Thursday, October 27, 2011


This time of year will always be filled with nostalgia for me.
It was four years ago this month that we received word that after 2 years of waiting
we had been matched with a baby girl in China.
Once we were given her basic information and a few photos we had 8 weeks
to prepare for travel. It was a time that is so dear to my heart.
Friends and family showed up to love and support me in ways
that still overwhelm my heart and my mind.

In China it is common for the waitresses to hold your baby while you eat.
She walked all around the restaurant with her and even out into the kitchen
so the cooks could oohh and ahhh at Lilly.
To say they love babies in China is an understatement.
In the United States we never pick up a stranger's baby.
Big No-No.
In China, they do it all the time and if they think your baby is
underdressed for the weather they don't mind letting you know.
Many buildings in China do not have central heat and they bundle their babies
in many layers. If any skin was showing on the babies they were quick to tug and pull to cover
up the exposed area. Remember...these are strangers on the street but they care about these babies.
I found it charming to no end.
I made sure Lilly was totally covered not only to protect her and keep her warm
but also as a sign of respect to the people we saw each day.
Their concern did not annoy me or make me feel judged.
It made me feel cared for.

A rural village just outside of Nanchang.
People were clearly poor in terms of money but looked rich in contentment.

I just loved all the color and aliveness of the streets in China.
I was surprised at how at home I felt there.
I was not ready to rush back home and found myself wishing for more time.

I was scolded by the store manager for taking this picture.
It doesn't matter if you speak the same language...
you KNOW when you are in trouble!

I LOVE this picture.
It really does speak 1000 words, doesn't it?

A beautiful dress we had made for our princess.

Such a good Daddy...introducing her to a food that is still her very favorite.
Just like her mama!!!

Mommy and her little girl.

Lots of mommies and their little girls!
All women that are now my dear friends.
The blessings were greater than I had imagined.
More people to love and be loved by.

Our guide Dennis.
He chose the American name Dennis after Dennis the Menace.
This man could carry passports and birth certificates and dossiers and cash
in a backpack and make it seem like a day at the park.
Something that would turn me into a crazy person.
I would have had to check my bag 100 times to just 'make sure'
that the papers I just checked on were still there. I tend to make my
traveling companions a little nervous with all that checking
and yet they know I always have it covered.

Her first bath at home.
Home....what a word.

Lilly's first Christmas.
Any gift wrapped in paper will pale in comparison to the gift we recieved that Christmas.
I remember arriving home from China on the 16th of December
and having no presents for my older kids.
So it was off to the mall with my new baby in her carrier.
I was sitting with my mother in the food court giving Lilly her first taste of pizza when I
started to become aware of everyone around me. I saw one family in particular that really stood out.
They were still in their heavy coats, there wasn't a smile among them. The husband was grumbling at the wife and the wife was grumbling at the kids.
They were laden with bags and bags and bags.
Full of stuff.
I guarantee none of it was important or sacred in anyway.
I suspect it may have been paid for with plastic.
My thoughts were a combination of sadness, frustration and maybe a little anger.
How have we gotten so far off track?
How is it that one day I am standing in my daughter's first home...
an orphanage.
Cribs that were filled up the very same day they were emptied with
little girls leaving to go to their new and forever families.
Filled up with more babies without parents to love and protect them.
Shards of glass around barred windows.
Clothes drying over bushes because they had no clothesline.
And no heat.
And not enough food.
I don't propose that I have a solution but it sure does make me think.
What is that we could be doing that we are not doing?
How could we shop for useless things when
babies don't have food or families?
How do I inspire people to action without making them feel guilty?
So many questions....not enough answers.
But I will continue to ask and hopefully live my way into
 serving this calling on my heart.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thank You Oprah and Lisa Ling

Lilly and I getting ready to climb some very steep steps at a local State Park.
She may be more ready for this than I am!
How hard is it to move around when you weigh 34 pounds with zero fat?!?!

It looks like Lilly but it is actually a squirrel.

See what I was saying....wayyyy ahead of me!

Learning how to fly

First thought when I see this...she needs her bangs trimmed.
I really need to be better about that.
Second thought....could she be any prettier????
I think not.
After writing that just now I realize that my second thought
should have been my first thought.
Why do we do that?
Why do we see what needs to be fixed or what is wrong.
I need to work on that.

There are so many things about Lilly that I adore but this picture makes me think how she is always up for anything. She loves adventures and loves to go places and loves to stay home. She loves to take walks in the woods with the dog and she loves to come home and cozy up on the couch and have tea parties. Sometimes she wants to watch Nick Jr. for what she calls her 'kids shows' but there are times that she actually ASKS to watch Oprah. I kid you not. I love this because it shows me how deep and wise she is but also because it was one of Oprah's shows that prompted our decision to adopt Lilly. My reason for wanting to meet Oprah is not because she is famous or rich but to say Thank you.
Thank you to her and to Lisa Ling because it was Lisa's investigative report that was on Oprah that day. Those are the two people I would most like to meet. Sometimes I think back to Lisa Ling being on a plane to China with her film crew. Did she realize the full impact of what could happen as a result of doing this show? Does she have any idea the decision to do that changed the course of so many lives? I would just love to sit down with her and tell her our story and thank her.
Lilly joining our family is beyond any blessing
I could have ever imagined.
Oprah often says that God dreams a bigger dream for us than we could ever dream for ourselves.
She is so very right.
Lilly.....I love you. Being your mother is such a great joy. You bring happiness wherever you go. People are taken in by your beauty but when they take the time to talk with you they realize that your beauty radiates from the inside to the outside. You are not a surface beauty. You are deep and kind and smart and compassionate and generous and thoughtful and so funny.
Thank you Oprah.
Thank you Lisa Ling.
Thank you Children's Hope International
and thank you to Lilly's first family
and thank you to the aunties at her orphanage that cared for her before we came to China.
I keep all of you close to my heart and in my prayers.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Have you ever walked a llama?

Llamas make me laugh. What a face.
Heidi got the llama that likes to kiss.
Getting ready for a trek. I wish I could wear Hello Kitty polka dot boots and look that cute.
Twins, brothers, clones?
Nope....father and son.
This is where we stopped and ate our snack.
We live in an area that has an abundance of waterfalls.
I always think that is so special.
This is Dawn unpacking our snacks. She and her husband John taught us so much about llamas.
I love to have fun and learn at the same time.
They are both very  kind and generous and we had such a good time.
It is always so inspiring to meet people who are doing something that
they love and are passionate about.
Smile everybody.

I highly recommend visiting John and Dawn and learning about the llamas and taking a trek with them. It was unique, educational and fun.
Are you worried they will spit on you?
You will learn that they rarely do that...mostly to each other.
The llamas are timid and shy but they are not high strung.
After the trek they have a small gift shop with some beautiful photographs and unique jewelery as well as llama related items. We purchased a little llama Christmas tree ornament that Dawn's mother made from fiber from the llamas. I love to have ornaments that remind us of special times. So much more meaningful than anything you can purchase at Target.
Right? Right.
It was so enjoyable and I am so glad we made the time to do this as a family.
It is really important to set aside time to make
memories with your loved ones.
And of course take pictures.
It is the memories that sustain us when all is said and done.

You can learn more about the Bishop family and their llamas here.
Make a reservation today!
You will be glad you did!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Desk for Sale!

Painted a soft creamy 'enamelware blue' by Martha Stewart, drawers lined with vintage maps and waiting to find a new home. I can paint a chair to match but the stool is original to the desk and they should stay together.

Monday, May 9, 2011

LOVE this!!!

Please hurry over here and have a feast for your eyes and then buy something lovely to make you feel pretty and sexy! Jeanne is sooooooooooooo talented. sooooooooooooo pretty. sooooooooooo sweet. soooooooo real. soooooooo inspspiring. Check it out!

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patrick's Day at Wegman's

Yesterday afternoon I was getting groceries and when I walked in I noticed the sound of bagpipes. It seemed too clear and too loud to be coming from the radio. I got my cart and headed for the produce area and sure enough...this is what I see. A real live bagpipe player and to top that they were giving away samples of Irish beer. This grocery store is phenomenal. Their customer service is extraordinary. If it is raining they have people follow you out to your car holding umbrellas for you so you can get your groceries and yourself into the car and stay as dry as possible.
They have ready to eat food that surpasses most restuarants. They have excellent produce. A huge selection of just about everything. If you are looking for any type of ethnic food then just head to Wegman's.
They have a coffee shop, gelato, sushi, pasta bar, burrito bar, Chinese food, Indian food, soup, subs, pizza. If you want fresh seafood you can pick it from the case and they will cook it for you on the spot. Oh and the bread............don't even get me started on the bread......D.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s.
 Wegman's is not a grocery store it is an experience. Occasionally, I will shop somewhere else but whenever I do I am always reminded that getting groceries is actually a chore. Wegman's makes it so enjoyable.
When I think about leaving the area (which I do, frequently) I think about how much I would miss Wegmans'.
Isn't that funny? Does anyone else have a grocery store this amazing? A grocery store so wonderful that you wonder if you should move? That says alot doesn't it? 
I wouldn't normally blog about groceries but seriously, how can I not?
Bagpipes, Beer and Groceries on a Thrusday afternoon?
It just feels so thoughtful, so unique and it makes me want to sing their praises.
Plus, my roots are Irish so I feel extra special....being Irish just feels so special doesn't it?
Thanks Wegman' are simply the best of the best.
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