Thursday, December 31, 2009

Many wishes...


Bring on 2010!!!! I feel changes in the air...Hope to post some news soon!

God bless you all! Keep Jesus near and dear to your hearts.

Love you all!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2 8-14

May you all have a JOYFUL Christmas!!! Here are some snap shots of our Christmas festivities... Enjoy!

Big brother hugs! Trevor trimming the tree.
Rachel Catherine waiting to go on stage with her dance group.

This is a Halloween photo of Linz...Too cute not to add and I am WAY behind on posting family pics!!

Rachel dressing up as "Rachel from the bible" for her class fall party. Rachel attends a Christian school so they were asked to dress as a bible character.
Trevor getting caught with a camera shot.
Rachel after her dance was finished...whew!
Linzhi waiting to go on stage too...A little bored.
Dancing friends..
CJ and Trev playing pool at Grandma Sharon and Grandpa willie's house.
Best friends.
Linzhi, Rachel and Lauren.
Lu Belle.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Be still my heart...

We decided to send Madelyn's orphanage two Christmas cakes as a token of our appreciation and to wish everyone a Merry Christmas...There's no way I could have let this precious holiday go by without sending our girl a little love from her family.

Friday, I sent our response to USCI$. Before the paperwork left my hands, I prayed over every item in my express package. I asked God to bless our home study, approvals, statements, etc.. This is our final shot at bringing our sweet daughter home. CJ and I both feel God's hands in this long lasting hiccup, we continue to be hopeful and full of faith that God's will is for her to be ours!!! PLEASE LORD, let it be us!

We are utterly delighted to be blessed with new pictures of Madelyn. I look in her eyes and I see my daughter. I pray, we will meet soon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Oh boy!

Well, it looks like our Chinese exchange student is indeed coming in January, 2010! I just got off the phone with the principal and there is one child that would like to come to the USA NOW! So, Pastor B called us first...YIPPEE!!!!

We know that he is not a Christian yet BUT this organization is Christian based which means the students and parents know and want to be introduced to Christianity. I am so excited!!!

I pray this sweet young man leaves our home in June with the spirit of JESUS alive in his heart and soul. I pray the Lord guides us as exchange parents/family to give him what he needs to know Christ. I thank GOD we have Trevor here to show him around and act as his Christian brother....Oh boy! Did I need this awesome news today, I love watching the Lord work in the lives of HIS believers.

Man, am I excited!!!!

Oh yeah, we're moving in January too... oh well, it's all good... =) LOL... I love when things move fast!!!

Come on sweet Jesus, bring us our Madelyn!!!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just words...

Oh how I wish I could write some fabulous adoption news...But as it stands we are still in the waiting phase with USC!S. I can feel my love for Madelyn growing everyday and my faith and trust is still firm...But man, I wish I had approval papers in my hand! The Lord has revealed to me/us so many strengths I never thought I was built with, it amazes me how steadfast I've been...2 years ago with Linzhi's adoption...Not so much! I was a nervous Nelly about everything!

I truly feel once the decision has been made and we can then move forward with life, it just feels like constant limbo. I am only speaking about the adoption, not life with my other children, husband and family. However, at times during the day when I absolutely will not let fear or anxiety threaten the chance of taking away any special moment with regular life, I still let my mind go to Wuhan, China. I still allow myself to day dream about her and the day we'll (by the Grace of God) meet her. I picture her rosy cheeks and sweet smile with her piggy tails. I can see me holding her (if she'll let me) or walking hand and hand with CJ...I even go as far as walking her into her new school with Rachel one day. I go there because it makes me realize that God will make all of this happen IF it's His will for Madelyn and our family.

This blog is a great tool for me to get it out...All of it! I am struggling with refraining from sending her another care package or cake. My head tells me not to even entertain the thought because it may cause more disappointment if we do indeed get denied...But my heart, my Mama's heart wants to send her a little present just to let her know we still love her and want her. I will not do it because it would be too selfish of me but it's been over 8 weeks since we sent anything and I'm afraid she thinks we've lost interest or something...She could be feeling the exact opposite but I will never know. Steadfast...Steadfast...Steadfast...

I came across this verse during my bible study yesterday..

"We have this HOPE as an ANCHOR for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where JESUS, who went before us, has entered on our behalf."

Hebrews 6 19-20

Jesus is our anchor, he holds us steady every single day, good or bad, He is there holding us when we can't hold on anymore. I am not just stating this because of this hiccup with USC!S, I am talking about life period!

My poor cousin who is desperately trying every avenue to save her life, keeps getting bad news left and right. I have no idea how her life will unfold, I want to give her words of hope and encouragement but how can I ever know and pretend to know what she's feeling when she looks in the eyes of her 5 children. I am completely at a loss for words when it comes to her. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer over a year ago, there was an action plan... Surgery, Chemo, radiation, reconstruction...HOPE! Now, things are changing again for her and it's not the best news we've been on our knees praying for. I was talking to my mother the other day and told her while I pray and pray for Lindsay and healing, I quietly as God not to forget my Madelyn. I had guilt for continuing to pray for our adoption when Lindsay could very well be facing death to cancer. My mom said this " We all have our own crosses to carry and in fact, it's the cross and what it represents that can heal us and bless us, no matter the out come." I know God has not forgotten Madelyn or our request to be her parents and I know HE will heal Lindsay whether it's in His arms or here on earth in ours.

Then there's our new house! Yes, we're moving and I did have a post up about it but took it down because some weido guy left a very strange comment and it freaked me out. But yes, I have to plan and pack to move from our 2400 sq ft house to a 4200 sq ft. house! It is literally around the corner from our current home and we are so excited about more space!!! I never thought having a mudroom and finished basement would bring me so much joy!!! LOL!!! Not to mention all the extra bedrooms that I pray we fill with Chinese exchange students and more angels from China that we get to call our kids!!!! We'll see, right? I mean come on, we need to get this current adoption done! I'm telling you, mark my words (I pray)...Linzhi insists she has a brother "William" in China! I don't doubt her but God will have to pave the way again...So we shall see????

In closing, I want to thank my Lord, my salvation, my hero, my strength, my friend JESUS for giving me so many unimaginable blessings that has been given to me throughout my life thus far. I am not mad or questioning Him about this nightmare with USC!S. I am so thankful for His power over it all. I delight in knowing our God is bigger and greater than any government or anything that claims so much power...They don't stand a chance next to the creator! Can I get an AMEN on that!!! =)

Again, these are just words...Therapy, I guess...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Praise Jesus!

Ok, I am just jumping for JOY!!!! My cousin Lindsay met with her oncologist this afternoon and he words are this..."This is not a death sentence"....That statement is off the table!

There is a cancerous spot at the bottom of her spine that needs to be removed ASAP. What they will do is open her back up, biopsy it on the spot, then they will remove that part of her spine and replace it with a metal rod. Wanna hear the best part...NO CHEMO!!!!!!! She will only require radiation!!!

So now, we continue to pray for her appointment with the Neurologist. This is when they will discuss surgery date, etc... Her oncologist wants this done before Christmas.

When I spoke with her on the phone, I kept asking the same questions... "Does your doctor have hope?" Her answer... YES, Then I asked "Lindsay, do you have hope?" Her answer...YES!!! The relief in her voice was so apparent...Oh what a Great God we serve!

Yes, she's got an uphill battle but she also has HOPE. Thank you JESUS!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lord hear our prayers...

I am at a loss for words again. My precious cousin Lindsay is in the middle of a terrible storm. Her cancer is back. Our family heard the news this past weekend that her cancer has metathesized to her bones. I am begging God to heal her here on earth so she can be the mama to her five children that she loves so very much. I can't imagine what is going through her husbands mind? Her mind?

She is 31 years old. PLEASE GOD SPARE HER, PLEASE!!!!

The doctors say "not much time" BUT God is bigger than TIME and CANCER. I am praying for a Christmas miracle.

Will you join me?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Please keep praying!

It's not easy for me to ask for help but I have to tell you, all of your prayers are working!!! PLEASE keep praying for our sweet Madelyn and that God's purpose will be glorified. I can't wait to post the entire story from start to finish but it's not finished yet...We're persevering and hopeful...And I am so grateful to all of you for lifting us in your prayers!

2 weeks ago... I.SURRENDERED. I have never in my life completely let it go like this. My heart and mind are in the state of being steadfast and thankful.

USCI$ has been nothing but kind and generous to us the last few weeks, a far cry from what it was like in October. I can't explain and will not even try to explain why there's been a shift lately because it's all GOD and his glorious works. We are not approved yet but honestly, I feel HIM working for Madelyn and what's best for her. I pray, we're in His plan for her life. I pray, I'll be brushing her hair and getting her ready for school one day. I pray I'll be able to see her being loved on my her daddy. I pray I will see her playing Polly Pockets with her little sissy's. I pray I will see her big brother scoop her up for a big Trevor bear hug. I pray that I will be blessed one day to hear her call me mama. I pray for my Madelyn all the time. I pray that in her lifetime she will know the grace and love of Jesus.

Please keep's working!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2 year Gotcha Day!

Two years ago today, we were blessed with a bundle of Linzhi love! I remember that day so vividly...I can still feel the cold air hitting my face the day we left for the civil affairs office in Nanjing, China. It was so cold that day but the minute she was placed in my arms, I felt nothing but her. I remember holding her and the smell of her skin was so sweet and her breath had a hint of garlic because they had just taken her to lunch before she came to us. Oh my what a day! As I'm typing this, she is next to me playing with her toys, in her room, in her forever home safe and sound with her forever family. I thank God everyday for the sweet blessing of Linzhi Rose Xiao Li.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy birthday Rachel Catherine!

I love this picture of Rachel, it captures her personality perfectly! My sweet baby will turn six on Sunday the 15th. We have a weekend planned full of fun so I wanted to get a post up today.

Oh how I remember the day this precious baby entered our world. I wish I could go back and do it all over again...I would love to hold that tiny little baby again...Just once!!!

So in celebration of our little sweetie...Here's a 10 fun facts about Rachel Cate!

Rachel loves....

1. All animals, especially horses and dogs.
2. Hannah Montana, iCarly and Arthur.
3. Summer and swimming.
4. Trees and flowers and little bugs.
5. finding little treasures in the house, little tiny nothings but to Rachel it's a
6. JEWELRY!!! All kinds all colors!
7. School and all her friends.
8. Writing letters and sounding out words.
9. Nail polish and make-up.
10. Jesus!

Happy birthday day baby girl!

PS. Thank you all for your sweet comments and emails regarding our current situation with USC!S. I can feel God's hands all over this as you all covered us in prayer!! KEEP IT UP!!! It's working! I feel we are etching away at this and it may be resolved soon! Love you all!!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

And the nightmare continues....

I've been bottling this up as best as I can. I have talked about this with a few people because I honestly do not have the strength for all of the questions that ultimately bring me to tears. CJ and I are currently in a continual nightmare with USCI$. A decision on our application was rendered then revised. As of yesterday, we were told by our lovely social worker who dropped the ball in the first place that more evidence is going to be needed on my behalf from my divorce that was finalized 12 years ago. Praise God my former spouse and his wife as agreed to whatever I need in order to get this situation resolved. I am not kidding when I say, we have jumped though many hoops to appease USCI$. But as of yesterday, we are losing hope in this situation. I promised God back in April that if we did indeed receive our PA from China that I would be patient, hopeful, trusting, etc... But I'm human and I'm not sure what direction this is going in...I am not angry, I am not asking "why us God" I am thankful for all the many blessings He has given us and I am thankful for the sacrifice that He gave for me. We whole heartily believe in God's will, we do not want to live outside of His will, We are keeping our eyes to Him always but let me tell you my friends, it is very, very hard to see a light at the end of this tunnel. All we think about is Madelyn and what's best for her and my heart aches because it may not include us. I am regretful that we sent her care packages. I am sick thinking she believes we are coming and at this moment I'm not sure it's going to happen.

We are so grateful for the number of people who have stepped up on our behalf. Matt at Senator Dick Durbin's office, my good friend Suzy that knows lots of people in the right places, Trevor's dad Chris and his wife Julie, Rod at church, CJ's former spouse, my friend Malissa, friends and family that have lifted us in prayer (please continue), my Mother-in-law and father-in-law, my mom and siblings, etc... Thank you!

I never imagined this major storm from USCI$. We were approved so quickly with Linzhi that this situation totally blind sided us. And I'm not saying I expected this adoption to be without a hiccup here or there but to the degree USCI$ is taking this, is beyond what we expected, they are treating us like criminals. And let me clarify, neither of us have a criminal, domestic, drug or alcohol, abusive, etc... background...NOTHING! USCI$ is hammering us on verbiage that is stated in both of our prior divorces. We have had ample statements from other government offices and supporting documents to clarify but it's not enough. So we have no idea what else to send in to clarify this common divorce verbiage. If we had a shady background, I would understand but that's not the case so it's even harder to understand. I am laying this all out because we need desperate prayers. I am looking at Madelyn's picture begging God for the honor of being her mother, CJ to be her father, our home to be her home, Rachel and Linzhi to be her sisters, Trevor to be her brother...But we have no guarantee we are seeking God's will which we believe it's God making the decision, not USCI$.

For the last 90 days, I have had many good and positive days and some dark and scary days. Today is a scary day. So on that note, I'm going to personalize one of my favorite scripture verses...

I will trust in the Lord with all of my heart and soul, I will not lean on my own understandings, In all of my ways I will acknowledge and thank HIM because I have faith and BELIEVE HE will make this path straight.

As this unfolds, I will keep you all posted. If you think of Madelyn and our family. Prayer is powerful, prayer is uplifting, prayer heals, prayer comforts, prayer is all we have.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My sweetie is home from China! The team he traveled with successfully delivered 10,000 bibles across the border into mainland China. I am so proud of him and all the others that worked so hard. PRAISE JESUS!!!! Thank you for all your prayers and private emails. I will post some pictures soon.

Below is a picture I took of my girlies. Something about it grabs my heart. I see pure happiness in lovely Linzhi's eyes and in Rachel, I see the beautiful '"got your back" big sister look in her eyes. I love my babies...All four of them...Trev, Mady, Rachel and Linzhi!!! And my hubby too!

I. am. blessed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not going private yet...

Ok, I'm a big dork but due to a few family members that shall remain nameless, expressed "it's too hard to log into your blog when it's private" asked me to old off a bit until I can walk them through it. So, I will keep you posted but for now it's will remain open.

Many have emailed and asked if we were ok. My husband is fine but on the adoption front we have hit a major wall. As much as I want to I cannot talk or write about it but let me tell you this...We are in the eye of a storm. God showed up BIG time last night to give me confirmation to keep moving forward so that is what we are doing. And I give BIG props to Chin@ for being very kind and generous.

Please pray for us and Madelyn. Some days, I want to crawl in a ball and die but as of yesterday, my hope has been renewed.

Thank you for all of your concern. Love you all!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Going private...again...

I have decided I am going to go private again. If you follow my blog and would like an invite to view, please email me at


Monday, October 19, 2009

On Hiatus.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day one.

As I am sitting here watching the Bears game, my husband is walking with bibles packed in his bags to smuggle across the border into mainland China. He, along with 10 others will make this 5 mile trip 3-4 times each day, walking 15-20 miles per day. Each time I think of him my stomach drops. I know the team is being watched by our heavenly father and I am keeping the faith here and lighting my candle every night praying for my sweet hubby until he is home. My heart is heavy thinking of all the Chinese people that wait and pray for their own bible so that they too will know the power of Christ's love. My personal prayer is for the birth families of my sweet babies Madelyn and Linzhi, I pray a bible is placed in their hands one day or that they already have one and their lives are being transformed and renewed. I know my husband signed up for this mission with the same purpose in mind. He told me today on the phone, these people are Linzhi's people and I could tell he was grateful to give back to the country that has given us so much JOY in our girls. If you think of it at night while it's day time in China, please pray the borders are open and they can get across with no issues...No issues means MORE bibles in China!!!

God is so very good.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Missing our guy...But staying busy!

Thank you Jesus! I heard from CJ via text and email that they made it safe and sound to Hong Kong!!!! Thank you for all your prayers! We sure miss him!! The girls are showing how much they miss their daddy in different ways. For instance, Linzhi is very, very sad. She will stop and cry throughout the day asking when daddy is coming home. Below is a picture that sums up her mood the last couple of days. My sweet girl has a broken heart.

Rachel on the other hand has decided she's going to become a bit of a stinker, a pretty little stinker but a stinker for sure. This picture perfectly captures her mood the last couple of days...So I've been...LOL...CRY....LOL....CRY....Beg God for get the picture, right???

Trevor has been a GOD send to his mama. He's been a great help with the dogs and the girlies. It's cute how he corrects them if they get out of line. He's even given me a few extra hugs (much needed I must say). I love my boy!

Took the girls to the farmer's market and took these cute pics..Here's miss Linzhi Lu.

And...Miss Rachel Cate.

I threw this picture in of me because my darling Rachel snapped it of me as I was reminding her the new color books and crayons are for everyone...For the 4th time. When she snapped the picture I broke out in complete laughter otherwise, I would have bawled!! Both girls were in bed by 7:15P for good reason. We had Trevor's brother and sister (dad's kids) spend the night and Rachel did not get enough sleep and poor Miss Linzhi is not only sad about daddy but she has come own with a yucky cold.

Here's a self portrait Rachel took of herself after mama had the discussion about the crayons. This child is missing her daddy too and is expressing it the only way she knows how...He face says it all!

I LOVE this picture! I came home from dropping CJ and Rod off at the airport and walked in on my girls rolling dice with grandma and grandpa!!! How cute is that! I love Linzhi and Rachel's expressions. PRICELESS! Linzhi has the looked of "busted" and Rachel has the look of "don't bother me I'm on a roll" Actually, grandma was teaching them "bunko"

I've got lots of things planned the next few weeks to keep their minds off of missing daddy, so more pictures to come...
God bless,

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Redirecting my energy.

As most of you know, we are STILL awaiting our approval from USCI$ in order to get our documents to China (DTC). We are now past 60 days and yes, we had an issue come up that we needed to supply additional paperwork to clarify...So to say I'm a nervous wreck would be a slight understatement. I have some dear friends that are going through similar issues that I'm praying for all of them as well. So yesterday, I was driving aimlessly around town to kill time before picking up Rachel from school and I just finally surrendered my heart and anxiety on my precious Jesus. To be real here, I have not been myself for the last month. On Sept. 4th, we got an email from USCI$ and Karla at Lifeline with some disturbing news that our application was in question, my heart sank and it has not returned to it's normal place since then. I was sick with fear through CJ's 20th class reunion, our wedding anniversary, our weekend getaway for our anniversary, a wedding, a 50th birthday, another wedding, Trevor's homecoming, dance class, field trips, etc.... You get the point. I allowed fear, anxiety, worry, wonder, my pride (how dare they question us???) get in the way of enjoying my present life with my kids and husband. I must say though, I'm pretty good at keeping it together for the sake of my kids but at night I would dump my heart and soul on CJ, I would either cry or convey my frustration and the "What if's" if by chance we are denied. IT. WAS. AGONY. (and it may hit me again). But as of yesterday afternoon, I decided USCI$ is not the determining factor here because the truth is, God is above everything and ultimately, HE decides if we are approved or denied. Period. I trust Him and as much as we would be heartbroken if the decision does not go the way we would like it, I must be faithful and trust that His plan, His will, is what is best for Madelyn and our family. But as a human and a mother, I will be devastated with grief. So, today, my husband leaves for China, I will not let fear and anxiety get in the way our day. I will Trust our best interest is in the hands of God and will continue to pray for all my friends that are waiting or wondering about their approvals (PA, LOA, TA or from USCI$).

So back to yesterday... I got BUSY and redirected my energy on something more productive! We needed to wrap up some final adoption paperchasing things like, family photos and mounting paper so I can make them all pretty to send to CCA@, I also bought laminating stuff (I'm not crafty at all) so God willing I can get it all laminated too...We'll see about that one...LOL... I also got a hold of a local service that will certify and authenticate our approval once it arrives. So I feel like the clouds are lifting and I'm beginning to relax a bit. Sometimes I feel like God puts me in a time out until I decide to get out of HIS chair and let HIM do HIS work, not what I think He should do. I guess, I'm still learning here... Here is the quick family photo we took last night and boy, do I mean quick!

Yeah, the house isn't even in the picture like it was suppose to be...IT was SO cold!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Life. Is. Busy.

Oh my goodness, what a week already! As by beloved husband prepares to leave for China on Thursday for 14 days on a mission trip, I find myself with a laundry list of "honey do" items that he needs to take care of before he leaves. What happened to the independent, working gal that used to run every aspect of her own home without a honey to help her??? Well, I'm not saying I'm a light weight but I must admit, it's wonderful to have a mate/helper/best friend to share my life and all the extra things in life like, furnace filters, tenant issues, oh and a six month old LARGE puppy named Russ... so needless to say...I'm gonna miss him!

Our understanding is we are not allowed to post any information on the purpose of the mission in China, all I can say it has to do with the delivery of bibles. Please keep my honey and the other people involved in your prayers, please pray the Lord opens the borders so they can get in and out with ease. As much as I can I will keep you posted. CJ does plan on sending me pictures of their journey however I will not put any captions as to where they are located. God is such an awesome God! I am just so thankful China is getting the opportunity to hear the Gospel. So on that note, I want to add another prayer request for the people in China and that they may find Hope, comfort and salvation in the ONE who gave it all away so that we may live. I am truly in awe of our Savior. He moves mountains, everyday.

God bless.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

One less...

I am PRAISING the LORD for opening the hearts of another family to Special Needs adoption!

My sweet friend Amanda and her husband Jason have answered the call with open arms and open hearts for a precious little girl from China! Linzhi and Lia are only 2 weeks apart...I'm already planning play dates and trips to China Town!

Amanda is not only my friend, she is also Linzhi's occupational therapist...Not to mention I BABYSAT her many many years ago...Yes, I'm old! LOL...

Amanda has started a beautiful blog to document her adoption journey, please check it out and PRAY for this family as they begin the journey so many of us know.

Here's the link below.

Sown in My Heart: Our Red Thread Chapter 1

Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to my soul mate and best friend. I thank God everyday for you!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Homecoming 2009!

Trevor with all his siblings...Rachel, Morgan, Trev, Bryson an Linzhi Lu (she thinks Bryson is her "boyfriend") My handsome boy with the beautiful Miss Vicki.

Aren't they cute???

My handsome boy, I mean young man. =)

Saturday past was homecoming and since Trevor is home schooled, he couldn't officially go however...He was asked to go as a date! I was thrilled for him because he misses this part of going to school. They had a great time! I am so proud of him and the friends he chooses to hang with because all of them pledge not to drink, smoke, drugs or have pre-marital relations. God has blessed us with a wonderful young man that respects women and treats them as God expects. He will make an awesome husband one day... LOVE you Trevor!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Be still my heart...

Our sweet Madelyn turned 8 years old on Friday the 25th. We sent her a cake and her care package should get there very soon. I can't believe how much older she is starting to look in just a few short months. I can't wait to have her in my arms. We were really praying to be DTC by now but unfortunately we are not.

I am struggling. I can't go into details at this time however, we are needing prayers. I promise to post about this when we are finally DTC but until then if you think of us, please pray. I will keep you posted.

God gave us several signs today reminding us HE's in control and His will will be done. I'm trying to be positive and I don't want to let him down because I promised him five months ago that if we received our PA that I would not question or lose faith no matter what! Believe me, I'm trying...I'm really trying.

It was such a sweet blessing to get these photos of our precious daughter. Her smile always brings tears to my eyes because I yearn for her to be home with her family. We're smitten!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ever thought of adopting from India?

Hello friends...

A fellow adoptive mama contacted me to help her advocate for a sweet little girl in India that has arthrogryposis and desperately needs a forever family. I have to say, she is just precious! Below is a little bio about her. If you are interested or know someone that may, please contact Lisa Henderson for more information @ 509-522-5405

This little cutie was born on 7/2005. She is very observant. She likes to play with the other children in the group and is very active and normal for her age. She has arthrogryposis, and she scoots around using her upper arm strength She can sit without support and stand and walk with support. She can hold objects in her hands and is able to eat on her own. She is receiving regular therapy. She waits for a warm, loving family that has the resources to help her with her needs. India generally prefers families with no more than 3 children in the home, however exceptions are often made for waiting children/children with special needs. Also, a family with experience with arthrogryposis would be great!.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Please help bring Ava home.

I have to say, I love this family. They're on adoption #5 and my goodness are they filled with the love for Christ. If you find it in your heart to give, please click this button. They are close to travel so this is crunch time!!

Blogging tutorial

You can read their story here.

Thank you and God bless!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm still alive!!

I've been gone for too long! It's been a whirlwind the last 10 days, I wish I could explain why but I feel I need to keep my lips sealed until further notice. All is well and it looks like everything will be OK! It does involve the adoption so if you think about us, please include us in your prayers. We're not out of the woods just yet.

Our exchange student will not be coming until January, which I'm a little bummed about but I know there's a reason for the delay.

Rachel and Linzhi are doing just fantastic in school, in fact, the other day Rachel belts out "I LOVE school"! It make my heart dance because I've been secretly waiting for her to say those exact words. Miss Linz is hot stuff at school, I hear from her teachers all the kids LOVE Linzhi!!! She is now one of the older kids so all the little ones adore her. I am just thrilled to see her blossoming!!

I am so proud of my Trevor. He has lost a total of 31 lbs!!!! He is at the gym 4-5 days per week, no soda, no garbage food, etc... He has done a great job and I can tell he is so much more confident and over all happier which makes his mama VERY happy too!

CJ leaves for his mission trip to China on Oct. 15th. He'll be gone 9-10 days total. I plan on blogging his adventure with pictures and text so stay tuned!! It also looks like he will be able to meet our sweet Mady!!! We've got a few hurdles to jump but God willing he'll be meeting her in about a month!

Thank you for your comments and emails asking if I'm ok. I love all my blog friends and thank you so much for loving me back.

God bless!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oh the life...

Here's our big boy Russ!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Getting closer!!!

In this picture, she's holding our letters from her first care package. Bless her heart...I want to squeeze her!!!
I am so excited! Things are just moving so nicely... I800A sent in three weeks ago, then last week I received our appointment to get our biometrics (finger prints). Documents are being authenticated ..YEAH! I love this part for some reason, it's like the major headaches of collecting documents, physicals, fingerprinting (three times), online training modules...etc... It's all behind us now as our dossier is just about complete and soon, very soon we'll be DTC (dossier to China)!!!!

Miss Mady turns 8 on September 25th. I'm putting together her birthday gift/ care package. I've never had an 8 year old little girl so if anyone has any birthday present ideas, please send them my way!

CJ leaves for China in October, we're waiting to see if it can be arranged for him to go visit her. We are on bended knees asking the Lord to come through on this request. However, if it doesn't happen we know there's a good reason and we'll just be patient and wait for our "appointed" time.

Oh BTW...Rachel is doing GREAT in school, she's made new friends and loves her teachers. Mama is doing much better too :-) Now, Miss Linz starts her second year of preschool on Wednesday but just two days a week 8:45 to 3:30. I'll have an update on her first day too.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

UN-break my heart...

Our Rachel started kindergarten last Thursday. I must confess, it's been very hard on me...Rachel a bit too. The first day started with a school assembly in the church sanctuary, it was really sweet and Rachel got into the music and clapping.. As I was watching her I was flooded with memories of just her and me. I've been home with her from day one and while Trev was at school and CJ at work, it was just the two of us, attached at the hip! Four years later, Linzhi joined our twosome and we've had a blast. We then moved into the class room for orientation and organizing our little scholars, sooner than later it was time for us to leave her with her teachers and new classmates (9 boys 3 girls including Rachel)...When all of a sudden Rachel grabs my hand looks up at me as utter the words I have dreaded "mama, please don't leave". I was crushed! Big tears filled her eyes and mine as I picked her up and walked her out to the cubby area, CJ and Linzhi following behind. We smothered her with hugs, kisses and promises of "We'll be back soon", I finally had to say good-bye and walked out with Linzhi (who was crying as well), CJ then walked Rachel back to her desk so she could get adjusted. Apparently, she stopped the tears for daddy and seemed to be just fine when I picked her up 2 hours later.

The second day, she did fine, no tears and I held it together until I walked out of the school, I must admit I did the "ugly" cry in my car and wept for the years that went way too fast. I've done this before with Trevor but it still hurts. I feel like such a cry baby! *sigh* It took a few days of much prayer for me to feel better about her at school and I feel more peace in my heart that this is the right decision for her.

Tomorrow is Monday, I have her lunch packed with a smiley note, book bag ready to go.... I will drop my baby off for 6.5 hours of learning, fun and discovery, all the things we want her to experience. But PLEASE LORD, protect her while she's out of my arms.

Trying to pull it together,
Amy =(

Monday, August 17, 2009

What's in a name?

First of all, I love this picture of Linzhi...Pure Joy!
I have been asked several times from family and friends these questions...What's the meaning of Linzhi name? Why do you spell her name like that? How do you pronounce it?
A. The meaning of Linzhi's name is .. Lin- "fine jade, gem" Zhi- "will, purpose, wisdom"
B. We thought it would be a great way to honor her heritage by giving her a Chinese spelling to an American sounding name AND it's fun to watch people try and pronounce it...KIDDING! (sort of).
C. Linzhi is pronounced like "Lindsay"
What is so amazing to me is how much she is like the meaning of her name, especially "will" . Her will is what makes her achieve all the things we were told she wouldn't be able to do...Her will is making it possible for her to eat a bowl of noodles with a fork, ALL BY HERSELF. This huge victory took almost two years to accomplish!!! The list truly goes on and on... She is my beautiful "gem" and I love her so dearly.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Exchange student update

YES! We are going to be HOST family to a Chinese student! This story is pretty cool... I had some mixed feelings about the first program we were looking into and I was on my knees asking for guidance on where to go what to do. We really want to do this but my gut kept telling me "this program is not for your family" So before we even heard from the pubic school about placement, I declined. Heartbroken but not discouraged because I felt the Lord working and I just let it be (which is super hard for me). I AM NOT KIDDING when within minutes of letting it go (doesn't always work that fast, right?) I went up to check my email and this is what I found. Rachel's principal, Pastor Brad sent this to all the school families... (Cut from email)

Dear Parents, I wanted to forward to you a letter from a Christian Ministry that is bringing in Chinese students to stay in Christian homes & attend Christian Schools. I talked to the president of this ministry today & he is saying that we would be able to have as many Chinese students here as we would like. The board has established that the student's families pay full tuition as well as $4500 per student per school year that goes to the host families($100 per month goes back to the student for spending money). In China, if you preach to a person about Jesus, you will be put in prison. Now they are paying us to bring them into our homes & learn in our Christian schools. If you are interested in hosting a Chinese student or two this year, please reply to this message. Thank you for praying about this opportunity. ~Pastor Brad

Here is the letter from David Benoit:

China's Doors are opening wide for missions please read!

My name is David Benoit I am the President of ACEFI.


Our website is

We have been told by our China contact that we could have as many as 500 applicants for this year.

These students will be screened and tested to insure that they have adequate English Skills.
We are looking for schools that want to be a part of our network. These are paying students who are serious about education. Think about it, we can place thousands of kids from China in America. This is a communistic unchurched nation, yet they are willing to send their students to us knowing they will be placed in Christian homes and Christian schools. Some of these kids will have unbelievable influence and talent.

There is a powerful, underground church in China that is praying that they will have the freedom to worship like us. Who knows what student might come to America in a Christian environment that could answer that prayer. God is opening the doors, will you help us?

We can only imagine what kind of impact this will have on missions in China in the years to come.
If your school is interested in receiving some of our students this year, we would love to have you onboard.
If you are a boarding school or you have good host families, we will find the students and give you all the paperwork to process them very quickly.

David Benoit

How AMAZING is God?!?!? So needless to say, HE had other plans for this young man that will be joining our family on October 1st!

I have so much work to do but I'm thrilled to be doing it, I think it will take my mind off the wait for our Miss Maddie. This week, Trevor and I are cleaning out the office to make a comfy space for our student (I have no name yet so for now it's "student" lol), I'm going to keep it basic so he can decorate how he wants when he gets here (advice from Trevor). Did I mention how awesome and excited Trevor is about this??? Well, he is and honestly we wouldn't do it if his heart wasn't in it because he'll be with student most of the time anyway... I need to finish the application, it's kinda like an adoption application and most importantly I need to start preparing for MADELYN!!! My sweet young lady who is going to turn 8 years old in about 6 weeks. I am so weepy for her lately, I feel pain in my heart because I have no idea what she's thinking about all the changes coming her way, I wish there was a better way to show her how much we love her already and how important she is to our family. We're still waiting to hear back from our agency whether or not CJ will be able to visit her when he's there in October. PLEASE LORD!

I laugh when I try to take a break from blogging, I think I've blogged more since my "break" then I did the entire month of July! LOL...

Have a beautiful Sunday!

Friday, August 7, 2009


Well, I guess I couldn't stay away... Here are a few updates..

Yesterday, Linzhi and I went to Shriners for her check-up. We've decided to be more aggressive with her therapies so it looks like my sweet baby girl will be having her wrist and elbow surgery sometime in early 2010. It's bittersweet. We want her to have the benefits of having more extension in her wrist and elbow but as her mama (and daddy), we fret over her being in any pain or fear...On the other hand, I can't wait to see what she'll do when she has more abilities...LOOK OUT!! =) I'll keep you all posted as we get closer to surgery day.

Also, I'm sending out our I-800A tomorrow!!!! We are so excited!! One more step closer to our young lady in China!! Miss Madelyn turns 8 on September 25th. I was wishing we would be with her to celebrate but it looks like we'll be sending a cake and goodies instead. =)

Rachel has 14 days until Kindergarten!!! I'm so excited for her.. Can you read through my lie??? I am DYING!!!! My baby girl is going off to school!!! Sunday night I was just pitiful! I literally wept while trying to fall asleep. I laid there reminiscing through the last five years of many blessings I've had with her. I am so grateful I was able to stay home with her, I was able to experience so many little moments with her that I will cherish I go again...

Many blessings to you all and enjoy your weekend!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Taking a break...

Taking a blogging break...See you in September!

Of course, I'll post any adoption updates!!

God bless!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I have the WINNERS!!!

Due to our camera issues we were unable to video the drawing. We could have waited until tomorrow but I just couldn't wait any longer... Our grand total through Paypal and personal checks was $2420!!!!

Our entire family is humbled and so grateful for your generosity.

OK...Here we go...

#382- Donnie Statom is the winner of the Vera Bradley Tote bag!!!

#172-Julie George is the winner of the blog makeover!!! (thankfully she has a blog)

#553-Robin and Dave Gove are the winners of the a $50 gift certificate to Wild Olive Trees!!

#1100- Sean, Terry, Michael and Chris Ryan are the winners of the iPod Shuffle!!!!


#891 CATHY JORDAN!!!!!

Congratulations to all and thank you again! Winners will be hearing from me tomorrow!

God bless,
CJ, Amy, Trevor, Rachel and Linzhi

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Possibly adding to our family again???

Yep, you read it right... We may be adding to our family again if it's God's will. We were approached a few weeks ago about hosting a Chinese exchange student for the upcoming school year. After prayer and consideration we decided as a family to move forward in getting more info on students, the program, etc... Trevor has played a major part in this as he will most likely be with the student most of the time, which he was just so thrilled about so that gave me some peace of mind.

I have to brag on Trev here...He has to be the most caring and open minded 16 year old I have ever come across, he is willing to give up some extras in order for us to open our home to a student. I am one proud mama!!!

So where we stand now is more prayer!! Our rep from the exchange program needs to contact our local public HS to see if they have the space for the student. I'm a bit worried because the school is very crowded as it is and I'm afraid they'll decline the student for that reason. If so, our rep said it's up to us to advocate for the student as much as possible...And I will, you can count on it!

I am waiting now for a couple of bios to read through to see if there's a particular teen we feel would fit in our family. We have decided a 16 year old boy would be a better fit so Trev can have a buddy to show around town....Yep, you can say it, we're CRAZY to be possibly adding to our home but what a blessing for our children to have a bilingual Chinese young man in our home to share his culture and language with us. What a BLESSING it would be for Madelyn to have someone here when she comes home that can help her with translating!!!

So, we are PRAYING like crazy for God to make this happen if this is what is will is for this child and our family.

On a side note, this young man is open to attending church... Wouldn't it be AMAZING if he accepted the life as a follower of Jesus Christ!?!?!? I'm just saying....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

In one week, our fundraiser/raffle will come to an end. Thank you so very much to all that contributed not only by purchasing raffle tickets but also, for the support and prayers we have received. God bless you all!!

There's still time to buy those tickets!!! click this link here

PS...Home study has been approved, now it's on the way to the state of IL then finally we can send in our I-800!!!! Things are moving again!! YEAH!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Prayer Warriors needed!


At some point in our lives, we have all been touched by the horrific ripples of cancer. Whether it's through a family member, a friend, or a story that has touched our lives, cancer is a word that makes the strongest of people cringe.

But there is one special lady who has faced this battle head on. Her most powerful tool? The armor of God.

Meet Cindy, an amazing wife of 31 years and a homeschooling Mama to ten (many adopted) beautiful children. Cindy is in the midst of a fierce battle with cancer that has spread.

Click HERE to read a moving post that Cindy titled, It's A Hundred Little Things. This post is filled with Cindy's thoughts and fears about dying as she thinks about her children, her husband and her unending love for our Savior. (Be prepared to have the tears flow!)

Fellow adoptive Mama and lover of Christ, Linny, came up with the idea of a "Blog Fast" for Cindy. You can read, in depth, Linny's beautiful words HERE requesting that we join her.

The bottom line is this:


Would you join me/us?

The Fast: Monday, July 27th

Fast: Breakfast or Lunch or Dinner or All Three

Please, please, please spread the word!

Ask your blog friends to join together with us. Post it on your Facebooks and link it to your Twitter Accounts. Let's flood the Heavens with our prayers.

Please ask your prayer chains, your Bible studies....your prayer groups....your family......all of them....and let's see what God will do!

"A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured." - Mark 1:40


Friday, July 17, 2009

Just what we needed!

God is so awesome! CJ and I needed this today as we had to go back and forth with more paper work dilemmas. HOWEVER, once we saw her precious face enjoying the cake her family sent her to enjoy with her friends...POOF...All the stress and worry was gone and I mean it...Gone! We are just overjoyed to see her eating on her own and cutting the cake by herself, it gives us so much hope for Linzhi and her mobility...Again, another blessing.

I can't believe how much older she already looks...but based on measurements she's only 1/2 inch taller than Rachel! They are 2 years apart in age so she's really just a little pip squeak.

On a side note, CJ is traveling to Hong Kong and Guangzhou in October on a mission trip through the Bible League. We talked to Karla at Lifeline and she reached out to the facilitator in China to see CJ will be able to have a day with Madelyn while he's there. I am praying like crazy for this to happen!! Our hope is that if she gets to meet her daddy then maybe it will take away any anxiety she may be feeling about getting adopted plus so many other wonderful things can happen through that meeting... God has moved so many mountains for this adoption and I know if it's His will, CJ may be meeting our sweetie in less than 3 months!! I will keep you posted!

Have a wonderful weekend...

Enjoy another dose of Miss Maddie!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Discouraged...But HOPEFUL!

Hey All,

I don't like to blog any negative posts but I am very disappointed and I thought I would share since I know MANY of you have been in my shoes...

Our Home study is currently sitting on a supervisors desk just waiting to get approved which we were told was going to happen last week. As of last night, I was told the supervisor has been in meetings and training and our sweet case worker doesn't have any more info to share....So, we wait now even more. I am really trying to stay positive, I've been sending it all up to Jesus and I know HE is in control of this but today and hopefully just today, I'm feeling discouraged to the point of tears. Madelyn knows we're coming so I'm worried she's feeling all kinds of emotions...stress knowing a BIG change is coming, happiness, fear, excitement, etc... I'm concerned for her well being, not physical but emotional. Again, we're all praying for her and the transition that's coming her way. *sigh*

CJ and I have walked this path with Linzhi and we had many hiccups along the way so I get it and I understand all the red tape, approvals, revisions,etc... I know it will all be forgotten once she's in our arms but today this mama is feeling blah about it all so I'm going to move on to some other topics that are exciting!!!

Fundraiser/Raffle update... God is blessing our efforts to raise money for Madelyn's orphanage. We are now at $2, 210!!! We are just so amazed at the generosity of people we know, strangers, blog buddies, business associates, etc... We are so humbled and grateful. THANK YOU!

Linzhi Rose surprised her mama the other day by making her entire bed! She worked so hard on it that her little forehead was sweaty. I love her will and her determination, she will do wonderful things in her life, I just know it!

Rachel has mastered spelling her first name (has for a while) and now her last name...Z's are really hard she says...Her penmanship is very nice. Kindergarten is right around the corner (sniff, sniff) but we are confident she's ready!

CJ and I have joined a committee at Rachel's new school to help raise money to purchase a new school that has been vacated. Rachel's new school is a small Christian school that is split between two churches. We are praying like crazy for God to bless this precious school with a new building, then all the kids can be together. We are thrilled God brought us to this school for our girls. I prayed about homeschooling but I feel it my heart it is not what he's telling me to do at this time so we prayed for a wonderful school and boy, did he deliver! I will keep you posted on our prayer efforts and the school.

Trevor is still trying to find a PT job...No luck. He's been a bit discouraged but I keep reminding him of all the people that have lost their jobs. He understands but I know he wants some pocket $$ for his car and clothes. He told me he's been praying about it...AHHHH, music to my ears... I love that he's a praying young man...what a comfort to know my teenage son is saved. =)

CJ and I have gone down our list of finances, we're in good shape but we want to stay that way so we're cutting where we feel it's wasteful. So, yesterday we went to the local Chevrolet dealership and traded in my lovely Tahoe for a new Traverse, it's a crossover between a mini van and a SUV. I do love the features...Like the curtain airbags, split seats, navigation, etc... But what I really love (besides the safety) is the savings of $200 dollars per month! That's a savings we couldn't pass up. I love my Tahoe but filling it up at the pump nowadays is running us $80-95 dollars each time...That hurts!

Today or tomorrow our sweet Madelyn will be getting a delivery from her loving family. CJ and I decided to send her a little something every 6-8 weeks. We feel since she's almost 8 and is aware of us, it's a good idea to let her know we're still coming for her especially now that the paperwork has come to a temporary halt. So Miss Maddie is getting another cake but this time, it's chocolate!! We also paid extra for digital pictures like last time...So hopefully, we'll get some updated pics next week!

Well, that's about it on my end, it's going to be a lazy day here. Linzhi's not feeling well and it's rainy, it's actually been fall like all week in this neck of the woods so I've been cooking fallish foods...This morning I put a roast in the crock pot and will add some potato's, carrots and onions later on ...It's smells so yummy!

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Time is flying!

Ok, am I the only one feeling summer is going WAY to fast?? I went to Target the other day and started looking through all the school supplies...YIKES! I LOVE summer and for me, time is ticking way too fast. I'm so behind in my blogging because we've been swimming like fish now that we have a pool heater, it's been great! The girls, Trevor and myself swim almost everyday unless it's raining but if it's in the 70's and the pool is in the 80's...We're in!

Russ, known as BIG BOY is doing fantastic! Potty training is going amazingly well and he's so good through the night, he'll hold it until CJ let's him out at 6AM. I am in love with him and he really knows I'm the mama of the house as he nuzzles up to me for comfort and love all the time. CJ too is in love and I think at this point he'll admit it too. Now, Tinker our little yorkie still has a hate/dislike relationship with him however, Russ likes Tinker...It's cute to watch them bond...Well, sort of. =)

Rachel and Linzhi continue to love horseback riding and count the sleeps until we go back to the stables. The Chinese class unfortunately didn't work out for us...I'm rather disappointed. It was very disorganized and WAY above our heads. I think we're going to reconnect when Madelyn comes home, I think it will be good for her but my little girls sat there LOST in translation. Again, disappointed but I'll keep trying to find a place for us.

Trevor is still on the job hunt, no luck at Sub-way and we're finding with the way the economy is it's going to be especially hard for him to find work with all the other people with out work. It's really sad to see and heartbreaking to know how bad things really are. I am so grateful to have a God that reigns and has the US in his hands, I believe we are still a Christian nation and we will rise again and be better than before...Unfortunately, I do not believe it will be within the next four years...Oh my, I didn't mean to get political on ya, but the state of IL. is tanking and I see hardship all the time. to another subject...

We sent Miss Maddie another cake and asked for digital pictures...I just LOVE getting pictures fo her, I feel like with her being almost 8 yrs. We need to send her a little something every 6 weeks so she knows we haven't forgotten her and that we are still coming to get her. I have been very discouraged with the home study process, It's been taking way too long, I am told THIS is the week the adoption agency will finally approve it and then we can move to sending it down to Springfield for their approval, then I can finally send in the I-800. I thought for sure, I would already be past the I-800 point but I guess not. I wanted her home this year but with my calculations, it looks like it's going to be the early part of 2010 that we travel...Again, my calculations...God might have something else up his sleeve...???? He has amazed us through this entire adoption so I will not doubt and lose faith, we'll travel when He decides.

This summer, we also took on some medium sized projects around the house. Last summer was the kitchen, this summer we've replaced almost all the carpet upstairs and just finished gutting the main bathroom upstairs...Gone is the 1970's wall paper and orange sink...We are now looking at a beautiful new floor, sink, faucet, wall color and accessories...I'll post a picture soon. We have also completed our landscape and to come...

Blueberry season is upon us and I am trying to set up a time to go pick with my mom and sisters and this year we'll have an addition...My sister Emily's finance Mike wants to come with us too so it should be a good time. We love Mike! He's a sweet guy that loves my baby sister...I hear wedding bell's soon. Mike just graduated with a degree in architecture and Emily will graduate next May with a degree in architecture as well. So we're looking at a bright future for them...God willing.

Well, I pray I will soon be updating on more exciting adoption news. We really want her home, I feel like I've already connected with her, the updates really help and it's something I wish we had with Linzhi. I know so much more know then I did the first time. I will again work with Joe and Jen at My Adoption Website while we're in China. They do such a fantastic job and what a treasure to give the girls when they're older. I also love having this blog for that reason as well because I am not good at scrap booking or baby book updates so this is just a blessing to have documented.

Hopefully next week I'll post new pics of our Madelyn. Oh, our fundraiser is going AWESOME! Check it out if you haven't already...You may just win! We've raised over $1,500 dollars!!

Hope you're all having a blessed summer!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Intruducing....RUSSELL "Russ"

I am so sorry for the delay... Last Thursday, Trevor and I made a 3 hour round trip drive to pick up the latest addition to our family... Please meet Russ. He is the sweetest black lab puppy I have ever met! He's so obedient and smart, we've only had one accident of pee pee on the kitchen floor because mama wasn't paying attention to his cry. Rachel and I tend to work with him the most, she is teaching him how to sit and stay with treat and I must say she's very good at it! Rachel has a gift when it comes to animals, she's gentle and loving and ALWAYS gives them the benefit of the doubt especially when I see a puddle on the hardwood from a very upset little yorkie that shall remain nameless...LOL... Anyway, I'm sure we'll have more stories on Russ in the future!

Oh, the winners of the little guessing game is...

1st- Sandy Gross
2nd-Sharon Sills


Here's Rachel trying to lift big boy up to give him a hug.
This way worked better!

Getting to know each other.

Ok, too cute for words! I'm hooked!

Action shot! I love my new camera!!!