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!!