Wednesday, May 27, 2009


On D-Day, my dad was on Omaha Beach. He was a platoon leader. He led his men up the beach, watching some of them die right beside him. He was awarded every medal there is to be had. He was commended for single-handedly holding off enemy troops until backup arrived, at one time. My dad was my hero. He was exceedingly human and flawed. But he remained proud of having served his country. He was severely wounded by shrapnel at one point, and that shoulder wound was a cause of much pain and trouble his entire life. Daddy passed away at the age of 87 (almost 88!) 2 and a half years ago. I miss him very much. And I miss his integrity and grit, his honor and pride in America. I can only hope that we are raising up young people to follow in his footsteps as we go forward into this new and frightening world developing around us. It's scary out there. Thanks, Dad!

Happy belated Memorial Day to you all!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Consider it all joy...

Sometimes things happen that take your breath away. Or at least give you pause to think. Today I got an email from my precious friend Lori. She is having surgery today to remove a lump, one in EACH breast. And of course, the fear is that it is cancer. She has two precious daughters from China, the oldest of which was adopted at the same time as my ShaoXi. Please pray for the whole family. I love them so very much! To top it all off, her husband needs to find a new position within his present company, or he WILL be laid off in a month. Lori was laid off in December from her job of 20 something years. AND over the weekend they were at an event where a little boy things are a bit traumatic in their household. Pray, please.

So, I am sitting here, praying for Lori and family, the phone rings. And it is the radiologist. I myself had a mammogram, last Thursday, and they want me back in for more pictures...and possibly an ultrasound. Note to self, "Take a deep breath, in through the nose, out through the mouth! Breath, now!" How's that for timing, huh? The fact that the very nice lady on the phone seemed to urgently want me to come in THIS week was not exactly reassuring. Prayer needed here, folks. I am a little nervous. Not really frightened, but still. And to take a lighter tone...hey, I could USE a breast reduction! I think I would lose a lot of weight if the worst were to happen! Oh, man. Still nervous. Pray, please!

So...I'll post later. About other things. Right now I have to go practice my deep breathing.


"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have it's perfect result, that you might be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

Sunday, May 24, 2009


it feels like I have NOTHING of interest about which to blog. Sometimes it seems like it is all I can do to just get THROUGH every day, and arrive at the next. And that bothers me. I am thankful that I AM able to see the blessings in each day, as they come. But the overall view of life...not so great. I feel, at times, that I am just slogging through the murky waters of each day, with no real purpose in mind, no real destination, other than to get through it.

I wish I could SEE that this is what is happening, when it happens. But there are no revelations in those days, just the next hill, the next task. But then I come out on the other side, and suddenly there is joy. As a Christian, I am sure that it is ALWAYS supposed to be that way. It is amazing to me how weak we actually are. How MUCH our flesh gets in the way of serving our Lord, of living our lives as He would have us live, of proclaiming His Son to the very lost and dying world. It really IS true...we see through a glass darkly. Oh, how I long for the day that I see Him face to face! Now THAT is JOY!

Anyhow...we are fine. My eye is doing SO well. I am down to one drop in the eye every OTHER day, for another 4 times, then done! And I go back to the eye Dr. the end of August!!! Now THAT'S progress. I really did think I was going to go blind in that eye...and frankly, I think the Dr. thought so, too! THANK YOU LORD!

Friday night Shao went to the end of the year 7th grade social/dance. She had a blast. But we had a LONG talk about how people there "presented" themselves. She said most of the girls wore full-out makeup, had extremely short skirts on, and didn't even look like themselves. Frightening to me. So far, she thinks this is all SO unnecessary, and so immodest. We are reading through and discussing a book together, that is all about modesty, and I think it may be life-changing for her. Not that she is exactly immodest NOW, but sometimes I think that she is doing this because I say it must be so, NOT because of her own convictions. I really do think, if she takes what this book says to heart, that it will change the way she thinks about a lot of things. So far, she really likes the book. I am reading it TO her, and we discuss points as they come up. Very cool!

Saturday (yesterday) I went tag-saling with my niece Jen and the two baby girls. Oh, did we have fun! Those little ones get sweeter and cuter, and more dear every day! They were full out laughing yesterday. At one point I was talking to Hayleigh, and she was laughing hysterically at me, when I turned and looked down at Cadence, who was smiling from ear to ear at me, and when I spoke to her, SHE began to laugh as well. I love those babies, I truly do! I bought some clothes for Shao and a necklace and hairband for her. Jen bought a whole bunch of clothes for the girls...we stumbled on a tag sale of a family with 22 mo. old twin girls! How perfect was THAT?!?! Fun was had by all!

Today we went to church. Man, I love my church. I cannot TELL how wonderful it is to look forward all week to going, to be EXCITED that it is Sunday and we can go to church! Today the Youth Pastor, Ryan, preached again. Man, I love that young man! What a precious heart he has for the world! This was the second part of "Jesus & Culture." Today the message was about how WE as Christians CAN and SHOULD affect the culture and world around us. Very inspiring, thought-provoking, and challenging. Man, I love my church!

Shao is spending the afternoon at a friend's house, and tomorrow she will be marching with the Jr. High Band in the Memorial Day parade here in town. Pretty much all my family is gone away, so no picnics or family stuff for us. But I have some plans. The open house for the "Katherine Hepburn" memorial theatre in Saybrook is tomorrow...she lived nearby, in the Fenwick section of Saybrook, only 20 min. from us. Her will gifted the town with a place/venue for shows, etc. It is finally ready. Thought that might be interesting. Then nearby a local Morgan Horse farm has an open house. They have two new foals (possibly was due this week!), so it should be fun. Plus I want to scope Shao out to see if she might like to volunteer there on the farm. It is one of the premier Morgan farms, working hard to keep the breed alive, and Mary Jane, the owner, is quite up in years, thus many folks volunteer. The volunteer system is just show up, no real schedule, so it might work well for us! :)

That's about it for us. A short work week for us, then the following week is "Production Week" at the ballet school, culminating in the recital at the Schubert in New Haven Friday evening. Then 2.5 more weeks of school and SUMMER! We leave the morning after school gets out for New Hampshire, to see our beloved Donna and Ron/Gramma and Grampa! They are coming up from Florida the first week in June. We are so's been much too long since we saw them last! It's hard to be so far apart!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Long time, no post!

Wow...I haven't posted in six days. For me, that's a long time. Let's see, what's been happenin'? Well, Shao was out sick from school the first two days of last week. Fever on Monday, escalating throughout the day, but then NOTHING on Tuesday, although she still wasn't up to par. Then poor kid had to spend the rest of the week trying to catch up on homework missed, tests, etc. It hardly pays to stay out of school, I guess!

Nothing much going on with me, other than the usual, chauferring kids around, dishes, meals, laundry. That about sums up my life. Ho-hum.

We DID have some awful news on Monday. An old friend of mine contacted me to let me know her dad died on Sunday evening. I knew he had very bad congestive heart failure, and she had told me a month or two before that they were given the news that he would not make it to Christmas. BUT...he committed suicide. So tragic. He was 75 years old. I will miss him, although I haven't seen him in a few years. But still...

Today we went back to our new church. Heard ANOTHER pastor preach (that's three in three weeks!) To be fair, the new head pastor is in the process of moving his family out here from Colorado...which is a fair distance from CT! So I think within a month the move should be complete, and things more normal. Not complaining, because today's message was great, too! :)
I drive past the church several times a day on my different runs, and it always makes me smile to think THAT is MY new church! And with Shao feeling miserable, I was worried that we might not be able to attend today...I mean, REALLY feeling sad that we might not...which is quite a change, and obviously an indication of how very badly we NEEDED to change churches! :)

Nothing new on the horizon for this week, really. Next weekend is Memorial Day, and Shao is marching in the parade on Monday with the band. That should be interesting! :) I don't think she is going to take band next year. It really isn't her forte, although she certainly has improved in her flute playing of late!

After next weekend Shao has one week of regular dance classes, and then it is production week, culminating in her performance at the Schubert Theater in New Haven on Friday night the 5th of June. I THINK she is done with dance until September then, although there may be one more week of classes. Must find this out!

Meanwhile, my Mom, sister Deb, brother Mike, Aunt Carol and her friend Larry are sailing to Alaska for a 2 wk cruise, as we speak! They flew out to BC Canada this morning, to board the ship. Some day, maybe we'll wangle a cruise. I would like to at least TRY it! :)


Monday, May 11, 2009

What a great day!

This year has to rank up there as one of my favorite Mother's Days! Of course, the first one will ALWAYS be special. But this weekend was a blast, and God moved in some wonderful ways. I was so blessed!

First of all, we had Shao's "Big Sister" Bonnie with us. That was a blast, and I am looking forward to lots more of them! When we picked her up on campus, we went to Target. I dropped them off and ran a few errands, then picked them back up. We went home, played some card games, went out to Friendly's for supper, went to my Mom's to play some MORE cards, and then home to hang out and eventually bed.

Sunday morning the girls brought me breakfast in bed (a PERFECT omelette!), and my gift. Shao bought me a really COOL tall square vase, filled with dark chocolate candy, and artificial flowers that look like branches of a cherry tree not quite blossomed out yet...very cool, very Asian looking! :) The girls had cleaned up the kitchen (miracle!), and then they went off on a walk while I took a leisurely shower, and sat in my room reading, drinking tea, and ...yep, eating a few chocolates! When they came home we got dressed for church and went.

Church...what can I say? The youth pastor gave the message, and it was beyond wonderful. And beyond real. And I laughed ALMOST as much as I cried. I was not crying because of anything in his message, but from pure joy that I had DEFINITELY found our new home church. Afterward I went up to him, and asked if first I could give him a hug. He said sure! and then said it was nice to see us back again this Sunday. I sit toward the front (less distraction!), and asked him if had noticed me crying. He looked concerned and said he had...and I told him it was all good, that I was crying because I KNEW that we had come home. He was so excited!

Shao leaned over to me in church and said "I know why you're crying, Mama." I asked her why, and my very wise 12 year old said "Because you know that we have found the right church, and that it is exactly what we have been looking for!" I smiled at her and said "Yep...we're home!"

We had a picnic with family afterwards, then a birthday cake at home for Bonnie, who turns 19 tomorrow. But all that was secondary to church. I am thrilled beyond words.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

As we approach the weekend, I have to smile. My girl told me she needed to go shopping...without me...and could she please have some money? Ah, the plight of single moms everywhere! The only hope is that she gets me something I actually want/need! :) I told her all I really wanted was a good pedicure, the works, done by my favorite pedicurist...HER!

On another front, we are having company this weekend! We are involved with Yale University's CASPY program (Chinese Adopted Sibling Program at Yale). The Asian students (and there are TONS AND TONS of them!!!) on campus run a program one day each semester when the adopted kids are matched up with a Big Brother or Sister. Mostly the relationships are just that day, although if you're lucky, you have the same Big Sib many times, until they graduate.

For the past 4 years, Shao had a Big Brother, Steven Le. We loved him, and he actually came to Shao's recitals, and we attended his graduation at Yale, and spent the day with him and his family. He is back in California now, but we still call him now and again!

This year, Shao has a Big Sister, Bonnie. She is a freshman, so we look forward to a long relationship with her! And get this...she has her last exam Sat. morning, and we are picking her up at 2 in New Haven and she is coming home with us for the weekend! Shao is absolutely over the moon. I think it will be a lot of fun, although I have doubts I will see much of either of them! Bonnie may be dying for adult conversation by the end of the weekend...but Shao IS pretty mature, so I am sure they will have a blast!

She is going to go to church with us on Sunday, and then to a luncheon (picnic if the weather cooperates!) at my sister's, for Mother's Day. Tomorrow Shao wants me to take them somewhere and drop them off, so she can shop for me! Funny girl. I GUESS I will take them to the mall. At least there are options there! I can wander around the stores I like, and they can go off on their own.

On the church front, I found out that ONE of the reasons Shao wants to go back to Christ Chapel is that there is a BOY (oh, that dreaded word!) there from school she apparently "likes". Whatever THAT means at age 12. But believe me, there will be NO hanky panky! :) I have already told her (seriously) that she will likely not be dating, per se, until she graduates from high school. I think that between school and dance, she has enough going on, and those are her priorities. I DID tell her that she could go out with a BUNCH of friends, and certainly some of those could be boys. We'll see how this all evolves. Currently, I trust her implicitly. I have every reason to think that will continue. But I am not blind, stupid, OR naive, and one of the gifts the Holy Spirit has graced me with is discernment. It is a heavy burden at times, actually. But there it is. SOOOO...there will be NO pulling the wool over THIS mama's eyes. That coupled with the fact that she will NEVER go anywhere for any amount of time without ME talking to the parents in charge, wherever she may be going. It is not so much that I might not trust her. On her own, I absolutely do. It's that she tends not to make a strong enough stand when her friends decide on something that is not quite right. She WILL try to speak up, but as yet she does not have the strength of her convictions down pat. Hopefully she will. I do THINK she will. She is a wonderful kid!

Here is a picture of Bonnie and Shao at CASPY in March.

Shao thought it was cool that Bonnie wore glasses, too. Although Miss Shao is HOPING for contacts sooner rather than later! Glasses and ballet performances really DON'T go together! And if she DOESN'T wear them on stage, she really can't see well. I know the feeling...or I should say, I remember it. Since I had cataracts removed, and replacement corrective lenses in, I am glasses free for the first time in 4o something years! It's still an adjustment, and NOW I need them for reading, which I did not before. I'll get used to of these days.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Found a home...I think!

So, today Shao & I attended a local church, called Christ Chapel. It is a Christian Missionary & Alliance church. We liked it...we really liked it! Shao asked if we could go back next Sunday. So we will! This even with her having to sit through the whole sermon, since they do not have a program for her age bracket during the service. Yippee, Jesus! I am hoping this is the one. I desperately NEED a place to call "home", church wise!


Friday, May 1, 2009

In the Fire

When I traveled to China to adopt my precious daughter I had an experience that really spoke to my heart and soul. On the first day in Beijing we did a lot of sightseeing. We saw the Ming Tombs, the Great Wall, and also did some shopping. On the way to the Wall, we stopped at a Cloisonne factory and gift shop.

We were able to walk into different little shacks on the property and watch different steps in the process of making these gorgeous items. I am probably NOT explaining cloisonne well, but basically it is pottery onto which a pattern is created, using copper and some sort of paint...enamel-ish, I believe. The patterns are painted, and then the copper is used to edge them. I may be totally wrong in the sequence here. The ONE thing I do know is that they are fired once they go through all this preparation.

The kiln is HUGE, and holds many pieces. I do NOT know the temperatures, but I CAN tell you that those were the only outbuildings that were remotely warm. Buildings do not have heat in China, lots of times, and certainly poor factory workers are not going to get any! These people sat for hour upon hour, probably 10 hours a day, maybe more. All for the princely sum of probably around $125-175 a WEEK...which was meant to support a family!

Anyhow. I and my fellow travelers wandered about, and a bunch of us landed in the kiln house. There wasn't much to see, so everyone else wandered away. But for some reason I stayed put. Oh, how glad I am that I did! Moments after they all left, the man opened the kiln. Using long wooden implements (much like giant chopsticks!!) he began to remove items from the kiln and set them on the floor. I was disappointed, to say the least. Apparently this had been a batch of very dark items, all one color, nothing much to look at. In fact, they were ugly.

BUT THEN...they began to cool. And slowly the colors emerged. At first they were very dark colors, very muted, and you really couldn't see the copper. But as they continued to cool, beauty! The colors brightened, lightened, and literally shone with beauty. And I found myself speechless and breathless at the change.

How like this is our walks with our Heavenly Father. Often He must allow us to go through the fires of trial, and when we come out on the other side, it appears that we are ruined. AND YET!
As we allow His love to flow through us and over us again, as we allow HIM to comfort us, we become much better examples of HIS beauty. I try to keep this in mind when things get tough!
Beautify me Father, if You MUST. I trust You.