Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Full Heart.

This morning I received a call from the Branch Director of our adoption agency. She was just checking in and wanting to encourage us in these early stages of our home study. She recalled how excited she was to move our names from the "Potential Family" white board to the "In Process" white board. She then told me about a recent file for a young child in China with limb difference and how each time she comes across a new file like that, she thinks of our family. She encouraged us to keep working hard on our fundraising so that we are able to accept a referral as soon as our dossier is submitted in August (we will need to write a $13,000 check to send in along with our acceptance). As I began to crunch the numbers in my head, I felt fear slowly start to creep it's slimy fingers into my heart. 

After the phone call I ran across town to pick Sawyer up from preschool. As we were walking to the car he was recalling his morning in chapel and said, "Mom, God's love casts out all fear." With that declaration of truth from my five-year-old I began to feel the grip of fear loosen. I was so thankful for the sweet reminder that because of God's love, I have NOTHING to fear. 

Not two minutes after we walked into the door of our house, I received a message from a family friend we've not seen in quite a while. They felt God calling them to donate to our adoption adventure and wanted our address. 

Fear = Gone. Heart = Full. 

Abba Father is going to get us to China. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!

I'll be honest. This was the first Chinese New Year I actually paid a bit of attention to the fact that it was Chinese New Year. Man, I am excited to be adding this holiday to our family calender! Great food, fun colorful decorations, gifts, and family reunions are just a fraction of the good times had by all during what is also known as, "The First Day of the Great Year." It's crazy to think that next year we could be celebrating as a family of five!!!

Here are some fun facts I found when researching CNY:

Interesting Chinese New Year Facts:
Traditionally Chinese New Year lasted from the last day of the Chinese calendar to the 15th day of the first month.
It is a major Chinese holiday. In countries and territories that have high populations of Chinese, Chinese New Year is also celebrated. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines are only a few.
Chinatowns in other cities also celebrate Chinese New Year.
The exact date of Chinese New Year changes each year because it originated in 2600 B.C. At that time people followed the lunar calendar.
The Chinese New Year is symbolic of letting go of the past and welcoming new beginnings. It's a popular time for spring cleaning.
Each year of the Chinese New Year calendar is named after an animal. This is a 12 year cycle. Once the 12 year cycle is over the animal list begins again. The list in order is: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
As the longest festival in the Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year can last as many as 15 days. Children take an entire month off of school.
It's common for Chinese families to have a reunion dinner the night before Chinese New Year festivities begin.
The decorations used on doors and windows are red colored paper-cuts (made similar to the way we make snowflakes). The themes of these paper-cuts are of happiness, good fortune, longevity and wealth.
Firecrackers are popular during the Chinese New Year. They are thought to scare off evil spirits.
Children receive red envelopes full of money instead of wrapped gifts that other nationalities give at Christmas. The amount they receive is usually an even number. The amount cannot be divisible by four. In Chinese, the number 4 means death.
Dragon dances and street fairs are very popular. Dancers dress up as lions and dragons and perform for onlookers.
One of the traditional treats is a candied crab-apple on a stick.
Since the 1980s China Central TV broadcasts the celebration. This is an evening-long variety style show and it is watched by the entire country.
On the last day of Chinese New Year, everyone carries beautiful paper lanterns and walks along the streets. This is supposed to light the way for the New Year. This day is called Lantern Day.
In Singapore and Malaysia, Lantern Day is their form of Valentine's Day.
On Chinese New Year everyone is a year older. It doesn't matter when you were born; this is like a national birthday.