Friday, June 12, 2015

Let's Dance!

"What sports do you do?" It's a question I have overheard my girls answer many time over the years. Initially, they have each forgotten to include dance as one of their 'sports" and I have worked to tell them how very much their dance is a sport. And SO much more!

When I was a young mommy and my oldest(Chelsea) was 3 years old, my neighbor asked if we wanted to start her in dance class with their daughter. Sure! That sounds cute! And that decision made 22 years ago, entered us into the amazing world of dance. Where I, along with each of my girls, would learn and many ways.

Being a dance mom is typically not the reality that you may have seen on the TV show. But it is indeed, a very big commitment and a tremendous amount of work and emotions. And dance recital week is beyond exhausting. Our Chelsea danced from the time she was 3 until she graduated at the age of 18. And at the end of each dance year and each recital, I would sit back and breathe a sigh of relief that it was all over. And my heart would fill with pride watching her and all of her hard work come into action as she danced her heart out on stage in front of so many. It's a emotion filled week for moms and their dancers. You hold your breathe with each step they dance because you know how hard they have worked and you know they know their dances by heart. Please, God, please let them rock this..please let the floor not be too slippery. Please.... Oh, the nerves of a dance mama. :) Why do we feel nervous? We feel it FOR them. We carry their stage fright for them. It's a dance mom thing :)  We think they are amazing no matter what, but we want to see them succeed for themselves and all of their work and dedication.

I'll be very honest here. At Chelsea's last dance recital, I was finally able to sit in the audience and watch the recital. Say what?! A dance mom watching the entire recital without having to stay in the dressing rooms and assist with costume changes? Watch the show without running up and down several flights of stairs to the balcony(moms viewing area)? I was in Heaven! And as much as I loved her dancing years, I felt a relief that my Dance Mom title of the past 15 years was coming to an end. I'm getting too old for this I thought to myself. lol!

Did I mention that while I was sitting in my comfy seat watching that last recital, that there were 2 wee little ones sitting next to me? The little ones were Ella and Sophie at the age of 3. They were going to learn to love soccer or track or something else, because this was my dance mom retirement year, after all! I told my husband that I love dance but I wasn't going to be able to commit to another 15 years of dance mommy. Nope. No way!

And then it happened. I watched my Chels dance in her 15th and last recital and the reality of all that she had gained from her dance years hit me. Hard. It was so much more than a tutu and a stage and bobbypins. So very much more. At the end of that recital, I looked down at the little ones in the seats next to mine and I said to my husband..."how can I NOT let them dance?!" And just 3 months later, I dusted off my dance mom retirement panties and signed Ella and Sophia up to start their dance journey.

We are currently in the midst of dance recital week. 7 years for my little girlies and 22 for me. And I reflect on all that encompasses the world of dance. On the outside, it's 3 nights a week of dance class. It's dance shoes and leotards. It's mastering the hair bun. It's hairspray and bobby pins and costume alterations. It's backstage quick changes that give you gray hair! It's your family room doubling as a dance studio where your girls practice their dances. It's missing some fun events because they fall on dance nights. It's dress rehearsals. It's lights, camera, action. It's people asking why we do this and saying they would never want to because they see how much work recital week is. And did I mention bobby pins and hairspray? hehee!

But those are NOT the things that filled my heart when I asked the question 7 years ago of how I could NOT let my little ones experience the world of dance. Nope, None of those things factored into it. Those are the outside things.

It's the  inside look of the dance world that filled my heart. As tiring as dance recital week is, I have learned to love it for all that I see behind the scenes. These girls are bonded in ways that it's hard to describe.

Tolerance. Dance is a team event and as much as each girl works individually on their dancing, they are working with one another. In all of my dance recital years, I have never seen one girl get upset with another because they may have forgotten or "messed up" a part. Never once. I see them talk about with one another and sometimes laugh with one another and often practice again behind the scenes...but never get upset with one another. I love this. A lot.

Commitment. Remember the events we sometimes miss because of dance classes? They get that commitment and have not once ever complained.

Individuality. I watch each dancer with a different version of recital make-up. What I have never seen is any girl compare theirs with another.

Sisterhood. I see a group of moms who are truly a special group of ladies. They get it. They get what it's really all about.

Understanding. I watch the girls and their moms rush to help one another with costume mishaps.

Compassion. I see girls with quick changes struggling for time and other girls saying, don't worry, we will wait for you!

Heart. I watch my girls chasse, leap, shanay and twirl in the aisles of the food store.

In a world where we see so many examples of lack of tolerance, responsibility and empathy, I see a group of girls who are growing and learning the importance of these traits.

And on that stage, I see right through the glittery costumes, I see hard work and dedication. I see such poise and confidence and grace. I see girls who seem to tune out the hundreds of people in the audience and get lost in the music. I see the heart of dance. And I see it radiate from my dancers. An accomplishment to hold dearly.

And the question I currently hear often..."is Tian going to dance?" Well, Dave will probably need to work a second job for that to happen, but truly how can she NOT dance? :)

Dance on dancers!!! DANCE. On.

A special thank you to Nardi Dance Studio for it's fabulous teachers who have taught all of my girls what dance is all about!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

He's Got This!

He's got this!! Adoption is a tough road to travel and I've always called it an emotional roller coaster. But, with each of our journeys, God has placed a special person in my life to journey alongside of and each of these women have become lifetime friends who I adore.

This journey is no different and I was blessed to meet Jodi a few months ago. She and I are using the same agency and our girls are from the same orphanage and close to the same age. We talk and compare notes everyday. We pray for one another, we laugh and we cry together. She and I have both had a rough few weeks lately as we are waiting on our LOA from China. But we have continued to pray and support one another and I truly would be lost without her through all of this.

 Well, her daughter is celebrating her second birthday today and she sent a cake to the orphanage. She told me that she specifically prayed for our Lyla Lu to be in the pictures that the orphanage would take and send to her. She specifically prayed that Lyla was seated right next to her daughter. Now, keep in mind that there are HUNDREDS of children in this orphanage and with that in mind, take a look at the picture she received today....

and will you notice that our sweetie is not only in her picture, but is seated right next to the birthday girl? Out. Of. All. The. Children. His answered prayer was a great reminder to us that He is in control and He's got this. What a blessing!!

 Words of wisdom from another adoptive momma .... “When you say YES to adoption, you are saying YES to enter the suffering of the orphan, and that suffering includes WAITING FOR YOU TO GET TO THEM. I promise you, their suffering is worse than yours. We say YES to the tears, YES to the longing, YES to the maddening process, YES to the money, YES to hope, YES to the screaming frustration of it all, YES to going the distance through every unforeseen discouragement and delay. Do not imagine that something outside of “your perfect plan” means you heard God wrong. There is NO perfect adoption. EVERY adoption has snags. We Americans invented the “show me a sign” or “this is a sign” or “this must mean God is closing a door” or “God must not be in this because it is hard,” but all that is garbage. You know what’s hard? Being an orphan. They need us to be champions and heroes for them, fighting like hell to get them home. So we will. We may cry and rage and scream and wail in the process, but get them home we will.” –Jen Hatmaker


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Loving Lyla Home

UPDATE.....T-shirt sales are over. Thanks so much for those of you who ordered. I should receive them and mail them out very soon.

This awesome design was created by a friend of mine just for our adoption! Jess, thanks SO much for being a part of Lyla's story! 

If you haven't read Lyla's story, please see the post below this one.

 Our agency is working hard to expedite our travel so that we can bring her home in the next few months and get her the medical care she needs. Because things are moving quickly, we are working on some fundraisers for the orphanage donation fee, which is $6,000.00. Many of you asked how you can help! Here are some ways you can help, if you would like...

**We would love for you to pray for Lyla, who needs us to get her home as quickly as possible so that her heart can be fixed. Please pray His protection over her while we wait for Ch*na to allow us to travel for her. 


**And for the coffee lovers, please consider purchasing your coffee through this link and part of your purchase will go towards bringing Lyla home. Please be sure to shop directly through the link.


**You can  purchase one of our awesome shirts! We're taking pre-orders so please allow a few weeks for your shirt to arrive.  It's a part of Lyla's story, get a new cool t-shirt AND help make a difference for the little ones left behind

Shirts are $25.00 shipping included! $20.00 for local friends who don't need shipped.

             Ladies Jr. Fit softstyle Tee
                  sizes S, M, L XL
                       pink or gray

                              Unisex Softstyle Tee
                                sizes S, M, L, XL
                                      pink or gray

Youth Sizes XS(2-4), S(6-8), M(10-12), L(14-16), XL(18-20)
pink or gray
Please use the BUY NOW button below to buy your tees. Make sure to choose "shipping" or "no shipping"
Then email or message me with your size, style and color choice.



Thank you for being a part of Lyla's story and don't forget to read the post below :)

Have YOU seen this video?


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lyla’s Story

We all have a story and so does our Lyla Lu! She was born in China with a very serious heart condition and no family to call her own(most likely due to her heart disease). Walker pic 1 
On the other side of the world lives a family who was sure that their family was complete. But God, in His infinite wisdom, knew differently.
You see, the mom has many friends who dedicate their lives to advocating for orphans. The mom has a heart for the orphans as well, so every precious face she would see of a child needing a family, would make her wonder if one more was possible. But there were many roadblocks that seemed too big for this to happen. Time, finances, work schedules, etc. So, the mom went about her daily busy-ness.

However, the mom would continue to see the orphan crisis and continue to wonder if, maybe....
Many people would ask the mom about adoption and when she shared their family story, they would respond with "well, that's nice that YOU did that, but WE could never". or "We would love to, BUT...
So, as the mom continued to scroll through her fb pages and to see all of the children needing families, she started to realize that the reasons she had for not bringing home one more, were excuses in God's eyes, not reasons. All of the reasons people shared with the mom as to why they couldn't adopt, were coming from her lips. Michelle!! He equips those He calls!!!


The mom and dad were getting ready to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and had been saving up for a long time for a trip to Hawaii to celebrate this special milestone. But all she could think of was the fact that this vacation fund money would be much better served in adoption fees that would bring the love of a family to one more.
And as God was working on the Mom’s heart, He was also working on the Dad’s heart. And when the Mom talked to him about adding “one more” and cancelling/postponing the Hawaii trip, the Dad said “absolutley”! And the roadblocks started to slowly come down. Go God!!
We were not placed on this earth to serve ourselves. He placed us here to serve Him. To make a difference. To BE His hands and feet. Are we living for eternity or for the here and now? Oh, how God uses adoption to change hearts! Mine, especially.
And then He introduced us to Lyla and let us both know that she was the one He had handpicked for our family.

                           Chang Lu Tian 

Her medical needs seem big and scary and for a brief time we wondered if we could.....but then we both realized, how could we NOT?! God equips those He calls!! Would we not go to the end of the earth to make sure any of our children got the medical attention they need? God wants us to run to the orphans just as we would run to the children already in our family.  His hands and feet.  

For you see, each and every one of us is His child.

But friends, He does not just call a handful of us to have a heart for the fatherless. Scripture tells us we are ALL called to care for the widows and orphans in distress. Not all of us are called to adopt, however, we can pray, we can sponsor, we can support those in the process of adoption or you may realize that there really is space at your dining room table for just "one more". You can make a difference and be part of the change. Please allow the orphan crisis to be a burden on your heart and allow that burden to be a part of the solution. Adoption Changes Lives!!!! Every Child Deserves to Know the Love of a Family.

Thank you, Father for allowing us to bring home another one of your precious children! Please hold her close until we can bring her home.
Deut. 31:8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. Thank you, friends for being part of our journey!


Monday, June 25, 2012


Colorado is such a beautiful state!! Lots of pics to share! :)

Airforce Academy





Garden of the Gods!!









The Geer Family! We traveled to China with them in 06. They were bringing Gracie home as we were bringing home Ella! They are part of our adoption family and will always hold a special place in our hearts!! Donna has the only group pic of us, but here are a few with cute Gracie!




Seven Falls!! You had to climb 250 stairs to reach the top of this and it took a little "convincing" Ella to agree to this. lol! But she did and was quite proud of her accomplishment.









The Wyss Family!! Ella and Sam are from the same SWI, just a few weeks apart in age and came home to us just a few weeks apart. His mommy and I thought for sure we would travel together, but God had different plans. Ella holds onto Sam as her connection to her past and if you ask her why we went to Colorado, she would tell you it was to spend time with Sam! They had the same nanny and were on the same schedule...many of the pics we have from the SWI have the two of them together. The Wyss family will also always hold a very special place in our hearts!!


Sam's big sister Emma and little sis Lucy!







Our adoption agency, CCAI is located in Colorado and we were happy to be able to visit them in person for the first time. They were celebrating their 20th anniversary last week and that's part of the reason we chose this time to visit. 2 decades and 10,000 children orphaned no more! Woohoo!



At the CCAI reunion, we were also able to meet up with some other )out of state)Hengdong sisters. Ella was thrilled to make this connection, too! In the background is Josh, the founder of CCAI.


Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park!!



















Thankful for this much needed vacation!! Thankful for being able to see the beauty of Colorado for the first time and thankful for the time spent with special friends!!

Welcome to our blog! We are happy for you to be a part of our "Day by Day" and to share how God is working in our lives. To read earlier posts, scroll down to the very bottom of the page and you can click on 'older posts'. Remember...we love to hear from YOU as well!