Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I have the BEST friends

I really do.

I woke up Thursday morning to my phone ringing. Kip had just left to take Taylor to the bus and thankfully the phone was lying on the floor by my side of the bed. Libby, who is my spiritual mama, broke the devastating news to me about the Chapman family. She wanted me to hear it from her before I heard it anywhere else. Our conversation was brief and I went to my radio and turned it up. It was on KLOVE and there were numerous calls coming in from listeners expressing their sorrow and promising to pray. I recall the next song to play was "Lord, you never let go of me" I just sat there on my floor and sobbed. Deep sobs for a family that I dearly love.

The world of adoption is like a fraternity, of sorts. There is a certain lingo that adoptee parents understand and the world outside of adoption can't comprehend. If I were to say Dossier, LID, PA, DTC, the brown stork, Gotcha some would get it and others would think I slipped into another language. It is kinda like that I guess. I have said it many times before but our heart beats "adoption". And the profound miracle of adoption that God has allowed us to partner with Him forever changed us and also gathered us into a larger family. We have worked hard getting together every personal document known to man, then trusted a FedEx man with these precious documents. Waited again for translation. Again for our DTC. Celebrated our LID. Settled in for a unpredictable wait. Fell in love with a picture. Traveled to the other side of the globe. And walked out of room changed forever by what happened just moments before as our children were placed in our arms and a love unlike any other began to blossom. And would not ever stop growing.

I know that is why my heart hurts so much for the Chapman's. And why the tears won't stop.

In August of 2002, I attended a Steven Curtis Chapman concert. It was there that God whispered to my heart that we were going to adopt from China. Their story of adopting Shaoey captivated my heart and will forever have a special place in our lives. The passion and boldness poured out from another SCC concert is where God spoke to Kip.

A week later we walked in our agreement to pursue adoption. February 24, 2005.
Our daughter was born October 24, 2005.

Our story between February 2005 and June 2006 can be explained as the Great Adventure. I will tell that here one day.

But this is where my friends come in. I am a little long winded and love to give details. So, thanks for hanging in there.

My friends know my story. They have walked beside us. They know our hurts, our disappointments. They have shared our joys, too.

That is why my phone did not stop ringing all day Thursday. The reason why my e-mail box was full. And why my answering machine was flashing when we got home from camp.

They were checking in to make sure we were okay. No, this tragedy didn't affect my physical family of 6, truly Thank You Lord, but it affected my extended family through adoption. They know me well enough to know I would be heart broken. They were heart broken, too. Because we had given them a glimpse into this family called adoption. And simply because a mother's heart knows a mothers heart.

I was walking to my car that day and I felt the Spirit of God whisper to my heart "your friends love you." Peace began to seep into a spirit that was beginning to walk back into the captivity of fear.

Their love and support helped me walk in a limped victory that sad afternoon.

I will never be the same.

Thank you, friends.

I love you back.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I promise I am still here

The Crawford house has been busy and crazy. I promise to post a LOT of pictures and stories to go with them!

Please pray that we Finish Strong .....the saga of a recess teacher continues. But we are claiming VICTORY.

Please continue to pray for the Chapman family. I did meet them in September, I will post that story later too, although they would not recognize us in a group I dearly love this family. My heart is broken for them.

Tatumn is finding SUCCESS on the potty train! CHooCHoo!!

In Him,Steph

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Birthmother day

Today in China there is a lady I have never seen with my eyes or spoken a word to but she has captivated my thoughts and my imagination.

Today, I can not get her out of my heart. And I don't want too.

Today like so many days before I have thanked God for this woman. A woman who carried my daughter in her womb, chose life, and did the hardest thing I could ever imagine. I am left with words that fall flat but an overflowing of gratitude in my heart for this precious woman.

Today I have once again approached the throne of Grace and have asked Him again to "get her". That she would be one in a nation of unbelievers who would find Him. I believe that God can get to her people, her province, her birth family. I sat in a church in Guangzhou and heard from the people of China who love Jesus and are going through their country proclaiming Christ as Lord.

Today I get to hold my daughter who has almond eyes and raven black hair and shower her with kisses. I get to hear her giggle, watch her play, see her run, tuck her in for her nap, put her hair up in piggy-tails. And simply love her.

Today she doesn't realize that she grew in another mommy's tummy. But in my heart. She hasn't asked any hard questions, yet. I pray that I am ready when she does.

Today I know God's plan is Best. That His design of adoption speaks of Christ to me. But today, I really do wish she was bone of bone and flesh of my flesh. I would have treasured feeling her kick in my womb, loved to have held her newborn body. The months that separated our first meeting would have been erased. But it was not to be. And truly, I am okay.

Today I am walking in the victory that God gave us that steamy day in Changsha,China. A frightened, tiny, bald baby girl was placed in our arms and completed our family.

Today, I once again shed a tear for Tatumn's Chinese mommy. It is filled with love and hurt, tenderness and support, and a longing to one day thank her. Oh, Jesus, please get her.

My Mom!

I adore my mom. She is a true servant with a heart that is bigger than she is. And I have the privilege of being her first born.

When I got married the song I wanted played as my mom was escorted to her seat was "Wind beneath my wings" by Bette Midler. The words in that song really summed up my relationship with my mom.

She has always been my cheerleader. Her support has meant more to me than almost anything else in my life.

She makes me laugh, all the time. Sometimes it is at her expense. Not to offend her at all but she has a hearing loss that can at times also be "selective". And then the phrases that she puts together are just hysterical. One time one of my boys asked her if she like "caramel" like on ice-cream" and she answered "yes, grandma (her mom) put her dogs in a kennel." Huh?! Oh, the list can go on and on. She cracks us up! Except at the movies when she doesn't wear her hearing-aid..........
And she gets so tickled when people confuse us for sisters. SHe will blush and get so giddy. It is so funny! She has a youthfulness that is contagoius. I remind myself of that when I want to question the person with my own age. :) Having 4 kids is a lot of work. :)

When we shared with her what God had laid on our hearts about adopting, she was our biggest encourager. Even those dark days in March 2006 she became our Aaron and Hur and held our arms up because the battle was truly to hard to fight on our own.

She is the best play date my kids have ever known. Whether it is the swimming pool, Branson, the movies, World's of Fun, shopping, Oceans of Fun, she is there and a total hoot to be around.

She does become a Citizen Police at times and we have to keep her in check.

Proverbs 31:14 says she "brings food from afar." My mother is the BEST at this. She is the Take-Out Queen. She can go far and bring us home the yummiest food. My husband is amazed at this. He is one who doesn't like to eat out and would rather me make a dinner. But when my mom invites us for dinner, I know I am in for a treat because it is most likely a favorite restaurant's take -out! ( idea from Beth Moore's Wising Up!)

We both have a love of books. We are constantly passing books back and forth. We love reading series books. We love Father Tim in Mitford and would love to spend a day in Mitford. We have endured the Left Behind series, although mom is a couple of books ahead of me. We couldn't read through Joel Rosenberg series " The Last Jihad" fast enough. And our new found favorite is Karen Kingsbury "Redemption", "First Born", and "Sunrise". We love the Baxter family and talk about them like they were dearly loved friends.

Okay, so we are both a little quirky. I get that.

Mom, on this Mother's Day, I just want you to know that I love you with my whole heart. Words fall short when I try to express my appreciation for all you do for my family. The ginormous love the boys have for you would fill the Grand Canyon to overflowing. In their eyes, you are adored and a priceless treasure. Tatumn's little life has been exceedingly blessed all the more because YOU are her grammy. No one else on this planet could ever take that place in her heart. I am beyond thankful to the Father that He chose YOU to fill that place in her heart. I can picture Him as He was fashioning her little life together and whispering over her tiny soul, "Oh wait until you see who your grammy will be! I have picked her out among all the grammy's in this world. You are gonna love her. She has been waiting her whole life to meet you. You will delight in each other." Kip, loves you mom and is filled with a gratitude that has no words. Although, he thinks you are a little on the kooky side at times, he would have you no other way! And mom, your first born knows she has been blessed by your fierce love and protection that chose life for me. Fought hard for me. Today, and all days before and after, I thank you for giving me wind beneath my wings to follow God on this Great Adventure. I love you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

$4.00 a gallon and rising?????!!!!!

I have debated on posting this to the blog but I just heard on the news that gas is going up another .10c tonight. Even though it raised .15c yesterday!UGH! I want you to know that I will not post this again but I feel like I have found a product that would benefit every family's wallet. Below is a letter about how I came across this company. You can read it if you choose too.

The product I am talking about is called Fuelwize. It is Patentened and Registered with the EPA. It has exclusive rights with one company, Livinity. There is a CD that comes with Fuelwize that details how fantastic this product really is. It gets really techno; which is was above my head. All I wanted to know is if I would get better gas mileage. Not about fuel emissions, carbon something or other, and what NASA equipment it has been used in.

So the answer to my question is YES. I took a picture of the computer on my car thingy. (see I am so car savvy!) And it states that I traveled 570 miles on a 22 gallon tank. (2005 Buick Terraza) Which when I did the math was (calculator, please) 25.9 miles per gallon. I was getting 19 to 20 before. Sorry, no picture. (oops!) So, if my math serves me right I am actually getting an extra 3.something gallons per fill-up. Which is close to saving an extra $12 per trip to QT. I could go on and on with monthly savings, yearly and so on but my little math challenged brain can only take so much.

If you would like to check it out click on the link below

The other great thing about these products is that all of them come with a no hassle 30 Day Money Back Guarantee. No questions asked. So, really what do you have to lose? Except for $$$$ at the PUMP!!!

If you are interested, please contact me by e-mail.

Again, I am not a salesman. Just a girl trying to go a little farther on a tight budget.

FYI, I am also using the weight-loss system and LOVING it!!!

(letter below)

Hey Friends. As most of you know Kip and I spent 5 incredible days in Mexico last month. It was a true gift from God to get away and be refreshed. From lying on the beach, being pampered and eating ALL day long, our marriage was strengthened and the winter blues in our souls were swept away.

Why I am writing this is because I believe God also handed us another blessing on the beach in Mexico. We decided that on Monday we would get up early to see the sun rise. All night long and into the morning I kept hearing in my head Lamentations 3:22. Great is His faithfulness, His mercies fall fresh every morning. We made it to the shore line with time to spare and just sat and watched the waves roll in. A sweet little couple walked by and we said a quick hello. A little while later this same couple came up and volunteered to take our picture with the sun rise. I happily accepted because we had taken a bunch of pictures of ourselves holding the camera already! So, we made small talk and found out that they lived about 75 miles west of the Kansas/Colorado border. They are a sweet couple and we instantly hit it off. Long story, a little shorter, they were there because they earned the trip through their company and told us a little about it. We did not think much about it at the time and exchanged e-mails and phone numbers and promised to stay in touch. Well, Wednesday came (sadly) and we headed to the airport. While we were waiting we heard over our shoulders “well there they are!” yes, it our friends Lany and Tom from the beach! We talked a little more and they told us a little more about this company and you could tell they were excited about it!!. They then proceeded to tell us that the founders of this company was on our flight and wanted to know if we would meet them. Along comes this young mom (she is only 2 years older than I am!) and we started talking like we had known each other our whole lives. She gave me an overview of their company and honestly I was impressed on the spot! Impressed with her genuine spirit, her passion for her family and for others, and their products! She told me to check it out when we got home and to e-mail her.

Which I did.

And that is why I am e-mailing you.

This company is truly AMAZING!!! The name of the company is Livinity. It is only 2 years old and it has taken the Direct Sales Association by storm. They are completely debt-free. (Which is a BIG deal for a NEW business) It is a Health and Wellness based company but have products that are energy efficient for your car and products that are chemical free for your home, as well. I will be honest with you; the product that caught my attention was their weight-loss system. Lany has lost over 35lbs and 30 inches on this program! They have a product for Glucose and Diabetics. (they have a Doctor on staff!) Products for fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, acne, and a pain reliever that has gotten great reviews! And the Fuelwize is so needed for these days of gas being close to $4.00 a gallon.

There is a video that I would encourage you to watch. It’s not long, I promise!
Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I am not going to be a crazy stalker girl, I promise! But I will sure miss you when I am walking the beach…………………………….

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Walking Life out

and trying to stay in the Victory Lane.

*Tucker (littlest man) has had a severe asthma attack. He's been home for 2 days.
*He's going to school tomorrow
*Fear and anxiety over littlest man going to school and me being away at
Bible Study.
*First Born in trouble
*Trusting God
*Believing Him

Psalm 44:3It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.

*Walking in it.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Tanner Owen

Tanner Owen is our middle boy. He likes this position in our family. He can either be a big boy or a little boy. His words, not mine. But it melts my heart everytime I hear him say that. It kind of sums up where he is right now in his precious life. He is part big boy. He turned 12 on Wednesday. 12. Tween. He is finishing up his elementary school "career" and will be heading to middle school come fall. Actually come June 9Th when he starts Summer School. Not for enrichment but for him to become comfortable in a new school environment that includes lockers and changing classes. This middle boy does not do change well and after reassuring him that "no we do not hate him" and "no he is not being punished" that it is actually for his good. Mine, too. If I were to send my precious middle son to middle school without the summer school program to get acquainted with his new surroundings both he and I would be a total mess that first day of school. So, its set Summer School, June 9Th. For 3 weeks. He'll be okay.

But he is also a little boy who still plays with his buddy and baby brother, Tucker. They pretend, explore, and ride their scooters like champs. They also share a room. He is a protector of his two younger siblings but can also be found playing laser tag with Tuck or babies with Tatumn. He is tender-hearted and sweet. Naive and witty. Stubborn but loving.

We call him "O" most of the time. Because we have a lot of T names going on and in a moment of frustration or caffeine fog I have been known to go through every T name known to man and still not call them by the right one. So "O" fits. O has also morphed into "owie" or like Tatumn used to call him "ophie". That one made me laugh.

On his mid-term this past week his teacher wrote this.
"Tanner you are having a hard time following the elementary school rules, I think you are ready for middle school rules."


I asked her what exactly that meant because I have read it from many angles to try and make sense of it. I thought that surely that was a good thing, right? But not following rules, especially at recess, is a problem. Only because their rules are pretty strict. Don't kick the ball too high, don't run too fast, don't yell too loud. I am serious. Tanner has gotten in trouble for all of those things.

And because I am going to walk in victory today, I will not go into a past confrontation with a certain recess teacher last year. I won't. Not today. I am claiming Victory over that one. Partly because I came out victorious....there I go. Victory. Walk in it.

His precious teacher, who loves Jesus, assured me that the "baby" rules at elementary school are too confining for him and that the freedom he will gain in middle school will be good for him. Shew! That one made me sweat.

Our baseball games have all been rained out because of the tornadoes that hit our neck of the woods Thursday night. We are fine, although it hit close. God truly had his hand over our neighborhood. Thank you Jesus. So, we are celebrating with our families and best friends tonight with an Ice Cream Buffet! It is always a great time!

My aunt sent Tanner a birthday card (that she hand-made! She rocks!) and this is what it said inside,
"Children in a family are like flowers in a bouquet. There is always one determined to lean in an opposite direction from the way the arrangers desires."

That made me laugh out loud. My little (Not so much anymore) Tanner is that one flower leaning in an opposite direction. He just goes to the beat of his own drummer. If I wanted him to wear khakis to school he would rather wear jeans. (many struggles with this one!) If I told him it was going to rain today, he would say that he saw a ray of sunshine peaking out of the clouds. If I was fixing chicken for dinner, he would rather have hamburgers. If we were going to order pizza, he would have his heart set on Chinese. If we were going to go swimming, he would prefer to go hunting in the woods. Tomato, TomAto. You get it? It is not a bad thing, really.

Although it is a challenge to parent him without loosing my mind and my temper. I am reminded that God's word says to train a child in the way he should go and when he is older he will not depart from it. I am constantly reminded to follow this truth; especially with this middle son. I would break his spirit if I tried to make him something he was not. And not because I always do it perfectly, there have been many tears and lots of frustrations to get to this point. But as I have yielded to God's authority and believed His promise, I trust that my tween boy is in good...God's hands.