Monday, January 30, 2012

SHHHHH...Don't tell anybody!!!!!

OK--I LIED!!! Tell EVERYONE you know--email--twitter--blog!!

The "Fighting 4 Carly" Fundraiser begins in 5 days.  5 DAYS!















I'm still not going to tell the whole amount until Wednesday!  SO CHECK  BACK!

You will be able to start donating on this blog beginning at 12:01 on February 4th until February 8th.

There will be a matching grant for up to $(at least 500--but it's more I promise!)

Now--Your Mission if you choose to accept is to get the word out there.


Carly's surgery is scheduled for Feb. 6th-- Right smack in the middle of this fundraiser.

Think that's a coincidence?  I don't!  God knew that we would be praying for this sweet family during the fundraiser.

Latest updates on Carly are at:

Love you bunches my bloggy friends!


PS.  JUST TO MAKE THIS FUN!!!! Here's a little contest!

If you Help to get the word out about our "FIGHTING 4 Carly!" Fundraiser your name will be put in a drawing for a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card.

Here are the ways to get your name "in the Hat"!

1) Link to our Blog on Facebook  = 1 chance for the $20.00 Amazon Gift Card
2) Email 50 friends telling them about "Fighting 4 Carly Fundraiser" and include a link to our blog = 1 chance for the $20.00 Amazon Gift Card
3) Make a mention and link on your own blog = 1 chance for the $20.00 Amazon Gift Card
4) Twitter a link to this blog to your twitter account = 1 chance for the $20.00 Amazon Gift Card

Then leave a comment and tell me how you Helped get the Word Out! 
 If you can't get a comment to work then e-mail me at
AND YES--You can get a chance for each way that you get the word out!  SO that's up to 4 chances!

Really in the end it's about helping Carly fight 4 a win against cancer!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fighting 4 Carly!!!

It took us a little longer to get this together than we wanted--but it finally has come together!  YAY!

We are going to have a fundraiser to help out Carly's family with their expenses.  Remember this is their 4th time to fight cancer. 

Can You IMAGINE??  I know we can't!  We can't even imagine it once, and certainly not 4 times.

SO here's what we are going to do.  Between February 4th and February 8th we will have a ChipIn button on our blog.  During those 4 days we want you to please donate to the fundraiser.

The really cool part is that we have secured a matching grant for up to $ (The amount will be announced on February 1st)

Yep, You got it for every dollar donated up to our "magic number" (announced on February 1st)  will be DOUBLED!!

YES--DOUBLED!!! (Thanks to the people who have already agreed to be matching donors--you ROCK!!
(If you would like to be a matching donor--I need to know by January 31, 2012 --email me at

So here is what we need you to do . . .

1)  PRAY for Carly and her family!  They need to feel our support and love.

2) Get the WORD OUT!  If you blog, facebook, twitter or email please put out the word and send people to our blog between February 4th and 8th.

3) DONATE!!!   No amount is too little to count!  Just think . . .  if  1000 people give $5.00 that becomes $5,000.00.   Can you sacrifice one trip to a restaurant and donate that money?  Please don't pass up this opportunity to help. 

100% of everything donated will go straight to help their family!  There will not be a prize or gift, nope this is a straight from your heart gift. (Note: I'm not against those--just didn't feel like that was the way to go on this fundraiser)

So  that's the plan--please get the WORD OUT!! 

Here's a video of Carly dancing this past September (before this recent relapse)--get a kleenex.  You will need it!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


There is nothing nice to say about that word. 

When I hear it, my heart automatically beats faster and I get that uncomfortable feeling.

Imagine you are an 11 year old girl and you are hearing those words--not for the first time, but the fourth.

Yes, the fourth!

Our second cousin Carly, just heard this news this past week.

Here's a message from her mother Miki sharing the story about their relapse.  It is an honest, heart wrenching message about how they are handling this news.

I don't even know where to begin.  So I have asked God to take over here because my thought process is all over the place.  This is long...sorry.
We had a MRI and bone scan on Friday.  I don't like going more than 3 months on a MRI, so Dr. Pressey and I talked about doing one since she hasn't had one since October.  The bone scan was fine, we got a good report on that one, and he opted to do one because we haven't had one in 4 yrs.  However, the MRI showed a relapse.  Dr. Pressey came in to the room while we were doing the bone scan and he brought me in the hallway to tell me something was going on and he wanted us to come to clinic so he could show me the MRI.  I had to gather myself and go back in with Carly.  I sat there a few minutes and said I had to go potty and I'd be back.  I went in the bathroom, called Scott, and fell apart.  Then I gathered myself again and went back to Carly.
So, we got to clinic and they took us in a room.  Dr. Pressey came in and examined Carly, and told us there is a 1 cm (about the size of a peanut) "mass" behind her left eye.  So, the medical reference is the orbital apex.  I am not sure if it's wrapped around the optic nerve or just near it, but it's right on or near the nerve.  She is not having any pain or sight issues, which is good, but nonetheless, there is a "beast" in there. This is the area (the left side) where her first and 2nd tumors were, what they call the primary, or local site.
Dr. Pressey and I talked.  He feels surgery is her best option.  Dr. Berkow (her first oncologist) was there as well, and hugged me, telling me he knew and was sorry.  He agreed surgery was best.  Dr. Pressey and Dr. Hanna spoke as well, and Dr. Pressey Fed Ex'd the scans to Dr. Hanna so he can make a determination as to what to do.
We don't know if it can be resected.  There are a lot of unknowns right now.  All we can do is sit and wait, and ask you to pray to God, asking Him to work through Dr. Hanna, allowing Dr. Hanna to come up with the best plan for Carly.  There is a possiblity surgery could cost her the sight in her left eye.  We don't know this for sure, but it could be a factor. However, we really just need Dr. Hanna to review it all and determine the risks.
I know you are wondering how Carly is.  She is up and down.  She'll be laughing and dancing around the house one minute, then she'll come up crying and need a hug.  She had some light hearted moments tonight too.  We decided to tell her about the possibility of her eye, and she was walking around the house with her left eye covered going, "hmm, so this is what it would be like".  We all chuckled.  Some would say it's wrong to tell her, but Scott and I believe we deserve the right to help her work through the possibilities so that it's not such a huge blow if it happens.  We also told her it may not happen, and not to dwell on what ifs.  We believe in bracing for the worst, but praying for the best.
As I drove home, I prayed.  I kept thinking about the picture frame I have at home that says "Life's not about waiting for the storms to pass, it's learning how to dance in the rain".  It's difficult right now for me to dance in the rain.  I don't want to dance in the rain...I want to be past the storm.  This truly sucks!  I asked God why, I asked God to heal her here on earth, and I got angry as well.  I am a mix of emotions.  I was fine as I was driving.  I had a lot of people offer to drive me home, even come up to Bham to get me and drive me home, but God game me inner strength to do it.  He gave me peace at times, as well.  Carly was in the back seat watching Shrek, laughing.  Hearing her laugh made me laugh and cry at the same time.  I thanked God at that moment for the beauty of her laughter, because it is what my soul needed at that moment.
I am crushed, heartbroken, and feeling very distraught.  I am up and down emotionally.  I usually hold it together well, but when I got home and got out of the car, Scott walked around the car to see me and I buried my head into his chest and released the full range of emotions I had been carrying all day.  Carly saw that and got scared.  When I finally caught my breath and could stop the tears, I looked at her and told her, "I can only be so strong for so long, and then Mommy has to have a moment of weakness, and it's only because I am sad you have to go through this again".  And here it is, 3:30 in the morning and I'm crying and typing at the same time.  I'm sick to my stomach, and so hurt that this is happening again.  I am screaming out to God "Why", and yet, He continues to bring me peace.  I can feel Him comforting me.  He's allowing me my emotions, He understands I am upset, but He's also comforting me.
I have always said God gave me Carly and Ava for a reason.  He hand picked ME.  How lucky am I to have been given such an awesome gift?  And I know what true love is, because I would take this cross and bear it for Carly right now.  I would lay down my life for her or Ava.  That's a mother's love, and that is what all of the last 4 years has taught be thankful for each day, to be grateful for the gift of my children, and to be blessed for each happy and sad moment I face.  This process is still amazingly difficult.  Like I said, I am up and down.  But the strength I get from God gives me the grace and peace I need to function each moment.
Please know that I know you all are here for us.  I read our guestbook. I am just not able to talk right now.  I become very introverted when things like this happen.  I recluse to the inside of my house, where I feel safe from the outside world.  I can't deal with the world right now.  I need the normalcy I can get right now, and the time with my kids and Scott.  I have work to keep my mind occupied, and I plan on getting a lot done this weekend since we don't know the immediate plans.  I bet we'll be in Houston within the next week or two.
Dr. Pressey does have a plan in place for treatment after surgery.  And you know, Thank GOD for Dr. Pressey, and Dr. Hanna.  Gosh, I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful they both have been.  Julia (our nurse) as well.  Julia has been there emotionally and personally throughout all of this.  She really is like a sister to me. Our doctors and nurses care, and they are personally doing everything humanly possible to take care of Carly.  That's another way God gives me peace.  He's helped us get the right team in place for her and He works through them.
I don't even know what else to say.  Just pray for Carly, that Dr. Hanna can get this tumor out without risks, that it will be a full resection with margins, that Dr. Pressey's next round of treatment will work and that God will heal Carly here on Earth.  Pray that this is the last time I have to hear Carly has cancer again.  Pray I remain sain, and that I can hold it together.  Pray for peace that surpasses all understanding.  Pray for this entire family.  We are all still reeling from the loss of my uncle Bobby and now we are dealing with another relapse for Carly.  Cancer really is something I wish I could take out on a farm and beat it to death, or shoot a million bullets into.  It deserves a huge beating.
You know I'll keep you posted.  Thanks for being there for us.  We love you all.
Miki (Scott, Carly and Ava)
Matthew 19:26, Philippians 4:6-7 & 4:13 STANDing with Carly

I've been praying about what we can do for this family, and I have a couple of ideas floating around in my head.  I want you to begin by praying for this family on the 4's.

Anytime you see a clock, and it has a 4 on it--let that be a trigger for you to lift up Scott, Miki, Carly and Ava to our heavenly Father.

Also, you can visit their CaringBridge site above and see Carly's whole story.  While you are there, why don't you leave them a message of encouragement on their guestbook.

And checkback in a couple of days--to see what we can do for Carly and her family.

In Him,


Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Goodwill Blessing!

If you've known me for a while, then you know that I love to shop at thrift stores.

I don't have to --- I choose to!

I absolutely love a bargin!

Last week I was at the Goodwill store and I came across a book on fractions. 

Okay--that doesn't sound exciting does it?

What's so cool is that I was planning to buy that exact book online for Sara for school only 2 days earlier, but I couldn't quite decide whether to buy it or not.

So when I was in Goodwill and saw the book--I was so excited AND it only cost me $0.39. The second book was a bonus book and wipe on/off with dry erase on money and time. Our next math subjects for Sara.  Oh--It only cost $0.39 also.

Don't tell me God's not in the details--because I know He is!

Look for Him today.  You might be surprised where you find him at work in your life.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

OK--I don't have Pictures . . .

But I do want to share about our wonderful weekend in Florida.

We went to Melbourne, FL to visit our good friends Ed and Kim Davis.

Our girls were best buds while they lived in St. Marys with us.  AND Hannah and Sara are also beginning to develop a good friendship also.  I love that!

One of the highlights of our trip was getting to worship at church with them on Sunday morning.  Ed and Kim had asked us to share our testimony about our Faith Journey to get Hannah and Sara. 

It was truly an honor to get to give God the Glory for proving to be so Faithful to us on this journey.  We were reminded of all of the ups and downs and moments of Faith that we lived through this past year and really the past 8 years. 

It also helped us to relive the emotions of our 2 failed adoptions of Madina and Taylor and how God's hand was at work throughout this story as redemption took place through the adoptions of Hannah and Sara.

Did you know that Sara was the same age Madina was when we started her adoption? AND that Hannah was the same age as Taylor when we began her adoption?  Do you think that was coincidence? I don't!  I believe that my Daddy in Heaven cares about the details in every way!

Did you know that we began the adoption process of Hannah after our Orphan Sunday Event in 2010, and that our 1st Sunday home with both girls was on Orphan Sunday 2011? 

There are so many amazing pieces to our girls' story.  We truly are amazed every time we think about the journey.

A mighty BIG THANKS goes out to Ed and Kim for giving us the opportunity to give God the Glory!

While we were there, Hannah decided to become a comedian.  She cracked us up with her Chinglish.

One of the funniest things she said was to a man that was fishing on a bridge.  She was touching a fish that he was holding up, and she asked, "Are you Chinese?" (Now let me describe this man to you--He was an older white man with bright blue eyes and graying hair--He did NOT look Chinese at all.)  He replied, "No I'm not.  Are you?"  Hannah, not missing a beat replied, "Only a little bit."  To which this man started cracking up! 

At church a lady spoke to Hannah in Chinese and said, "Hello. How are you?"  Hannah said back to her in plain English--"I not know Chinese." Even though she had previously been speaking Chinese to Sara. We have a funny girl in our midst!

Hope you have a Blessed Day!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sooo I've Been Dying to Ask . . .

And I would really like to Answer!

You know those questions---

So what's it really like with the language barrier with two older adopted children?

How has it been to adopt two at once?

How are yall Really Doing?

How is Leighanne doing?

What about the boys?  How are they adjusting?

What about you and Ben--yall okay?

So here we go . . .

The Language Issue
So what's it really like with the language barrier with two older adopted children?

I want to be completely honest here--the language has been a challenge for us.

Now--Having said that--the girls have been such troopers. (Can you imagine making that transition? )

In the beginning we used lots of sign language.  I'm not talking about "real" sign language, but our made up kind.  It's been quite inventive!

It seems that we then went to the "parrot" stage.  Where we would say a word and they would repeat it. 

Somewhere in between, the girls have started using a combination of sign language and words to communicate. 

And translation from Yan and Bailin has been so helpful.  The girls are beginning to make great strides with our crazy English language.

Hannah now tells us when she "likuhs" something.  As in -- "I likeuh school mama."  or "I likeuh pizza."

Sara is making slower strides in verbalization, but she is really catching on in comprehension.  In fact she has been Hannah's translator a few times in the last week.

Now for the real sticky question-- How has it been when they both speak Chinese and you don't understand?  This is probably our biggest challenge.  We are learning to read body language between the two girls.  Sometimes though, we still can't tell if something being said is just normal communication or if they are bickering.  When tears are falling, I know something big is up and I call Yan.  Most of the time the argument is just that--normal sibling arguing.  But we still have to work through the issues via the phone.

How has it been to adopt two at once?
Well--that's not a real easy question to answer.  We've never adopted two older children before, and since Leighanne was a baby at adoption--her transition does not compare.  I will say that I think it would be easier to adopt one at a time.  BUT on the other hand there have been times when Hannah and Sara have felt great comfort in having the other "newbie" around.  They do have a special bond.

I do believe that both girls are making the transition wonderfully.  There are still moments of grieving--which is totally normal.  Hannah still gets out her picture book of her previous life and we listen as she tells us about the pictures.  I am so thankful for this treasure of pictures.  It's something I wish we had had with Leighanne.

Sara--like any teenager--has her pictures on her bulletin board and in frames around the room.  I think Sara was ready for a family and she is loving family life. Until things don't go quite her way :)--but again, she is doing well even in the rough moments.

How are yall Really Doing?
Next week will be 3 months since we "got" Hannah and Sara.  So we have been a family of 8 in transition for a little while.  There have been a few moments of total exhaustion.  And--there was a week right before Christmas when Ben was working alot--that I had an "all I could take" moment.  We made plans for me to get away for about 5 hours, and I had a time to refresh. 

Just like any change in the family, your new normal takes a while to get used to.  We are still becoming aware of each other's moods, signals of tiredness, and other things that tell us- uh oh back off.  At the same time, we are finding that we have a lot of fun playing games together.  Sara is very competitive, and has picked up the game Sequence which is a family favorite.

How is Leighanne doing?
I will have to give her credit--she is  hanging in there with all of the transition.  Of course, she is experiencing growing pains, and  I would have to say that sharing her room has been the hardest adjustment for her.  She likes everything to have a place, and Hannah doesn't mind a little randomness.  I guess it's good that they are roomies and get a dose of reality. :) (Wake up call Leighanne--your husband will probably leave the toilet seat up and not hit the laundry basket with his dirty clothes) 

We did experience a time when Leighanne spent some time "grieving" her old life.  And truthfully, her world has been turned upside down.  I think that she is seeing now that having sisters has its good points too.  Like making up dances, playing games, riding bikes together, and watching movies.

I have seen growth in Leighanne also--she does take time with Hannah and Sara and overall--I think she really enjoys having sisters.

What about the boys?  How are they adjusting?
The guys are really handling things in stride.  They have been really helping with the girls, and they are becoming like true brothers and sisters--you know--"Who has my _____?",  "Hey!  Get out of the bathroom!", and  "It's my turn to watch TV!"

They are learning what it's like to live with sisters X 3!  Right now--Sara and Hannah are making up for years of very little "princess" knowledge. They both enjoy the same shows about princess  life.  Let's just say that the guys are not thrilled.  But--I tell them much like their days of Veggie Tales and Barney--this too shall pass.

What about you and Ben--yall okay?
We are hanging in there. Our tiredness comes from the number of kiddos and their needs.  Because of the age of Hannah and Sara, we are not exhausted from sleepless nights, making bottles and changing diapers.  Instead, we are getting tired from dealing with schedules, changing emotions, and behavior issues.

We have had a couple of date nights and boy did it feel good to get away with my man.  We even snuck away to the movies and saw Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Pretty Good--Tom Cruise.

A few more pieces of information . . .

School started back up on the 9th of January.  Everyone (except Sara) went off to school.  She and I have been more productive in two days of home school then we were in a whole week before the Christmas break.

Hannah loves school, especially recess.  Her teacher called me to let me know that she had a really good day. Yay!  I am still going to work with her  throughout the year and over the summer to work on her reading and math.  Hopefully, she will make great strides.

Well--that's a Wrap on the Q & A for now.  If there's something you've been dying to ask--feel free--I'll see if I have an Answer.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Well Hello 2012!

We welcomed 2012 with lots of Pizazz and FUN!

All of us made it till midnight--and of course we watched the ball drop in New York City. Then we gave each other cheers and well wishes with some quite sophisticated "sparkling juice". 

To top it off Ben and I gave each other a New Years Kiss.  ( The girls approved and the boys could've cared less!) LOL!

Oh--and yes--your eyes are NOT deceiving you, we did have two extra friends at our house for New Years.  Josie Tatum and Ellie spent the night with us.  We loved having them over.

So from our house to yours--We are sending special wishes to you for a Fabulous--New Year!

May God Bless You!