Tuesday, December 29, 2009

6 months

Six months ago today we met
this sad, scared, precious little girl
half a world away...

God has transformed her into
a happy, beautiful treasure...
our baby Gracie Shu!

"Sing a new song to the LORD.
He has done wonderful things!"
Psalm 98:1

Friday, December 25, 2009

merry merry Christmas!

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free
From our sins and fears release us
Let us find our rest in Thee
Israel's strength and consolation
Hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


our little hero before she received her "happy juice"

Gracie's procedures went so well yesterday. Thank you so much for your comments, e-mails and prayers. She was blessedly calm and happy before the surgery, and both surgeons were very pleased with how things went. Waking up in recovery was not a pretty picture, mainly due to the fact that Gracie cannot suck her thumb & finger with the new appliance in her palate. Her way of comforting herself for almost two years is now gone. :( We were up most of the night with a very upset little girl. Only Mommy's arms would do, and we had to be standing...not sitting, or even lying in Mommy & Daddy's bed. Probably a combination of the anesthesia wearing off, pain, and frustration over the thumb issue. We've managed pain pretty well today, and she is now the happiest she's been so far - Playing with her Daddy, laughing & smiling. We're thankful for chocolate Pediasure and peanut butter...Hoping tomorrow she'll be able to eat a little better with less pain!
What a brave, brave girl we have. She will wear her Latham device for up to three months. We will tighten the screw attached to it once a day, and it will gradually be bringing her palate closer together before her actual palate surgery sometime early 2010.
This Christmas our hearts are overflowing with gratefulness for this priceless little gift!

Monday, December 21, 2009

it's beginning to look alot like...


Yep, the week of Christmas is when the ENT
and craniofacial surgeon were able to coordinate their schedules!
We're heading to Charlotte today with the whole family
to stay @ my brother's house. Brian & I will have little
Gracie @ the hospital @ 5am for a 7:00 surgery.
They will be extracting a tooth, putting tubes in both
ears, and inserting the Latham device...
and all of this is an outpatient procedure!
Please join us in praying for the surgeons involved,
that God would prepare Gracie's heart and mind in a way
that only He can, and that her healing process would be a peaceful, rapid one where the bonding we have established so far will only be strengthened.

Not quite the Christmas week we envisioned,
but we trust God's timing in this first step
of Gracie's surgeries. This sweet smile
we've fallen in love with (and will miss by the way!)will now be lovingly
transformed by her Creator in the hands of men He
has gifted to do so.
And so it begins!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Christmas card picture...cutting room floor

Thank you sisters & brother for teaching me the all-American
art of face making

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I heart our neighborhood

Last night was our yearly neighborhood Christmas parade.
Gracie loved it, and we loved watching her enjoy it!

Oh, the anticipation!

I guess in these parts Santa rides a fire truck

Checking out all the loot we collected

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cracker Barrel, signing and a bear

On Brian's day off, we try to have breakfast together somewhere, and today happened to be Cracker Barrel. (We had to fortify ourselves before the major Christmas shopping we had to undertake.) As we were waiting for our healthy (ahem) southern breakfast fare, a sweet woman behind us got Brian's attention. She is completely deaf, and saw me using signs with Gracie, so she was asking about our situation.

*brag alert*
Miss Gracie knows close to 100 signs now, and soaks up new words every day.
Brian & I are having a tough time keeping up w/ her as she picks up signing so
quickly from her speech therapist & signing dvds!
*bragging over*

Anyway...I fumbled with my limited signing as we got to know this dear lady who was there w/ her infant grandson. (I seriously need to spend more time learning for Gracie's sake, and for future situations like this!)

As we were eating, a couple came up to our table & asked how long we've had Gracie. They adopted their now 12 year old daughter from Guatemala when she was 18 months old. They saw Gracie & had gone to the gift shop to buy her a bear and asked if they could give it to her. Um, yeah, such a sweet encounter! Now, Gracie isn't too fond of stuffed animals, but she loves that bear! He is wearing a shirt that says"Jesus Loves Me", and it sings the song also. I love being on the receiving end of random acts of kindness, and it definitely pushes me to be more aware of situations where I can be a light to someone else.

On two totally random notes...
Gracie slept through the night for the
first time in over a week last night...Woot Woot!

*another brag alert*
Our sweet Ali kicked some major bee-hind today in a
debate on stem cell research in her biology class. God has given her such
a gift, and we are so proud.

She's Judge Judy in Laura Ingalls clothes!

Gracie Shu w/ her new bear

Sunday, December 6, 2009

a thrill of HOPE

One of our family traditions that our children love is the celebration of Advent - the "time of expectant waiting & preparation for the celebration of the advent of Jesus at Christmas." Today marks the second Sunday of Advent, and the second purple candle will be lit in our home.

Is it possible to instill in our children a greater anticipation to celebrate the birth of their Savior that trumps the anticipation of the much-dreamed -of gifts under the tree? They need to see that played out in my life and Brian's as well. I'm ready to throw the lists, budgets, invitations, & schedules out the door & just soak in my little family & God's plan for redeeming us this month!

I love this line from one of my favorite Christmas songs..."a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices". There is definitely a thrill in the emotion of hope.

We've had a long week here. Weary kind of sums up our emotions. My Mom's been in the hospital w/ some heart issues, my nephew is in the hospital facing yet another surgical procedure tomorrow, and poor little Gracie has been dealing w/ croup. We haven't slept much since Tuesday evening (me + caffeine = joy), but she's doing so much better.

Then there's that prospect of hope that things will be better...hope that Mom will grow stronger, hope that God will strengthen my sister and her son, hope that God will continue to heal Gracie, and yes, hope that we will one day get a full night's sleep again!

The thrill of hope,
This weary mom rejoices!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

oh Christmas tree

Beautiful day.
Beautiful memories.

THE one!

Just my size!


Um, this ornament looks just like Mommy's
Starbucks cup...Why is it empty?!


Delicious popcorn!

God showed up once again in a beautiful way on Saturday. When I say the tree farm we visited was in the middle of nowhere...I mean NOWHERE! Just picture 9 miles of winding road off the main road in the Pisgah National Forest! As soon as we arrived, a mom w/ her little son approached us & asked about Gracie. She told us her little boy had just had his lip repaired ( he looked amazing) not too long ago. She asked who our surgeon was , and I told her he was in Charlotte...Be still my heart... they go to the same office! Her son also had the Latham device that Gracie will soon have, and he will have his palate repaired soon. She went on & on about how much they have loved the surgeons w/ the practice. Yet another HUGE confirmation from our heavenly Father! Small world??...Not to Him!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Very Thankful Heart

I can't thank God enough for...

Our beautiful, gifted Ali

Our lovely, creative Erin

Our sensitive, funny Quinn

Our undeserved, beautiful miracle Gracie Shu

and my handsome Honey

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! Know that the LORD, He is God! It is He Who has made us, and we are His; We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with Thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give THANKS to Him; bless His Name! For the LORD is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 100

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve

I can't believe after 3 years of saying "Maybe next Thanksgiving we'll have our Gracie", that she is home! When we think about all that God has done for us in 2009, it's overwhelming.

Thank you God for our little blessing!!

Now for my book plug...We have so enjoyed reading through this book as a family this year. I have embarrassingly learned some things about our Thanksgiving holiday that I never knew before. What a rich heritage we have!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mr. Potato/Turkey Head

Gracie made her first Thanksgiving craft
in her occupational therapy today.

Is that the best turkey you've ever seen, or what?

Yeah, I know, she's brilliant.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Impression Time Part Trois

The best way to eat mashed potatoes...With 2 utensils

Our trip to Charlotte yesterday went very well. Poor little Gracie Shu knew the second we stepped into the Doctor's office what was going to happen. There's something about that silent cry with the tears streaming down the cheeks that kills your heart. Then there's the "hear-it down-the-hall" crying as the doctor is making the new impression. So hard.

God placed His fingerprints in many places too. We met a gentleman at a rest area who has a granddaughter adopted from China. Talk about a proud Grandpa! While waiting at the office we met another adorable little Asian sweetie with her Mama. They just returned from China in September, and were there to have the same procedure as Gracie. Her lip & palate are both affected as well.
Oh, and on the way home we encountered THIS - Good timing eh?

Please join us in praying that this impression will be acceptable to the doctor who will be making the device for Gracie. We would love to have her first surgery done before Christmas!

Wouldn't you know she would fall asleep 5 minutes before her appointment?!!

That odd looking mold is the reason I've had a coffee from the Gaffney Starbucks
3 different times in 3 months!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Is the Third Time REALLY THE Charm?!!

Pure Joy!

The discovery of the dress up box!

UGH! We are heading back to Charlotte next Tuesday for Gracie to be fitted for her palate appliance...for the third time! We thought we would surely have had her first procedure behind us before Thanksgiving, but that will not be the case. The doctor who makes these devices wants a more detailed mold made of her palate because for an older child, it needs to fit perfectly, and I can appreciate that. We're getting this routine down pretty good by now...No food for 3 hrs before our appointment, One terrible minute of the actual fitting, and then a quick lunch before heading home! The nurse was so apologetic, but I told her I understand. We're just one more step closer in the process! I'm grateful that God's hand is so evidently in all of this. We have to trust His timing!
Happy weekend!!