Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Welcome our Newest Addition...

No it's not another child..come on now....we got a puppy. Jonathon has wanted a German Shepherd well like since he was a little boy and it only took him til he was 18!  LOL - seriously his Dad decided after being totally against us getting another dog after ours passed away a while back to bless Jonathon with his dream dog.  So Friday night the two of them went out to a breeder and bought this beautiful puppy - her name is Jasmine
 



Grace had some one on one play time with her today while everyone was at school
 

She is trying to eat the pompoms off Grace's boots

One happy boy - this was right after they got home!  He won't be holding her like that for long.  She is only 7 weeks old but already 16 pounds!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Be Still My Heart...

Not the best quality photos but I did not realize when I took Grace to ballet this week and costumes came in we would get to check them out all dressed up and watch them show us what they have learned so far of their dance so all I had was my blackberry. 
 
You will still be able to see this little girl is so excited.  No fear.  Just embraced the moment.  She looked adorable and that smile melted my heart.  As she danced and that smile never left I had tears in my eyes.  I am so blessed to be able to have been picked by God to be her mom.  You know people do ask why did you go to China to adopt?  Well it is simple, my daughters Grace and Olivia were there.  Wouldn't you go anywhere God sent you if he told you that had a child waiting.  A little serial as I flipped my calendar over tonight to look at what was ahead for the day tomorrow I was reminded that it was 3 years ago we decided to accept this gift - Grace as our daughter.  I can not even begin to imagine my life without her.  I love you Gracie!
 



Snow!

Last weekend we had a nice little surprise - snow!  Little it was it came and left very quickly.  As in Jonathon missed it because he was in Atlanta with his girlfriend.  Christian I had just dropped off to a movie and by time he got out of movie there was big flakes of snow and the ground covered.  It didn't last long and only got an inch or two but it was fun!  Logan took off down the street so didn't get any photos of him but got some of the girls.  Olivia's first snow here!
 

could you not just pinch her face off?
 

love these girls!


Guy could hardly wait once the snow started for his girls to get home so he could play with them


Love her
 
Can you tell from the ground making this "little" guy about took all our snow....

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Olivia is Reading...

 
Not only has Olivia done an incredible job in learning the English language this past year she has blown us away with how well she is learning to read.  Take a peak.
 
video

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Olivia's Gotcha Day Looked a Little Something Like This...

We had a great time celebrating Olivia's gotcha day.  One year ago we met our beautiful daughter Olivia.  She was a quiet, scared little girl, but very brave.  I remember her biting that bottom lip to keep form crying.  She was a daddy's girl no doubt.  She let me care for her but the love and affection was only shared with her daddy.  This was hard for me and made our bonding take longer than I would have liked.  I wanted to wrap my arms around her day one but she did not want that and I had to let go. It was hard because for Grace our bond was instant!  She embraced me very quickly and was a free spirit and a lot of fun.  Olivia had a more quiet demeanor and was more reserved. Sweet but shy.  She started to come alive quickly but wanted her daddy within eye if not arms length.  She was older and who knows what this little girl had going through her mind.  I had 9 months to fall in love with her she didn't.  I had to learn to love her from a distance and give her what she would allow.  When she was ready to give me love honestly I was resentful.  It was not intentional. I wanted to love her but my heart was hard.  I hated myself for this. I prayed God would help me love her.  She deserved my love.  I knew she was my daughter and loved her so much  before I met her.  I wanted to love her like this now.  We have made huge strides.  Olivia is now as much a momma's girl as a daddy's  - maybe even more of a momma's girl.  There was a transition in a good way when she was in the hospital and it was me she wanted by her side.  It was she and I for 5 days.  We are still not there yet. Olivia is there.  She loves me with all of her heart. She is a gem really. My heart is softening and I pray soon I will be head over heels in love with her.  I love her don't get me wrong and would lay my life down for her. She is so loveable.  She is so innocent, so pure, so full of joy.  She brings life and light into a room.  She has a heart that is full of love and care.  She would give her last toy or her last dollar away.  She has a servant's heart.  She is beautiful inside and out.  Right now  I choose to love and love her well and one day  I know I won't be able help myself but fall on my face in love with her. I'm just keeping it real, there is no magic formula in adoption, you have no idea how the child or you will react, you have to choose love and offer yourself and your child grace along the way.  I am so honored to be her mommy and God is teaching me so much through Olivia. 
 
So Tuesday her teacher let me come to the class and read a book about "gotcha day" and then share a video I made of Olivia and her life in China, her gotcha day and her first year home (I will post that soon) and then I brought Chinese donuts (those were a huge hit!). Olivia loved feeling so special. 
 
On her gotcha day she woke to a balloon - her favorite Tinker bell and tulips - her favorite color pink of course. She was so excited and kept saying it's my gotcha day!
 
 
 
We had some leftover Chinese donuts so we had one for breakfast - why not its a special day!
 
And then we headed to Monkey Joes with her cousins for some fun!






When daddy got home she got a special gift, a new bead for her Pandora bracelet we are building for when she is a bit older.  This time she got a crown since she adores princesses!

 
This one got out of order, but the girls were so excited when they saw Monkey Joe!

We closed our day out with take out Chinese for dinner, some books on adoption day and once again watching her video of the past year - a journey engraved in our hearts.  Thank you God for Olivia and the joy you have brought us in her.  Thank you for your heart for the orphan and for the honor to obey the call to touch and change a life.  In return I am far more blessed than I ever dreamed!  Happy Gotcha Day Olivia Hope-Gao Fisher.  We love you!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Then and Now - What Can Happen in a Year!

The picture on the left is the photo that grabbed my heart in April of 2011
 
The one on the right  is our little girl Olivia 1 year ago as she walked in the government building to meet us. We happened to get there at the same time and she spotted us (from the photos we had sent)  - she never took her eye off of us, but she looked so scared.


The three of us moments after meeting our daughter.  Can you see she looks so scared?
 


she tried to be so brave
 

 and look at her now - she is the essence of JOY!

 Our beautiful daughter is thriving
 
Happy Gotcha Day Olivia Hope-Gao Fisher.  We are so thankful for you!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Simple Feather - A Word of Encouragment

I wrote devotions periodically along with other members of our ministry team.  We publish two a month.  I thought I would share the one here that I wrote this month.  I pray it encourages you.  If you enjoy it you can go to our website at

http://oaksofrighteousnessblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/a-simple-feather/

and click follow and have devotions from our team emailed to you twice a month.


A Simple Feather
By: Dawn Fisher
Psalm 91:4 I will cover you with my feathers, under my wing you will find refuge and your faith will become your shield and your rampart.
It was a brisk fall morning as I headed out for a run.  For me, this was a time of worship and prayer.  Sometimes I had my iPod cranked up and had  to contain my worship as I ran, so I didn’t appear too foolish to those that saw me and so I wouldn’t fall on my face.  This day however, the worship music was on softly and my heart was heavy. I began to pour out my pain before God.  At this time, I was a mother to three boys and my home was filled with what seemed like constant bickering with each other and utter disrespect to me and my husband.  I felt beaten down.  I wondered how many other moms’ felt this way?
I began to pray. “God I cried out, I am so stressed out and wound so tight with all the tension in my life.  I have blown my top more times than I would like to admit.  Why can’t I be patient like you Lord?  I try to and I want to, yet I fail. Will I ever get it right?”
As I was praying a song came on my IPod that spoke of God’s constant, unending love, and how his love never fails and never fades.   It doesn’t matter if we get it right or wrong, succeed or fail, his love is the same.  Really let that penetrate your heart. It struck every cord in mine.   He loves us even when we don’t love ourselves.
Then right in front of me, down from the sky, came a single white feather.  I couldn’t believe it. As I ran, I caught it in my hand.  I looked around, no other feathers, nothing else floating through the sky, no birds.  God quickened my spirit to:
Psalm 91:4 I will cover you with my feathers, under my wings you will find refuge and your faith will become your shield and your rampart. 
I was overwhelmed.   I think He was saying to me that day and wants to say to us mothers and women, who are trying so hard to get it right every day as we juggle all the balls in the air, we need to cut ourselves a little slack.  I felt the Lord go on to say, in this season, I have allowed some of this to go with you. I know it is hard, just as with Job, but it isn’t because I don’t love you, it is because I do. Ladies, He is refining us for what He needs for us to do for Him.  But, we need to remember this verse from Psalm 91:4 and hold it close to our hearts.  He will be covering each of us the whole time. Never think He has abandoned you.  When you feel like you can’t take it any longer, go to Him for He is your safe place, your refuge.  He will never leave you or forsake you even in the midst of the storm.  Your faith is increasing in this.  Hold on to Him tight and He promises to hold on to you. In this place, your faith, dear one, is going to be your rampart, which literally means encircle. It will encircle you, protect you, and it will be your shield for the battle. You will overcome it and be stronger for you are His warrior princesses and in you our God is well pleased.
Prayer: God as we try to honor you in all things, we fall short, we miss it, we mess up as your daughters.  Lord we are hard on ourselves and we carry the weight of the responsibility you have given us as mothers.  We are blessed and we are thankful and we give you praise for our children.  Yet God we need you, we need you every day Lord to strengthen us, equip us and help us love our children well for you.  Lord thank you that you are not surprised by any of this, that you know this a tough job. That you know our hearts and you love us despite our scrapped up knees from all the times we fall.  Thank you God for being there for us every step of the way. Thank you that you are our refuge and that you cover us and build our faith.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year the Year of the Snake!

We had a great day celebrating Chinese New Year.  This was Olivia's first year home in America to celebrate!
 
We spent our day by doing things like reading a Chinese New Year story, coloring Chinese New Year coloring pages and making lanterns and enjoying a snack of oranges for good luck!
 
The girls then dressed up and we went to our favorite local Chinese restaurant to meet up with our local group of families who have also adopted from China.  This restaurant is normally closed on Sunday but celebrated after church their Chinese New Year and then opened their door to us to celebrate ours!  Our group grew from 28 people last year in attendance to 64 this year!!!!
 
Then home to enjoy a few fireworks and sparklers and get their red envelopes with money of course!
 
Olivia

Grace

 I am so blessed by these two, not only sisters but best friends
 
 
oranges for good luck and some candy treats

they made some great traditional dishes and also surprised us with some authentic dishes to try as well



 
 look at all these beautiful kiddos!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

High School Semi-Formal

Christian had semi-formal dance at the high school tonight. So he and his girlfriend and another couple friend of theirs went to dinner at Olive Garden and then to dance, but not before meeting at the house for all us parents to get some pictures.  I think they are going to have a great time.  Christian looked quit handsome and Sydney looked beautiful
 
 






Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Circus was a Hit!

My sister and I took the kids to see the circus last week.  We had a great time.  We had incredible seats right up front.  The kids stayed eyes glued to the show the entire time.  The popcorn and favorite cotton candy were gobbled up as they watched the show.  Lights in hand - Olivia and her pink girly light and Grace and the dragon light of course - arrrh!  Enjoy some shots from our morning.
 


 
 


 
 

yes I can get this big wad of cotton candy in my mouth - problem?