"Thank You for this Party…"

Those sweet words above were spoken by Grace last evening after we celebrated her birthday with family & friends. I would never have guessed 10 years ago today that she would not only be talking so well, but using good manners and showing such true, heart-felt gratitude for her little party.

When Grace was born 10 years ago today, I was crushed. However, God was up to something good by showering us with blessings undeserved…..our Grace.

Now, I pray that the world would come to see our children with Down syndrome as I do today–a gift rather than curse. I trust that God will use Grace for his glory in ways I can never imagine.

Happy Birthday, Grace! We love you soooooo much!

Our Funny Little Honey Part II…..

When Grace got off the bus today after school, she proudly told us “I stayed Green!” –which essentially means, she didn’t move from green to yellow to red on her behavior chart. Well, when I got home her teacher wrote in her communication notebook that Grace not only pushed a little girl down the slide, but she also kicked her and pulled her hair to boot! Now Grace, either you need to re-learn your colors or are you trying to pull the wool over our eyes? Hmmmmmm……

That aside, Grace was so much fun on our trip to Arizona. In fact, when we were sharing what our favorite thing about our trip was Grandma said that she most enjoyed being around Grace and laughing at her funnies!

Here are a few that made us laugh:

** For two weeks before our trip, Grace asked us no less than 50 times a day “Airplane? Hotel? Swimming?” We got to the point that we just said “Yes!” Then, the day arrived and she kept asking, “Airplane scary?” We tried to reassure her time and time again. So, while we were taking off and during the flight, we could hear her saying to herself, “It’s ok, Grace, it’s not scary!” Over and over and over…. Poor little honey!

** We took a shuttle from the airport to our hotel. On the way to the hotel, I asked our driver if we could stop at Wal-Mart to pick up some things for our room. After I did some shopping and was returning to the van, the driver hopped out and opened the door for me. (Oh, you should know that he was dressed in a suit & tie and was African American.) As he opened the door, Grace exclaimed “Oh, Hi, Moseby!” (The Hotel Manager from Suite Life of Zach & Cody.) Boy, was my face red!

** Our sleeping arrangements were the boys’ room and the girls’ room. After a couple of nights, Sam shared that he was not sleeping well because of all the “guttoral noises” going on. I suggested that perhaps he and Grace should switch rooms. Grace piped up, “I not a boy, I a girl!” Not only was she paying attention, but she really knew what was going on. I underestimate her sometimes!

Grace is the epitome of extremes: first she is a handful and then she is a joy. At least she is black and white….no grey for her! Ahh, at least we always know where we stand with her. Perhaps that is the way we should all be…..

Our First Family Vacation…..

We just returned yesterday from our first vacation as a family of SIX! AND, we also brought Grandma & Grandpa along as a gift to them for their 50th wedding anniversary which was last August 1st. (We were in Ukraine at that time.)–So really we were a traveling party of EIGHT!

Where did we go? Kevin had a conference in the Phoenix area, so we tagged along. The place we went to is called the Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Chandler, AZ. It was wonderful!! Besides a beautiful resort, the temps were in the upper 80’s! What a great taste of summer for us NoDaks!

Do you want to see our vacation slides? 🙂 Well, here are a few for your viewing pleasure:

Beauty for Ashes….

As you can see by glancing above, this is the name we chose for our family’s blog. It is the most wonderful way I can think of to describe how God has redeemed us through his son’s death and resurrection thereby giving us life, hope, healing, and restoration. I LOVE this scripture verse that says:

“To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” Isaiah 61:3

When we began our adoption journey in January 2009, I knew right away what we would name our blog. You see, just as we have been saved by grace and given beauty for ashes….so was little Bella about to be saved from a life of despair.

Then, I thought about one of my very favorite Christian songs, and it was even more fitting. If you have not heard this song by Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly, please take a moment and listen. You will not be disappointed.

I pray that you, dear friend, have been pulled from the ashes and given a life of beauty. Today can be the day!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all my friends and family! He is risen! Alleluia!

Our Easter morning began celebrating the Resurrection at my parents’ church. Bella must have grown up in a “Ukrainian” Missouri Synod Lutheran because she certainly could belt out those wonderful old hymns. It was so hard not to keep from laughing as she “sang” along, stopping her singing at just the right times. All of the congregation members around us couldn’t help from smiling at her joyful “noise”.

After church, we came home and had an egg hunt in our living room. (Still a bit chilly outside and our lawn is still too wet.) But Bella had so much fun! She found one blue egg and clutched it for dear life. With both her hands full, one holding a basket and the other an egg, she had a hard time collecting any more eggs. BUT, she certainly loved the chocolates inside!

Later in the afternoon, we hosted a dinner for our family. Grace was so excited to see Uncle Joe, that she and Bella waited for him to come back to their room. While Grace was waiting, she was shouting “I want Joe. I love Joe.” After some time visiting with the adults, Joe finally made a pilgrimage back to the waiting girls. As you can see, the were tickled pink!

We are so thankful this Easter that little Bella is with our family. I can’t believe it was a year ago already that we were waiting and waiting to get approval from the government to be able to adopt her. Now, she is here and brings so much joy to our whole family.

Blessings to you and yours this Easter. It is a glorious day to celebrate our risen King. He is risen indeed!