Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jesus' Little Lamb

I am Jesus' little lamb,
Ever glad at heart I am;

For my Shepherd gently guides me,
Knows my need, and well provides me,

Loves me every day the same,
Even calls me by my name.

Day by day, at home away,
Jesus is my Staff and Stay.

When I hunger, Jesus feeds me,
Into pleasant pastures leads me;

When I thirst He bids me go
Where the quiet waters flow.

Who so happy as I am,
Even now, the Shepherd's lamb?

And when my short life is ended,
By His angel host attended

He shall fold me to His breast,
There within His arms to rest.

Truly, the most joy-filled baptism I have ever seen. 

Welcome to the family, Samantha Love. I still can't believe God chose me to be your mommy. I've got the best job on earth. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Everything And More

I don't mean to brag, but...my kid is seriously talented. And good looking! My goodness. Could her smile be any brighter? Her demeanor sweeter? Could she be any more beautiful, inside or out?

I'll answer that. No. Not possible :)

Here she is playing the drum, again. Her repertoire is expanding! She's been hitting the drum from every angle, exploring all the sounds it can make. And, she's discovering that as long as she has her trusty drumstick, anything can be a drum! 

As if that weren't enough, she's picked up a second instrument, as well. Baby girl can ROCK the piano.

And for those of you who may not be music fans, Samantha has something up her sleeve for you, too. Comedy, anyone? Or sweet little girl smiles and giggles? (This first video is full of mostly pity laughs :) She had just been cracking up, but as usual, when the camera came out she was all done...I'll catch a real belly laugh one of these days!)

(Check out that t-shirt! How cool is that?! My friend bought this at a garage sale while we were in BG. What a find!)

And how could I forget! She paints! (Well, she tolerates paint, anyway :) It was a great first try!)

What? Do i have something on my face?
And who could help but love a child who helps clean up after dinner?

She even let me put this cute little bow in her hair yesterday.

Well, to be honest she didn't "technically" know it was there :)

I am absolutely...

totally and completely...

In LOVE...

with my talented, loving, beautiful...

GIFT of a daughter.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for trusting me with her life.

Someone asked for an update on how Sam is sleeping :) Like a champ! 11 or 12 hours a night!!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I want to ask you all again to keep on praying for the kids left behind in Pleven. My adorable, sweet, talented Sam was in their shoes just one month ago. Caged like an animal. Starving. For food, but even more so for love. And now, after less than one month, her life has been changed forever. A true testimony to what love, family, and JESUS can do.

I truly believe God is able to perform miracles again and again for the children of Pleven. He can heal hearts and bodies. He can dry tears. He can drive fears far away. And if we let Him, He can even do this through us.

If you haven't already, please check out this blog post, featuring several BEAUTIFUL and worthy children who are waiting to be carried out of that still very dark place.

Just like Sam did; these kids need us.

They need our prayers.

They need us to keep shouting for them until they have homes.

Maybe even our homes?

Thank you all for your continued love toward me, Sam, and our waiting loved-ones in Bulgaria.

Lots of love to all of you.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Well, all I can say is that Miss Samantha is doing very well! 

I got an unexpected call from the doctor yesterday saying, "I just couldn't wait until Friday to tell you that Samantha's blood work came back looking marvelous!" Did you catch that? MARVELOUS! :) And I might even add, MIRACULOUS! How in the world can a little girl who was starved and neglected for seven years have positively normal lab results? ONLY GOD.

Today we laid low in the apartment. We ate, played, cuddled, ate, cuddled, played, giggled, and...ate. She has another appointment tomorrow, and I would guess she weighs over 26 pounds. Of course, I'll let you know.

And now that I know she has "healthy blood"we can rough house (well, sort of) without having to worry! This girl loves to be tickled, and startled, and bounced and spun. She's a wild child, I tell you!

It won't be long before she gives me a run for my money! Good thing I baby proofed long before she came home. When she's ready, this place is all hers! Run, Sammers, run! (Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself. Maybe we could just start with a little mischief.)

I should really be sleeping.

Love to all of you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Goodbye Fear...Hello Love!

You may remember me mentioning that a certain little someone is terrified of baths. 

In fact. She doesn't even like water to so much as touch her. ESPECIALLY her head.

I tried everything I could think of to make the experience tolerable for her...

But nothing.


It was one of those rare occasions when I was taking a turn in the bathtub. 

Sam was sitting on the floor (not) playing with the toys I'd brought in to entertain her. I slipped into the tub to quickly rinse off when, lo and behold, someone became very curious!

She inched her way closer...and then closer...to see what Mommy was doing. 

(This might be a good place to note that Sam does not usually crawl to get things she wants. If you set her down on the floor and walk into another room to get something, when you return you will find her right where you left her.)

Before I knew it, she had pulled herself up to a stand on the side of the bathtub.
This is obviously a reenactment :)
Then she was leaning over the side of the tub and SPLASHING the water.

Next thing I knew her feet were about to leave the ground...she was ready to DIVE in!!!

So I quickly undressed her and set her in the tub where she splashed and played like this bath was the most fun she's ever had!!

Now, miracle of miracles (!), bath time is Samantha's most favorite time of day. It is incredible to watch her take the initiative to splash the water, lean back and take deep breaths, and wiggle with delight. 

We've even played in the water outside of the tub, just for fun! This is the longest I've ever seen this girl play independently. I think we're onto something here...

Even beyond this victory over water, I have to report that Samantha is blossoming in every way. Truly, she is nothing short of a miracle.

  • She is loving food of every kind.
  • She is smiling more and rocking and ticking less each day.
  • She is learning how to look to Mom for comfort and help.
  • Her adorably squishy feet are firming up from all of the standing up she has been doing. 
  • And she is growing like a weed! Three weeks ago, she looked so fragile that I literally felt I might break her. Today she weighed in at 25 lbs 13 oz. That is a weight gain of almost four pounds!! Her weight is even starting to spread out from her belly to her limbs.

Stepping back and looking at my life (I should say our life) right now, I can hardly believe that God chose me for this job. Seriously.

This life is better and more fulfilling than I could have imagined.

In fact, I feel a bit guilty when people say such nice things to me about what a great thing I'm doing for Sam. Because, in all honestly, being Sam's mommy has hardly been a sacrifice.

I am being blessed, friends. And I am being changed for the good.

I would do this all over again in a heartbeat, having learned what it takes.


His kind.

And I've got love to spare. Right now I'm trading my love for the opportunity to watch Sam come alive.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Love to all of you.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7