Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Grace's wants a little sister . . .

For months now, Grace has been talking about getting a little sister. Here are just a few examples of the cuteness inspired by this desire. 

"I will sleep on the top bunk so she can be safe on the bottom, and if she gets scared, I will hold her hand."

"I think I will save the rest of my cookie for my little sister."

"I will hold her hand so she is safe from cars." 

"I will share my toys and let her have some of them."

The list goes on and on.

I usually would laugh and say, "one day, baby, you will have a little sister, but we don't know when, so for now, it is probably best to finish that cookie." ;)

Well, the wait won't be too much longer . . .  

Because . . .

WE ARE ADOPTING AGAIN!!

God has brought us Grace's little sister, and His fingerprints are so clearly all over the journey that it takes my breath away every time I think about it. 





























Meet Eva (long "E"). Ok ok, I know there isn't a picture in that frame yet, but trust me when I tell you she is adorable! We can't share her picture with you yet but we will the moment we can! 

She is a year younger than Grace and from the Changsha in the Hunan Province of China. Just for fun, see if you can find it as well as Fuzhou (Grace's birth city) and Shanghai (Anthony birth city). 



She has Amniotic Banding Syndrome like Grace and has a club foot, again, just like Grace. Stop and think about the implications. How awesome is it that God found a sister for Grace who has the same deformities! They will have this connection and bond that no one else can ever have with them. I LOVE you, omniscient Father!  

We have received Pre-authorization to adopt her and working on the last pieces of the dossier so we can really get this adoption ball rolling. I'll have to write a post soon about the joys of dossier paperwork to refresh your memories. 

We are sharing this news because we covet your prayers for us through the process. The waiting is difficult (a post on this coming soon on The Sparrow Fund Blog ) so please lift us up in prayer as well as our sweet Eva. 

Blessings to you all! 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Special Giveaway for the Man in Your Life!


In honor of my amazing husband's birthday week, I have a special giveaway! A devotional book made just for men! Adam read it and  provides us with thoughts as well, so this week it is pretty momentous. Not only did Adam have a birthday, but he will be a guest writer on my blog. My husband is an outstanding wordsmith, and I need to get him on here more often. He has made appearances in the past when we were in China and it is high time we get him on here again. So here's a little taste with hopefully more to come! 


___________________________

Man Stuff by Josh Turner

Adam's Review! 

If you are a country music fan, the name Josh Turner probably means a lot more to you than it did to me. All I know of him is what I've seen in his devotional book, Man Stuff: Devotional Thoughts on Faith, Family, and Fatherhood. 

The book is primarily a series of short stories recalled by Josh from different stages of his life, each of which is accompanied by a Bible verse and a fairly direct moral or application. There are some exceptions to this formula; for instance, Josh gives some movie recommendations (prefaced by Philippians 4:8) in one entry. On the whole, though, much of the book consists of examples of how we (as men) are to live our lives according to what the Bible teaches. 


The book is not intended to be a study devotional. It's very much a book that would be best in the hands of a new believer or someone who is struggling with some of the basics of the Christian walk. In other words, it leans heavily on a foundation of Christian beliefs without invoking "The Lord sayeth...." 


This book would be a great gift for the young high school, college, or even pre- or young-married man who might need a bit of help in knowing what it means to be a man of God (as we all did--and still often do!). A familiarity with Josh Turner (or Duck Dynasty--Jase Robertson from that show gives the foreword) would likely get this book's spine cracked as well!



___________________________


*Provides much needed practical advice and spiritual encouragement for men and dads and the unique challenges they face

*Written by country superstar and father of three Josh Turner

*Features personal insights and true stories from a trusted role model

*Perfect gift for men, husbands, and dads of all ages

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Blessings,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Oh Happy Day! Jesus reigns as Lord in our children from China!!

I have very few words to say but Praise God and Hallelujah! The Holy Spirit worked in the lives of my children from China and they have given their lives to Jesus.

___________________________________

"Mommy?" Anthony asked with some trepidation in his voice. "Am I am a Christian?"



"Well, do you know that you are a sinner?"

"Yes."

Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and came back to life?"

"Yes! One night after we talked about what the Bible says and what Jesus did, I prayed in my room to God." 

"YOU DID!! That's amazing, Anthony!! You have the Holy Spirit living inside of you and you will spend forever in Heaven with God!! Why didn't you tell me?" 

. . . .  (What do boys tell their moms about besides the latest cavern they've explored in Minecraft?)

"Did you know that Jesus and the angels are rejoicing that you have been found! You belong to God!!"

"Really? They are rejoicing?!" Big smile on his face. 



As I was sitting at my desk, praising God about Anthony's salvation, a little voice piped up,

"Mommy, am I a Christian?"



My precious little one was listening as well. 

"Well, baby, I will ask you the same questions I asked Anthony. Do you disobey Mommy and Daddy sometimes?"

"Yes." Dejection detected in her voice. 

"Do you believe Jesus died on the cross for you?"

"Yes!! And He rose again and is alive forever and forever!"

"Do you want to spend forever with him?"

"Yes, yes!!!"

"Let's pray!"



So I took Grace on my lap and Anthony snuggled close by my side. I prayed, and Grace repeated the prayer and then asked to pray on her own. Her level of understanding is amazing for an almost five year old. Simple pure faith. 



___________________________________


I am beside myself with joy over this amazing and shared experience.


The Jesus Culture song keeps playing in my head as the angels and I rejoice. 

"Oh happy day, happy day
You washed my sin away
Oh happy day, happy day
I'll never be the same
Forever I am changed."

"Then Jesus told them this parable: 'Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.'" (Luke 15:3-7, NIV)

___________________________________

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"


"For the wages of sin is death, 
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
(Romans 6:23, NIV)


"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: 
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
(Romans 5:8, NIV)


If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” 
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, 
you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9, NIV)


Do you want to spend eternity in heaven with our Lord and Savior? 
Questions? 
Please feel free to contact me! 
surpassinggreatness@gmail.com


Blessings,





Monday, August 25, 2014

Share a Blessing Giveaway - Indulge in the Lost Art of Letter Writing with Your Kids!!!

With summer vacation over (summer temps are still alive and well in Texas) and school back in session, there may be family members and friends we won't see as often as we did over the summer fun months. What better way to let them know you love them and are thinking about them then sending them sweet encouraging cards. That's right, friends, real honest to goodness cards! Not e-cards, texts or Facebook messages!


The art of letter writing seems to have all but disappeared these days. It may not be in vogue these days, but it is an activity I would like to see my kids still take part in. When I saw that Tommy Nelson had published this sweet little book filled with cards and stickers to share with loved ones, I knew exactly what I wanted to share with you for my month of August giveaway.

This precious little book provides 24 cute cards and more than a 1,000 stickers to use to decorate your cards! I had to do a little convincing to get Anthony to take part in the card decorating, not because he didn't want to but because he was concerned that he wouldn't find one that manly enough. LOL, he did.

Share a Blessing

*ages 6-11 (Grace had fun with it and she is almost 5)

*24 postcards that can be sent to friends and family

*Postcards include uplifting Christian messages and notes

*Over 1,000 super-cute stickers

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Blessing and Happy First Day of School to many!!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

60 years



This is a difficult post to write but I want to honor my amazing parents who would be celebrating their 60th anniversary today, August 21, 2014. My wonderful, loving, caring, godly father was taken home by a car accident in 1995 when I was a senior in high school. I will never forget that fateful night but I am thankful for all the information God gave us about my father's testimony in the hours leading up to his journey to his true home. (See my post about remembering my father HERE.)


After having been married now for 14 years and together for 19 to the love of my life, Adam, I now have a better understanding of the loss and pain my mother felt and still feels with the homegoing of her partner, best friend and forever love. Their marriage was and continues to be a testimony and example to me unconditional love and support. 





What is marriage?

~

Love

Never ending

Unconditional 

Unwavering

Immovable 

~



Love

Even when you're sad

Angry

Anxious

Disappointed

~

Love

Through the hard times

Good times

Pain and tears

Joy and laughter 

~

Marriage is hard work and a commitment to love not matter what may come your way. 

I look forward to celebrating 60 years one day with my love, should it be God's will. 


Blessings,


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Adoption and Time . . . it's either too slow or too fast

We are always telling our children it is time to stop growing. They just don't seem to listen. ;)

Each day, each month, each year, passes so quickly that I almost don't know what to do but to keep pressing on. When you missed many years in the lives of your children, you don't want to miss another moment.

Adoption and time. At first it is the waiting, as time seems to drag by. All you can think about is every moment and memory lost with the child you are waiting to bring home. Then, once the child is in your arms, time stops crawling at turtle speed, and instead becomes a high speed race. Now instead of desperation over the wait, you are desperately grasping to every memory and moment as you watch your children grow before your eyes at breakneck speed.

So it is with great sadness that the summer draws to a close for me. This is also why I have been absent from my blog to some degree. I just wanted to make memories and bask in the glory of summer vacation with my children. I'm sure you understand.

Anthony turns 10 in September. I can't believe it. What's a mama to do?! Double digits!

Grace turns 5 in November. WHAT?!! NO!!

Adam and I have decided they aren't allowed to get any older.

Although, as we begin school and move forward with their new ages, I can't help but get excited when I see how excited they are.

How was your summer? Are you ready for school?


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

God's Word for Me Bible Storybook Giveaway - Are you spending time with the Lord?

"I have hidden your word in my heart 
that I might not sin against you." 

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

Let's take a moment and reflect. How are things going in our walk with the Lord? Are we spending time daily with Him and His word? Are we spending time as a family in the word? Are we teaching our children the importance hiding His word in our hearts?

My husband is teaching a series in our Sunday school on the spiritual disciplines. He has challenged us to really work on carving out time daily for quiet personal reflection, meditation, prayer over, or study of specific verses. This was really convicting to me because, as we all know, it is so easy to shift our priorities, specifically time with the Lord, because we are so "busy". We come up with excuse after excuse, but I don't want to make excuses any more. I don't want to be "too busy" for the Lord! I decided it was time to make a change, so I have built into the day specific time for me and the children to take 15 minutes of quiet time with the Lord. That is where this wonderful book I am giving away from Tommy Nelson steps up to the plate. 



I love God's Word for Me Bible Storybook, because instead of rewriting Bible stories with pictures, it actually uses scripture in an accessible translation for kids to read. Anthony looks forward to reading these passages to himself during our quiet time because he loves the fact that he is reading Bible passages, not just a story version of a passage! I highly recommend this book! Sign up below to win a copy for your family!


God's Word for Me Bible Storybook

*ages 4-8

*Bible stories are told in actual Bible text from the International Children's Bible translation

*Prayers, memory verses, and activities help children engage with the story
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