the little things. Battle and Hot Chocolate.
God is so good to us. So Good.

Wow...this was a dose of perspective for me!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Ok, so I’ve been crazy busy lately and haven’t updated…sorry. These little girls are truly filling my life in such a blessed way. What in the world would I be doing without them?  Who knew I had this much room in my heart. I read on someone’s Facebook page the other day a Danish quote “If there’s room in your heart, there’s room in your house”.  That made me laugh out loud….loved it. Mainly because right now I have no idea where we are putting Josiah in our house. It’s been the subject of recent debate.  We don’t have another bedroom but we do have two extra rooms (one is a playroom and one is a formal dining). I doubt seriously that he will go in the playroom. The girls have so much in there I’d be lucky to carve out a section to add some “boy” stuff to the mix. The formal dining on the other hand is mainly wasted space, so that looks like the ticket. Who knows though. To add to the uncertainty Rob has been called back to vocational ministry and we are traveling the road so to speak of seeking God’s will for us. We will actually be “traveling the road” next week on our first pilgrimage to an area of the country that we feel He is calling us. We leave Thursday and will head to Tennessee, then on to North Carolina, South Carolina and then Georgia. Hoping for some clarity and discernment about what He is saying to us. We’ve never done anything like this before so it’s a little scary, but absolutely feels like the next step in this journey.  A career change, physical move and an adoption all at the same time could send me over the edge. I’m ok with change, but this is quite a bit for me. So, as we wait for Josiah (day 85 of our LOA wait…UGH!), we are walking towards our Father and seeking His will for our family. Rob said to me recently that he just wanted to make sure that we are at the crossroads of where God’s will for our lives and our hearts desire intersects. Well I want that very much too and I believe that we are there. I just wish that I had an idea of what that looked like. Chances are Josiah will never live in this house. That ought to be a relief to know that I don’t have to figure out which room he’ll go in right now. I can figure that out in the next house, right?  Not that easy for me. I trust God. I do! It’s just a lot more trusting is required of me this time. More than ever before.  Like there are degrees of trust when it comes to God. Well, either I trust Him or not. So, I’m going with “I trust Him”!! I have no idea what state we’ll live in. No idea what church Rob will work at. No idea when our LOA is coming. No idea how God is going to provide for the rest of this adoption. No idea how I will live for the first time in 41 years away from my family. No idea about anything. It feels very out of control some days. You see how the wheels could come off the track right now! I recognize this journey is about trust. I know that I’m being stretched. I know that on the other side of this journey I will look back and see God’s perfect timing throughout it all. I’ll see His hand at work in all of the details. I’ll see more of His tapestry come into focus. It will be beautiful and I will adore how He majestically brought it all together.

So, I’ve got my nose in scripture, praying like crazy and hanging on for dear life. I’ve gotta say….this is not a bad place to be.  At the crossroads of God’s will and our heart’s desire. No, not a bad place at all.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wild Olive Black Friday Sale....

Wild Olive Tees is having an awesome Black Friday sale AND they have a new tee just in time for Christmas....check it out here

And don't forget our adoption fundraiser has been extended till December 14th. You can Christmas shop and help bring our sweet little guy home. Just shop from the Adoption Fundraiser tab and put in our family code when you check out BRANIFF0820

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

So thankful for these silly girls....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dance, Dance, Dance

They both danced this time.....can you believe it ? Finally. They looked absolutely adorable and they had a great time. What more can a Momma ask for?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Welcome Home Daddy...

I am blessed to hear this and see this at least five days a week. Two little squealing girls excited to see their Daddy come home from work. What I'm wondering is where in the world is Josiah going to fit in those arms : ) 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Real success is found in radical sacrifice. Ultimate satisfaction is found not in making much of ourselves but in making much of God. The purpose of our lives transcends the country and culture in which we live. Meaning is found in community, not individualism; joy is found in generosity, not materialism; and truth is found in Christ, not universalism......

David Platt, Radical

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Least of These

I love this photo....Love it : ) ok, so I know it's not a great photo. It's a little blurry ( I still don't know how to work this camera). They girls look all disheveled. Clothes all mix matched. They were actually a little slap happy from the sugar they just consumed. But I LOVE this photo because of where we were and what we were doing as a family. I snapped this picture below our local food mission. It's elevated because it had flooded severely during Katrina so they elevated it one story when they rebuilt it. There's this little area below the stairs that's a perfect little hiding spot for kiddos, the only thing is it stinks like garbage. I mean really bad and that's where my kids were playing. So, why are they all smiles playing in a stinky garbage smelling below the stairs of a soup kitchen. Well, I guess it could be the sugar..... : )  No...just kidding, they really just loved being there. They didn't want to leave so they were hiding from us. Izzy has been going there for years, but it's still kind of new to Mari. We occasionally serve at the food mission and my kids have been exposed to that and it's awesome, but we don't ever just go there to eat. On this particular day we spent the day at our local street fair and we went to pick out a pumpkin. The weather was absolutely beautiful. Just a great day all around. The food mission is just around the corner from where the street fair was and God whispered to my heart to take the girls there for lunch. I know, that's weird. We're weird though so, it was ok : ) 

I expected the usually barrage of questions like "why don't these people have a home? ", "Why is that man talking to himself?", "Why does that lady have all of her stuff in a shopping buggy?". Izzy is quite inquisitive and it doesn't matter that I've answered those questions a bunch of times already, she always asks. Mari is just as inquisitive but much louder about it. So, I figured I'd spend much of our time there asking them to speak quietly and don't point. You know the usual thing you have to do with a 4 and 6 year old. What I wasn't expecting was my kids totally blending in with everyone (we didn't stick out like a sore thumb which we usually do), hanging out with the other kids, eating what they were served with no complaining (the food is sometimes ummm interesting...let's just say that) and thoroughly enjoying their lunch at the soup kitchen. We got to meet some very sweet people and enjoyed our time there together. So, we decided that we'd make our food mission lunch a regular thing.....donating what we'd normally spend on lunch at a restaurant.

Our local food mission serves 300 meals a day in our town. I started serving there about ten years ago with the company I worked for and when we talked to the church that we were attending at the time about having a team serve there regularly they said to us "we don't have any homeless people in our town".  Huh? What a shock it was for them to learn that we do in fact have a homeless population and we've had a food mission for almost 30 years. Now, if some of the local church doesn't know that we have homeless people in our town than most of the people in our town don't know it either. That lunch reminded me that it's up to Rob and I to make sure that our children know. It's not an easy thing to talk to them about. It's messy and not pretty, but it's the truth. I'm going to make sure that my children know that we have people in our community that don't have a home. They need to know that people are hungry out there. They need to know that we are rich even if we're not rich by the standards of our American culture, we are still in fact rich. I'm going to make sure that they know that as a family we are going to serve the hungry and homeless. We are going to love them. We are going to pray for them.  We are not blessed to just be blessed. We are blessed so that we can bless others. I was so convicted about that as we ate with people that lay their heads on the street at night. Some of them smelled bad. Some of them seemed crazy. Some of them looked pretty rough around the edges. The only thing I could think of though was if Jesus was on this Earth right now He would be right there eating with them at the food mission. That's good enough for me then.....

Matthew 25:40

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Nothing like being at home on a Saturday with nothing to do but enjoy your family. Amen!