Friday, September 27, 2013


...but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.
Luke 2:19 (NLT)

   As we parent the beautiful gifts that God has given us, we have moments, treasures, that we discover along the way.  I think, like Mary, we need to lock these memories away in our hearts and think about them often.  These treasures are special blessings from God.  The psalmist also knew the imortance of thinking of about the amazing works of God.

I will remember the deeds of The Lord
Yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago.
I will meditate on all Your works
And consider all Your mighty deeds.
Psalm 77:11-12

Sometimes I am looking for, anticipating, finding treasures.  Like when we have planned for a special event or a vacation.  I expect to find treasures at those times.  

However, this week, I unexpectedly mined a gem that I will treasure.  I will draw it out and remember it periodically.  

Davina asked to take Tae Kwan Do lessons.  She said that she had been preparing to take classes in China shortly before we adopted her.  Todd and I agreed for several reasons.  We think the physical exercise will be beneficial.  We want to encourage her to interact with peers (she has been very reluctant to do that).  We want to demonstrate to her that we are going to treat her like we treat her sisters (her sisters each have an extra-curricular activity).  We also have looked for opportunities to show Davina that we will meet her needs (for attachment reasons).  This process has looked very different than with our younger adopted daughter, and in some ways more challenging because as a teenager, Davina wants to do things (and should do some things) on her own, so we look for ways that we can meet her needs.  Allowing her to take this class meets a (sort of) need.

All of these are good reasons.  But the best reason caught me completely off-guard.

During class, parents sit in an adjacent room and watch through a glass, or a few parents may sit in chairs in the classroom.  I asked Davina if I could sit in the room and she agreed.  During class, she repeatedly looked over at me and grinned--especially after she had just completed a move.  She wanted to make sure I was watching,

It struck me.  Davina received good care and had many opportunities in China.  She traveled.  She went to school.  She had lots of friends.

But she didn't have a mom and dad to cheer her on, to pay attention to her, to applaud her successes...

The looks that she gave me during that first class are a memory I will treasure.  I am so grateful to be her mom.  I am thankful that I can be there to watch her and share in her experiences.  I am thankful that God continues to surprise me with unexpected blessings.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

School Daze

Wow!  I can't believe it has been almost a month since I have posted.  The beginning of school has made my days a little more hectic (but in a good way!)

Our daily life is feeling more normal, more predictable (note: I said more normal and more predictable, not completely normal and completely predictable).

My two youngest are enrolled in Classical Conversations (CC) this year.  This is our first foray into CC and we love it!  CC gives a loose structure to our curriculum while still allowing us to express our individuality.  In our case, we use the CC curriculum as the basis of our history and a supplement to Bible, science, and grammar.  In addition, we are using Singapore math this year (for me, choosing a math curriculum is the MOST stressful part of homeschool!  We have tried Saxon, Teaching Textbooks, and now Singapore). We are studying Sea Creatures with Apologia curriculum (love it!), and using Daily Grammar.  We have a Bible curriculum (New testament survey this year).  We also supplement with other teaching activities as needed.

In CC, the girls have to make a presentation each week.  To my surprise, both of the girls enjoy this.  Riza likes to supplement her talk with visual aids.  So far this week, she has used a poster, a diorama, and stick puppets during her speeches.

Riza likes anything with arts and crafts and this year I have done a better job incorporating these into our history studies.  Here is Riza's version of the Bayeux tapestry.  The original tapestry depicts the Battle of Hasting--a significant event in English history.  Her tapestry displays significant events in her life:  my pregnancy, my morning sickness, her birth, her seven birthdays (depicted with birthday cakes), and then her painting this tapestry.  Her life in a nutshell :)

Davina is focusing on math and history through Florida Virtual School.  History has been a struggle, but she is getting the hang of it.  She has two really flexible and helpful teachers, so that has been nice.  We also supplement with English lessons, grammar, and English reading.  She reads aloud from the Bible with her dad almost every night.

Davina's English continues to develop and with it, we are hearing more stories of her daily life in China.  I am really proud of how hard she is working and her attitude toward school and the way she works independently (mostly).

We have discovered that Davina loves wings (the hotter, the better) and sushi (but not with eel!).  She has even made her own sushi.  It was delicious!  :)

Davina is very artistic and she enjoys putting face paint on her sisters...

All in all, it has been a fun month!  I'll try to update again before another whole month is up!

Sometimes (often!), I get worn out...tired.  And in these times, God calls to mind a couple of key verses:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

To me, this verse means that God will give me sufficient grace.  Enough.  Not too much.  Not tomorrow's allotment, but a sufficient amount for today.  And this verse:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.   Lamentations 3:22-23

This is awesome because it will mean a fresh allotment of God's compassion for tomorrow!  I'm amazed at the way God continually renews my strength when I rest in Him.  Too often I try to do things in my own strength, and when I finally come to my senses and rely on God, I am refreshed with new energy.  

I know I say it often, but I mean it, I am so grateful for this journey.  For so many reasons.  I am thankful for laughter, for sweet hugs, for a full heart...but also for the priceless joy that I receive when I rest in God.