Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Heart is Deeply Touched

My adoption agency friends, the one's who were strategically placed in our life by God to help show us about cleft affected babies, just adopted their little Bella today. Her story is an amazing one that only God could orchestrate. If you want to hear their wonderful Godstory, email me ( and I'll send you the link.

Anyway, after reading their travel journal today my heart so deeply ached at the reminder of how each orphan's life is so drastically changed at adoption. Oh yes, it is good for them to be able to have a forever family and a mom and a dad they can call their own. A life in America is a very rich life where these children will never want for anything. But each little baby/child is removed from the people and places where they have come to know as home. Can you imagine being permanently torn away from your home today...unexpectantly? Then given over to strangers who look, smell, talk, eat, and act differently than anyone or anything that you've ever known? It is heartbreaking to see these little angelic faces so sad from their very core as their old life is stripped away! Not to mention their foster families and/or nannies who have grown to love them as their very own for the first years of their lives...the pain as a parent is just too much to fathom. But it happens everyday, all over the world, thousands of orphans are dealing with this change.

As I write this journal with tears in my eyes and a broken heart, I look over at my sweet, little angel, Sophie, as she plays with her Duplo blocks building a swimming pool with a slide. She's talking to herself, she's content to play with her toys, sometimes changing to her Cinderella playset, or to put on the headphones to listen to Steven Curtis Chapman's "Cinderella" song. She has more than she needs in all sense of the word.

She has had 3 surgeries to repair her cleft lip and palate, she's had countless speech therapy sessions to help her speak clearly, she has a closet full of clothes and cute, little pink shoes, she's been to Disneyland at least 20 times in the last year to visit the princesses, she goes weekly to a mommy and me ballet class, she has a playgroup made up of little Chinese friends who share her story of adoption, she has such a wonderful big brother and sister who adore her a million times over, and she has a mommie and daddy who love her with all their hearts. Yes, it was a difficult journey getting to this place of love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness and comfort but God has her right where she belongs now.

God has had this plan all along, to give her hope and a future. His plan was set in place before the beginning of time. His plan is a masterful plan, well thought out, all to bring Him glory. You see, He loves us so much more than we can ever think or imagine. God is good, all the time. I'm reminded of the song called "How Deep the Father's Love for Us" that I was introduced to when we decided to adopt. It tells of how God loved us so much that her gave his only son to die on the cross for us, but not only for you and me, but for all those millions of orphans all over the world. He wants to bring them to sit on his lap, to be sheltered under His mighty wings. And maybe the best way to do that is to bring them into our homes where we can lavish them God's love, teach them all about Him, and prepare them for a life of giving Him glory.
Adoption is a miracle. It is a miracle that shows God's love and mercy in a daily, tangible way. I know for our family, and countless others, our lives have been forever blessed by taking that step of faith and adopting. I hope that if you are at all considering adoption that you take that next step forward in faith. You won't regret it. Just be ready for an incredible gift that will make your heart sing a new song and change your life forever!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Sister

Sophie (Mei mei),

I Love you my little moon cake,

And I love your crooked smile.

Since you came from across the seas,

You made life better than it's been in a while.

I love your silly giggly laugh,

And I love watching you grow.

Everyword you say makes my heart smile,

It's hard not to let is show.

I love when you dance around the room

And I love the way you pat my back when we are hugging tight,

Your beautiful brown almond shaped eyes

always let me know when everything's all right.

I love how you use chopsticks to eat your rice.

And I love when your soft little hands are in mine.

When you twirl around in your princess dress,

I realize that this love is part of a perfect design.

I love your big kisses

And I love your little voice when you sing

God always knew you were the one for me

with all of the joy and love your bring.

I love you my little moon cake,

You are a slice of Heaven!




Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sophie's Favorites

I was inspired by Laurie's recent blog interviewing her son Aaron, Sophie's China travel mate, to also interview my sweet little princess. It's kinda cute to see how her little mind thinks. Enjoy a little piece of Sophie!


color: purple, green, red, yellow, black, brown and pink

clothes: Cinderella dress

food: ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies

drink: water...and lemonade

dessert: vanilla ice cream

video: The Wiggles

activity: dance class

letter: abcdefg...Z (I guess she like all of them!)

place: Disneyland

Disney character and "best friend": Cinderella
BFF: MeiMei (that's what she calls her sister, Courtney)

ride at Disneyland: horsies, Dumbo, Cinderella castle, It's a small world after all, it's a small...(she just sang the whole song)

toy: puzzles

animal: horsies

books: Mouse a Cookie

Now I'll tell you what I think some of her favorites are according to what I witness everyday...

color: pink

clothes: anything girly girl, especially a yellow "Belle" dress, a white "Cinderella" dress, and any dress with sparkles on it!

food: grapes, watermelon, yogurt

dessert: strawberry ice cream, frozen GoGurts

drink: apple juice

video: Shrek
books: anything book in the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series

computer site: Nick Jr.

computer games: Caillou, Team OomiZoomi, Kai Lan

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's Been a Month!

Boy how this summer has flown! It's been a month since my last post and so much has happened. I wish I could be like my other blogging friends and post daily or weekly, but I've got just so much time in the day. Anyway, here's what's been happening in a nutshell:
I'm starting to homeschool Sophie not because I'm one of those overachieving moms but because she wants to learn! She learns very fast and can already count to 15, recognize numerals 1-5, sing her ABC's, and recognize about 1/2 of the letters and their sounds! And that is just from watching educational videos and playing computer games! I'm amazed at her abilities. Wow!
Josh is back to his senior year in high school and seems to really enjoy it. He has more confidence now that he's been at his new school for 4 months (b/c of the move in the middle of the year). He is taking some tough classes and has really is taking off academically...finally! He is right in the middle of doing his Boy Scout Eagle project for a local nature center. He's building a much needed bench with pergola on an upper hiking trail.
Courts is finishing up her final year of community college. She is doing really well and LOVES her Italian class. She's figured out the perfect time for classes...1-5. This way she she can still sleep in and come home in time for dinner! She has become quite the helpful person around the house and I'm loving having her around.
I'm so excited that I have found a wonderful group of adopted moms from China to meet with weekly. They get together to do a variety of activities from going to the beach to celebrating Chinese Moon Festival and Chinese New Year. We plan on going to Disneyland soon. Now Sophie has some sweet friends to grow up with.
I will be also starting MOPS in September as well as a Beth Moore Bible Study. Finally, life in the OC is getting back to normal. Well, that is until we find a house to buy. We will be moving into our "real" house in less than six months. So my busy life that is finally settling in will be totally uprooted once again. At least we'll just be moving within a 15 mile radius of where we are now. Updates to come!

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Little Buddy is Growing Up!!!

Somehow the last 17 years have flown by in a blur. My little curly head baby boy is now a young man entering his final year of high school. It's amazing to hear how he wants to be an engineer, creating and inventing new ways to do things. He is a wonderful person, both kind, gentle, thoughtful, and sensitive. In many ways he is just like his dad. Heck he can wear his dad's clothes now (those are Frank's pants and shirt he's wearing in the picture)!
As a child, "Doshie" was always playing with balls, trains, cars, and throwing everything in sight. He even threw his grandma's cordless phone into her pool once, hence the reason he owes her his first paycheck to cover all of the damage he's caused. LOL Josh was never a big talker, his sister took over that role early on. No, Josh was a hugger, a kisser, a snuggler. I'll never forget the image of him sitting patiently on the rocking chair, waiting for me to nurse him when I was ready. He nursed until he was 3 years old and was getting the boot from his dad to give it up. In his cutest, littlest, most innocent voice he replied..."just one more time?"
Awwwww, my little boy has finally grown up. He takes out the trash, mows the lawn, washes the pots and pans, keeps his room clean, does his laundry (mostly), does his homework without being told, and even flushes the toilet when he's through. See there is hope for all of you younger moms out there. Haha!
I'm so proud of how you're turning out and growing into a wonderful young man.
Josh, you make a mama proud! Many blessings on your final year of high school! May it be filled with lasting memories. Love, Mom

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Favorite Family Recipes

What puts a smile on my little ones' faces? Food...delicious food! Heck, it even makes my husband happy.

One of my current hobbies is to cook. I try out new recipes every week. We even have one day where I try to feed the family dinner on just $5...and it can be done, people! But mostly, I research on the Internet for something special or try out the zillions of recipes I've cut out of magazines and managed to file away over the years. Is anyone else like me? Or is it just me? Well, anyway, 9 times out of 10 the family LOVES what I cook. I've been inspired by the movie Julie & Julia and now I've decided to share some of my family's favorite recipes here. Won't you share some of yours with me too?

White Chili with Chicken (from Family Fun Magazine)
3 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 t. chili powder
1 1/2 t. cumin
1 t. oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (15 oz.) cans white kidney or navy beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 c. diced cooked chicken
1 c. frozen corn kernals
1 (7 oz.) can diced green chilies
2 c. chicken broth, I just use 2 cans of the low salt variety
1/4 t. salt
2 T. butter, softened
1 1/2 T. flour
3-4 T. half and half, light cream, or milk (optional)
grated cheddar or jack

Warm oil in large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute, stirring often, for 7 mins. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, and garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Stir in beans, chicken, corn, green chilie, broth, and salt. Bring to gentle simmer and allow to simmer partially covered for 10 mins.
In small bowl, blend butter and flour. Add mixture to chili and stir about a minute. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Add milk to thicken. May add more broth to thin. Serve hot, topped with grated cheese, if desired.
I can't wait for my bananas to turn all brown and mushy because then I can make everyone's favorite banana bread!!!

Lowfat Banana Bread
4 very ripe bananas
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
2 T butter, softened
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 egg
2 T. applesauce
chopped walnuts (optional)

Mash bananas in bowl. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Pour into 1 greased loaf pans (may pour into 2 pans for smalled loaves). Bake at 350 degrees in a preheated oven for about 55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle come out clean.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I've come to the realization that each child has their own time schedule to be potty trained, learn new speech sounds, go to sleep at night, finish college, and to develop into their full potential. My kids did everything at different times, different ages, no matter how hard I pushed. Being an experienced mom means that I don't push anymore. I just let each child develop at their own rate and I don't worry about things. Before I was consumed with making sure my kids hit all of the benchmarks at the earliest that they could, or even ahead of their peers. Now I've learned to just let it happen, because I know it will...eventually.

Josh is just about finished earning his Boy Scout Eagle Award...I've pushed and made things happen for the last 5 years. Now he is going to get it done and I'm not pushing. I'm so proud of him because he has come a long way and has learned so much. He's going to be a senior this year. Yikes! My baby boy is growing up!

Courtney is finally getting the hang of college and will finish her AA this year at Fullerton College. Phew! I think she's getting straight A's this summer session. Wow! She is one smart girl, when she puts all her energy into it. I'm so very proud of her as well.

And Sophie's speech expression is coming along, slower than I expected, but it's progressing nevertheless. I've decided that I'll homeschool her and give her speech therapy at home. Hey, I could do what the therapists do, but I can do it everyday, a little bit here and there. I know that at 2.5 year old needs to play, explore, jump around, laugh and pretend. I'll give her "speech" therapy in those contexts instead of sitting at a table, with her precious little hands folded and feet perfectly still. With that said, I feel so free! I feel that my amazing little rosebud will unfold into a beautiful, understandable her own pace! I love that about homeschooling. Afterall, I can teach, I have 25 years experience! I'm going to join a group of moms who are like me and see how this whole thing works. I'm so happy to finally have some structure to my days at home with Sophie. This is an adventure that I've always wanted to do but never had the guts to try.

So I'm starting a new career...Here we go...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


My 3 kids having fun in Toontown, Disneyland USA!
Me, comedian Bob Smiley, Courts and Josh at Spirit West Coast

Frank and Sophie doing "The Wave" at Angels Stadium, Anaheim

Just driving around Disneyland

My little artist donned a pair of Build-A-Bear glasses for this special art project

This weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to take my kids to a Christian music festival called Spirit West Coast in Del Mar. Oh the music was fantastic...Newsboys, Mathew West, Skillet, Kutless, and the like, the testimonies of famous musicians and guest speakers were inspiring, but the real joy came from being there with my 2 year old and my 2 teenagers. They were able to be bold in their faith and beliefs. They saw amazing role models of husbands loving and caring for their families and then praising God with open arms held up high. They witnessed people speaking out for Jesus Christ unashamedly. They were able to sing and get crazy for God in an arena where other Christians of ALL ages were doing the same.
The best part is that we got to do this together and they actually liked being with their old mama, ME! I am so blessed to have such wonderful, loving children, all three of them, and to be able to share a common faith that is not only mine, but theirs as well. There is no greater blessing than to see your children love the Lord with all their heart, minds, soul, and strength (Mark 12:29-31).
Out of all the memories of this weekend, the one that I'll treasure the most is seeing all of us jumping up and down, pounding out the beat with our fists to Skillet's very loud and amazing rock song called "Rebirthing". The words appropriately say..." Rebirthing now. I wanna live my life, I wanna give You everything!" Seeing Courtney and Josh giving it all in praise was one thing, but then I realized that Sophie, who was on top of her sister's shoulders, was also jumping up and down and raising her hands as well, grinning from ear to ear, rocking out to the beat just like her family! Oh, how happy God must be to see thousands of his very own creation lifting their hands, worshipping his awesome power and majesty...with all their heart, minds, soul and strength on that beautiful evening under the starry sky.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

She'll Talk Your Socks Off!

It's been 6 weeks since Sophie's fistula repair and I'm sad to say that there is still a fistula in her palate. Although it is a lot smaller than the last one, nevertheless it means she might need another repair in the future. The surgeon said this happens in only 15% of children and he'll fix it only if her speech is affected. The good part is that he'd bump up the plastic surgery on her lip and do the repair at the same time instead of waiting until she's 5.
With all that said, I can attest that with the last repair 6 weeks ago Sophie has been talking up a storm! It's amazing how all of a sudden verbally she has taken off full speed ahead. Don't get me wrong, I can't understand most of what she says because she's talking so fast and she's not forming the phonemes properly. but, speech therapy should fix that in time. I must admit that it's sooooooo good to hear her sweet, little voice and see her adorable, pink lips and tongue trying to get the words out. She's speaking in phrases and sentences now, as well as still using some signs.
Here's an update on some of Sophie's favorite activities. She enjoys dancing, singing, painting, and drawing. Her absolute favorite toy is her big, pink dollhouse fully loaded with furniture and dolls. She'll play with that house everyday for over 30 minutes, sometimes longer! She's learned to use scissors and will cut everything in sight too.
I'm enjoying my time staying at home with her. She is the light of my life. I'm loving every stage of life with Sophie Rose!"

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I'm On the Move!

You should've seen what happened last Sunday! Here we are all leaving "the" church I picked as our home church and I hear the real story from all of the other family members. One person doesn't like that it's not a Catholic church...oh, that one again. One person says it's too big and the kids aren't friendly and inviting, plus they give away $100 prizes at youth group and that's just not a "good use of money." One person just says there is no one he knows there. Sheesh! I guess I was the only one who was starting to feel more at home there and ready to jump into some bible studies!!! How could we be so far apart on this church shopping thing? Anyway, I ended that "conversation" as why doesn't everyone just find their own small group to belong to, at whatever church you want, and we'll all attend this one on Sundays!

No one believes me but this is what I know about people...if you want to meet people, you have to make the attempt to put yourself out there, to be vulnerable. YOU have to be the one to find a group to join. YOU have to get into a small group in order to get to know people. Most of the time, people won't just come up to you and say, "Let's be friends!" My kids aren't willing to accept the facts about people. I guess it's because for the last 15 years they haven't had to make friends at church. They just grew up with the same kids and knew everyone. In a way that is a good thing, but in a way, it's not the real world.
So with that said, the saga of church shopping continues. But as for me, I'm actively pursuing a small group to join for the summer session, I'm getting involved in a service group, and I'm starting to plant some roots down in this Orange County soil. I'm not waiting around for everyone to make up their minds. I'm on the move!

Friday, April 30, 2010

My Thoughts Exactly!

Starting today, I want to use my blog as a running journal of my life, not just a scrapbook of life with Sophie, although this is a good way for others to see what a special blessing she is for our family. It's just that I need a place log my collected thoughts, not so much for anyone reading it, but to help me figure things out.

I would love to have input from the blogging community on any thoughts presented here. For those of you new to blogging, please feel free to comment by pressing "comment" at the bottom. Create an account or sign in as anonymous but write you name in the body so I know who commented. It's easy and I'd love to read what you have to say!

So here goes...

We've lived here for over two months and it's tough living in a different place where you have no connections to people. After living in T.O. for the last 15 years, it's like traveling at full speed on the highway of relationships then all of a sudden coming to a complete traffic jam...not even creeping along...just dead stopped. I still maintain contact with my old friends, but I'm really ready to get some new ones started. Anyone have any suggestions or experience on making this happen?

One step in the right direction is that we finally found a church that we can call home and I think that will really get things going. I'm hoping that I'll get connected to a bible study, a playgroup, and/or by volunteering to serve others in someway it will provide opportunities to meet new people.

I realize that maybe God's plan for me right now might involve just relying on Him for companionship during this time and that would be OK too, but...I still need to be actively involved in something. That's how He made use my skills for others. It's just getting a little mundane around here. I know, I know, I need to start praying about it. So I guess that's where I'll start and hopefully by my next post I have something positive to post!

Until next time,

Lonely in the Hills


Monday, April 12, 2010

Sophie's Thoughts

My 2 year old thoughts on life...

I want to be just like Mei Mei!

my family is like the paparazzi! i enjoyed shopping in old town temecula... mostly cause i got "can-ee" and my very own water bottle!

It's all about me people! unst! unst! unst!

I love all kinds of animals! too bad the zoo didnt have an "elie"!

Mei Mei and I made brownies for our secret snack! shhh! dont tell mama!

i got a cape! they said i looked like a superhero called wonder woman!

Ayi and i colored these "ehhhs" for Easter!

Nonie gave me an Easter basket! the first thing i did was
bite the ear off the chocolate bunny!

Bubba and i had fun at the park! what is "titanic?"

Mei Mei and Bubba gave me this balloon after my surgery! i bounced right back!
"ahh ooo" Jesus!
(thank you)

Momma still thinks im a burrito!

Don't they know i'm only 32 inches tall?

I got beautiful "reee"!

"addie" is giving me chocolate before breakfast! no way! i love this Easter business!

another one of my skills is taking pictures with mei mei's camera!
i got both their heads in the shot all by myself!

I got a sandwich kiss from the birthday buddies!

happy 20th birthday to mei mei and happy birthday to uncle "yo-yo"!

green frosting on my mouth kept the saint patrick's day leprechuans
from pinching me!

being in the hospital was no fun! i couldnt use my hand! but

i was a happy camper once they put shrek in for me!

i still have a little hole in my mouth from after the surgery, but it shouldnt matter

unless i dont start talking within the year.

thanks for all your prayers everyone. time for me to go watch Elmo!

"ahhh uuuhhh ooooo"

(i love you)