Friday, June 25, 2010


it is not everyday we find a brightly wrapped gift on our front porch.  but this evening in the middle of watering  plants along the front walk (pretty much a lost cause in atlanta's heat) i looked up and spotted a package. bringing the box inside,  i opened the attached card while the two younger kids, in christmas morning fashion, tore into the wrapping.  as i was lost in the words of the note, i heard connor's voice read aloud, "elec-tron-ic rice coo-ker...WE GOT AN ELECTRONIC RICE COOKER!"   it sort of reminded me of the scene from a christmas story movie when the leg lamp arrives.  such excitement.  such thrill.  such delight over a package.  it didn't matter that a rice cooker wasn't at the top of the kids' wish list...we got one! ... and it came wrapped and it was at our door and we were surprised and presents are good!  and there it was sitting on our kitchen counter...our very own electronic rice cooker! we were all smiling and nodding and admiring it.  but it was the note... it was the note attached that elevated this gift from a nice surprise to a priceless treasure.

           Dear Bella Grace,  It's time for you to come home!  There is a wonderful family awaiting your arrival with anticipation and joy.  You will just love them. They have been preparing a place for you. This family loves you -- just because you are you!  The Lord has given this family a love for you because He values you and has ordained your life to bring Him glory before the creation of the world.   This Lord will provide for all your needs, Bella, for He is the Bread of Life.  Just as rice nourishes your little body, He and He alone will nourish your soul into eternity.  There's a whole family/community behind this beautiful family also anticipating meeting you, encouraging you and watching you grow.  Be blessed little one!  With Love from ~ The Michael Family
       "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven
       and gives life to the world....
      I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry
      and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."  ~   John 6: 33-25 

i've seen bottle warming devices and diaper genies given with the addition of a new child, but never a rice cooker.  i love that.  i absolutely love that one of bella's first gifts is this rice cooker.  priscilla's beautiful note says it all.   it is the perfect gift.   i also love the complete practicality of it.  whereas emily and i have been snatching up cute clothing with wild fashion abandon....filling bella's waiting closet and drawers with the latest must haves, i haven't thought much about my cooking methodology for a child coming from china. i mean we weren't going to start her right away on chic-fil-a...but i am pretty certain at some point she will have her first waffle fry and nugget while riding in the backseat to some older sibling's game or lesson or appointment. my sweet friend priscilla, however, has filled in this gap.  God amazes us with the way He continually uses our friends to be His Body and His Hands to our family.  long before hillary ever started talking about villages and children...God had it all figured out.  He knows what it takes.  He has always known what it takes to raise babies, adopt children and expand families.  He has it covered. completely.  the beauty of this completeness never, never ceases to amaze me.  i bet you didn't know a rice cooker could be associated with such rich symbolism.  but...this one, THIS rice cooker, THIS electronic rice cooker sitting on our counter IS.  and even on the days when the rice is sticky or burned (hoping this will help my rice cooking) i will remember this gift of nourishment and this continual and beautiful gift of community. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

for every bird a nest

For every bird a nest --
Wherefore in timid quest
Some little Wren goes seeking round --

Wherefore when boughs are free --
Households in every tree --
Pilgrim be found?

Perhaps a home too high --
Ah Aristocracy!
The little Wren desires --

Perhaps of twig so fine --
Of twine e'en superfine,
Her pride aspires --

The Lark is not ashamed
To build upon the ground
Her modest house --

Yet who of all the throng
Dancing around the sun
Does so rejoice?
      ~ emily dickinson
  a treasure i found while working in the yard this morning. 
 simple.  beautiful. wonderful. 
what is there about a nest which speaks of God's provision...
His design...His beauty...even His plans?
 "the earth is the Lord's, and everything in it." 
                      ~ psalm 24:1

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


serendipity.  i first heard that word as a young girl.  i remember thinking, "i will add this to my list of favorite words."  it sits in the same category as the beautiful words, "bubble, loquacious, gossamer, effervescent, giggle and hippopotamus."  come on, agree with me,  these are words worth remembering.  words worth pronouncing.  you simply cannot say the word "hippopotamus" and not smile.  go ahead...try.  see, i am right on this.  serendipty. definition: "surprised by joy." i love that.  who doesn't like being surprised....especially by joy? serendipity is the act of discovering something delightful when not looking.  today was a serendipitous day.  i had been out in the yard transplanting grass.  yes, grass.   i was actually grumbling under my breath about the fact that grass can grow like gangbusters in places you don't want....but then is downright obstinate about thriving in those places you DO want it.  i came in from the yard sweaty and hot, dirt caked under my nails and in my shoes. while i was getting something to drink (and still muttering about grass) i remembered an email i was supposed to send.  i turned on the computer and... BAM! serendipity! there it was, this email and these pictures.  there SHE was...this face....this smile.  there on the screen her little pink shoes and her tiny rosebud lips and her enormous dark eyes.  and yes, even her sideburns (note to self:  pick up a good pair of hair cutting sheers before leaving for china).  oh my.  surprised by joy!  i sat and just soaked it in. soaked and soaked and soaked.  i drank in her little hand holding the rail.  i drank in the curve of her chin, the glimmer in her eye, the thickness of her hair.   my only thought:  THIS is the child we are going to get soon.  THIS is the tiny girl we will have running through the hallways of our home.  THIS is the child for which we have prayed.  THIS is our daughter, our sister, our girl.  oh friends, i cannot tell you.  i may love the word serendipity...but it is not nearly enough.  on my long list of beautiful words, i cannot come up with any combination that can do justice to the song in my heart.  though we have tried repeatedly to get information on bella, we've had nothing.  no reports.  no pictures.  nothing since last november.  getting these photos on a monday morning, dirty nails and all, is just a most precious gift. 
rick and i were so encouraged by how healthy she looks.  just to see her outdoors is an amazing thing.  the last picture we have of her shows her behind the bars of a crib, bundled up in a coat four times her size.  there was a puddle of water underneath her crib.  today we saw sunshine on her face.   these pictures are filled with firsts.  we've never seen her stand.  we've never seen her smile. we've never seen her outdoors.  i know these are little things...but when your child is on the other side of the world these little things grow enormous.  and enormous is the gift of these pictures.  enormous is the song in my heart. enormous is my gratitude....and enormous is our anticipation in bringing her home soon. 
"my heart LEAPS FOR JOY and i will give
 thanks to Him in song!"  ~ psalm 28:7

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

connor's list

it was just a normal, busy day.  i was in the yard planting flowers when connor walked out of the house with this list in hand.  he wouldn't let me read it, but insisted that he read it to me.  he is 7 and just at the end of first grade.  his penmanship and spelling aren't perfect.  but this list had nothing to do with academics.  this list was an outpouring of his heart.  it made me laugh.  it made me cry.  it was completely from his perspective.  i had never once thought about bella and jello....or bella on jet skis.  but these were the things connor thought of...this is a little part of the way he is already connected to her. i don't know how exactly all that happens.  i can't explain how our family already has this deep connection to a child we haven't seen.  it's a God thing.  that's it.  there's absolutey no other possibility.  it's a God thing...and it's very much a good thing. 
....and i can't wait to watch connor introduce his new baby sister to mac and cheese and "gumyse."