What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney

Christmas in October

Ho! Ho! Ho! I was so excited to find a package from Ellen in the mail yesterday. She finished her part of "our" Christmas quilts and mailed me my rows. Aren't they lovely?

This is the poinsettia row.
This is the tree row. This is the basket row. I just love the fabrics she chose. Thank you, Ellen! This quilt will be so very special because we did it together. I am working on the last of my rows. My goal is to have Ellen's rows in the mail to her tomorrow!

Here is how I'm making the star blocks. These are paper-pieced, which is a really fun way to make a block.
The pattern is traced onto thin paper and the pieces are sewn together right through the paper, which is then torn away. This makes the points perfect (or nearly so), and keeps everything straight when working with angles. Each star has eight little units. The units are rotary trimmed before completing the block. I was afraid these would be difficult to do. However, they are, in fact, quite fun and easy to do. This is one unit. I need seven more of these for my block.... I really like the three-dimensional effect that these have when they are completed. The difficult part has been tracing all the patterns onto the tracing paper. I couldn't get it to go through the copier without wadding up, so I've done all the tracing by hand, a slow laborious process. I needed 128 patterns for the 16 star blocks. Eegads!

OK, back to work. I'm going to halt this project for a few minutes and create a "happy" for a little friend who broke her finger yesterday. Get well soon, Alyssah.

Holly and Alyssah at the Fall Festival.
Laura Lee

Once Upon a Time


I'm Maggie Rose. I just wuv weddings! Yesterday I went to my first ever wedding. It was vewwy pwetty! I'm going to tell you the story!

My mommy has a sister named Kathleen. She and Uncle Noah had lotsa boys! Here are all their boys. Don't they look smart all dressed up in tuxedos?

One of the boys is James. He fell in love with Kathryn and they decided to get may-weed!

Mommy couldn't take pit-churs during the wedding, but at the end, they KISSED! That was the best part! I sat in Mommy's lap, so I could see everything. Kathryn looked so pwetty in her dress.

After that they took a bunch of pit-churs. Then, we went to a fancy restaurant and ate yummy food. The cakes were so pwetty! Here is the bride's cake.

My mommy says this chocolate cake is the best she ever tasted. That means it was rewwy good because she is an expert on chocolate!

Here is my big bwudder, Bwad, with James. When they were liddle, they played togedder a lot. You know, boy stuff like army and cowboys.

Here are me and Bwad. He took this pit-chur. Bwad likes to goof around a lot! He is so fun. My udder bwudder, Ryan, couldn't come. I missed him.

Here are me and my sisters. Don't we look be-yoo-ti-ful?

Mommy says this is what girls do when they use the powder room. But, I think just Abby does this.

Then it was time for them to leave. Here is Aunt Kathleen hugging her boy good-bye. Why do Mommies cry when their boys get may-weed?

They spent a long time looking for something. Mommy says it was the marriage license and it is rewwy important!

I'm glad they finally found it. Because if they hadn't, they would have to do all this again!

They are driving fast because Mommy says they are going to Florida to see Mickey Mouse! That's not fair because I'm a liddle kid and I haven't gone to Florida to see Mickey Mouse.

When Kathryn threw her bouquet, Deana caught it. This is Deana and Thomas. They are getting married next year! Yippee! Another wedding!!

My favorite part was blowing bubbles! I WUV bubbles!

Oh, here is the quilt mommy made for James and Kathryn. She finished the binding in the car driving over here! Silly Mommy!

We had a long drive home. I was pooped. This is me on the way home. I was dreaming of finding my prince one day and getting may-weed!

Maggie Rose

Five Years Ago Today

It began as a day much like this one. The skies were blue and the air was crisp. It was a lazy day, with nothing in particular on the agenda, other than the usual household tasks. Little did we realize that morning what a turn our lives were about to take.

Around noon, I checked the mail. I noticed a letter from Christian World Adoption, the agency which had helped us more than seven years before to adopt Lacy, our precious baby girl from China. Coming into the house, I quickly opened it. It had been a while since we had correspondence from them. I was always interested to read about news from the adoption community.

Our lives had settled into a nice routine over the past seven years. Brad and Ryan were in high school, Brad a senior, soon to graduate. All four children were happy and healthy. What more could we want?

And yet...

And yet, out of the letter from CWA that day toppled a flyer with the photographs and short biographical sketches of 20 children from China that the agency was trying to place into loving homes. I was unprepared for the emotional reaction I would have to those photographs. All the boys and girls had special needs. Some of the needs were more serious than others, but most were relatively minor. Many of the children were a little older, between two and four years old.

Abby stood over my shoulder that day and we read all the brief descriptions. One of the little girls just had the most longing look in her eyes. We kept coming back to her. Her name was Fu Long Zhu and she was four years old, a tiny little thing with her hair cropped short, just like a boy. A darling little face. And such a soulful expression.

A few lines from her bio grabbed my heart-- She was a bit shy. She loved to sing. She wasn't picky about food. And she was eager for a family to love her.

"We could love her, Mommy! Do you think Daddy would even consider adopting her?"

I just didn't know. It takes a lot of money up front to complete an international adoption. I suppose 'lot' is a relative term. The agency fees, in-country fees, and travel expenses together cost less than a new car, and most people don't think twice about those. But the part I dreaded the most was the paper work, the mounds of documents, signatures, and seals that are required by the two governments. I did it once and I was pretty sure I couldn't do it again. And besides, she was FOUR! She'd be nearly five by the time she came home, speaking fluent Mandarin and not a word of English! And her eyes, what exactly was the problem with her eyes? She had a white spot on one of her corneas. They said she could see, but how well? Would she be nearly blind?

This was big. Too big, I was afraid.

Still, she wouldn't let me go. I did talk to Tom about it that night. And the next day, and the next night. For five days. We talked. We prayed. We thought. We worried. We wondered.

I already knew I was falling in love with her. She needed us. But more than that, I knew I needed her. I was just waiting for Tom to decide if he was willing to do this again.

He was. Late one night, after five agonizing days, he told me, "Call CWA in the morning and tell them we want her." My heart leaped for joy!

The following morning fear gripped my heart. My husband had said yes and now I was frozen with fear. What were we doing? "Oh, God, please tell me what to do!"

What He said to me that day was as clear as any spoken word I've ever heard. He said, "I won't take you anywhere that I won't be right beside you the whole way." Shaking, I picked up the phone and called CWA.

"We want to adopt Fu Long Zhu. Please take her off the list"

I hung up the phone, still shaking. Abby handed me something. It was the calendar that sat by my bed. The scripture verse for that day was from a Bible paraphrase called The Message. We cried as we read it together:
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. Matthew 6:24

Updated photo we received during our nine month wait

What a journey it was. God did help us deal with the hard things as they came. And come they did. SARS came, in all its ugliness, and I almost despaired at times that we might not ever meet our daughter. But God was with us and with her. He was there as her fifth birthday came and went, a day I so badly wanted to spend with her. He helped me deal with my incredible fear of flying, a fear so great that I didn't make the trip to China to adopt Lacy. He was there the night Holly cried in anguish as the caregivers left her with us. Miraculously, He calmed her as I prayed, "Lord, please give this little girl the peace that only you can give."

Holly with us in Guangzhou, still quite timid

The things we thought might be really hard haven't been. Holly can see very well, and her prognosis for good vision all her life is excellent. She adjusted to her new life better than we could have dared to hope. She loves all of us as much as we adore her. And the little girl with the soulful, solemn expression now wears a perpetual grin.

Adopting Holly has been the most challenging and the most rewarding thing I have ever done. (And nineteen months after we came home with Holly, we were back in China, preparing to bring home a baby once again!) God's promises are always true. He hasn't taken us anywhere that He hasn't been right beside us the whole way.

Thank you Lord, for the gift of this delightful child.

Laura Lee

Bella's New Sweater

Don't I look positively glamorous in my lovely pink sweater? I hope this will keep me from shivering all winter long.

Thanks, Janice! You did a beautiful job making my sweater! Here are some doggie hugs and kisses for you.



Modeling is so draining....

Quiet Sunday

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

I hope you're having a restful Sunday.

Laura Lee

Pumpkin Cookies!

October is the perfect month to make these delicious pumpkin cookies. The frosting is what really makes them special. Grandmama used to make these when I was growing up. I think I could have eaten a whole batch all by myself.
Pumpkin Cookies
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
Mix and drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes @ 375 degrees. Cool.

  • 3 Tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
Blend butter, milk, and brown sugar over medium heat until smooth. Remove from stove. Cool and add vanilla and confectioner's sugar.

Try these. I think you'll like them as much as I do!

Laura Lee

Greek for Geeks

High atop Mount Olympus the family gathered for our annual reunion. The view was magnificent.

We were greeted on Saturday morning by "the goddess of waking up."

The Olympic games were zany.

The food was delectable.

The toga party was a riot.

The children and adults competed to design the most sea-worthy vessel which was tested on the beautiful Aegean Sea.

There was even a unexpected visit from the Trojan Horse.

A lovely time was had by and beast alike.