Thursday, December 27, 2007

Aly Day!!!!!

Three years ago today, my Mom and Dad Got me and we became a family. We adopted each other while we were in China and I will live with them forever and ever. They will always be my Mommy and Daddy!! Love, Alyson Ming-Lian Swindler

Well, there ya go!! I don't have any pictures to post from Aly's Gotcha Day because I still don't have anything from my old hard drive. (Hopefully we will get all of that done this next week!!) Anyway, please take a moment and stop by our travel website to read about our journey to Alyson and see all of the pictures from our trip!!

I can't even believe we have had her as our precious daughter for THREE YEARS!!!! How amazing our God is to give us such good and wonderful blessings!!!

I am now going to go try to hook up the old video camera so we can watch her Gotcha day video!!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!!

In HIS Mighty Grip~

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Go check this out... stop by my dear hubby's blog and read his latest post. I was actually going to post it to mine, but he beat me to it!! It is beautiful and will bring a tear to your eye!!

Our company made it and we are getting ready to have a late lunch and then make plans to go look at Christmas lights tonight!! WHOOO HOOO...I love to go look at Christmas lights!!!!

Have a wonderful day everyone!!

In HIS Mighty Grip

Saturday, December 22, 2007


My computer is up and running again. I have nothing loaded the old hard drive yet (that will have to wait until after Christmas), but at least I am online!! Anyway, we have company coming in today for Christmas and it is rapidly getting crazy around here, so I wanted to pause and take a minute to wish everyone...
glitter graphics
Free Glitter Graphics
I may or may not be around too much over the next week...time will tell. you know that I will be posting on Aly's Gotcha Day (27th) and her 4th Birthday (29th) and my birthday (31st), but anyway!!!!

Seriously, I hope that you have a wonderful blessed Christmas and that God will bless you with an extra dose of His loving care this coming year!!!!

In HIS Mighty Grip...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Gotcha" One year ago today!!

It's amazing what changes occur in a year. It is hard to imagine our lives without our Liliana Grace MinQin Swindler. She has been in our arms for a year now. She was in our hearts a lot longer than that. The "tiger lily" has blossomed into a beautiful little girl with a little temper and a few tantrums here and there but more than enough love and smiles and laughter to make up for anything that might temporarily drive you batty.
We are sooooo blessed to have both of our girls. God is good all the time and He certainly knew what He was doing when He put us together. He certainly does have a sense of humor too. Lili and Aly are wonderful, amazing little creations and examples of His creativity. We can't wait to see what new and exciting things are ours for the coming New Year.
Last year this time we were in Nanchang. It was cold and we were anticipating getting our little Lili. I remember when I first met her eyes. There was a special connection there. I don't know how to explain it, there was just something unspeakable but that witnessed to my very soul about this little life that I now held in my arms. Maybe it was all the perfume the orphanage workers had sprayed her with that was clouding my mind. Maybe it was the lack of good sleep. I choose to think it was a "heart touch", a connection that only God gives. I don't remember feeling that when we first got Aly, it took some time to connect but boy when we did... Amazingly enough, after getting Lili I was sooooo angry that a new child was coming into our life and would interupt my relationship with my wonderful little girl. After all why messs up a good thing? Little did I know that God gave me a heart to love them both so far beyond what I had invisioned. I am ready for 3, 4, or 5 or as many children as He will give us. I would love to fill our home. I know Shelley would too. From my fingers to God's inbox.
What a ride!!!
Merry Christmas
David- for Shelley because she crashed her computer...AGAIN

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

ARGH!! Trying to remember YOU ARE GOOD post... the bad computer has apparently crashed!!! Won't boot...looks like we will be on the phone for a while...a good LONG while with "Bob" in India!! But...the good news...David got the MAXIMUM coverage on this computer when we bought we are covered basically no matter what!!! I knew I loved that guy for something other than his good looks!!! If he had only bought Google stock in 04 when we wanted to!! He always gets these "small voice in the back of his head" moments about stuff. It ALWAYS works out...except for when he doesn't listen to that "small voice in the back of his head"
So, I will check in on my email occasionally on David's laptop. See ya when "Bob" gets me up and running again!! :-)

In HIS Mighty Grip

PS...when you get a chance, go check out the "Company Girls" link on the right. Well, it isn't a link, but the address is listed there. Anyway, Rachel Anne is such a blessing and you will love her site!!! to call "Bob"

Saturday, December 8, 2007

You Are Good...

You we are moving closer to Christmas there are so many many emotions running rampant at our house this year. We are grateful for all that God has provided for us this past year, we have two beautiful children, David and I have each other, we also lost both of our Mothers this year, made two huge moves, brought a new child into our home, lost our jobs,and have been through more than our fair share of heartache in the last 12 months or more. We are exhausted...physically and emotionally...and, well it just plain sucks on some days. But, the good outweighs the bad when you look at it all. I have learned so much and have seen God's provision on so many many levels. It is amazing to see how HE has sustained us!!Every night when I put my precious Lili to bed, I play a CD while I'm rocking her. On that CD is a song that has sustained me many nights as I sat there rocking that child with tears running down my face. It is called "You are Good" and it is by Nichol Nordeman. I decided to look on Youtube and see if there might be a video of it...and sure enough, there was! So, I wanted to share it with you. It is a beautiful song and it ministers to my heart each and every night. I hope it brings you the same comfort!!!
So, are we blessed? Oh, YES!! Is God still in control? Oh, Yes Yes!! Is God Good to us all the time? OH MY...a RESOUNDING YES!!!! I hope you will take the time this Holy season to thank the ONE who blesses your life every day! The one who laid down the life of his only Son for you!! The one who is ALWAYS Good to you!!!!
Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Two Year Old Update

I thought that I would take this opportunity to catch you up on all things that she is two and plotting her take-over of the world!! She has been in secret meetings all week with her partners in should be quite the coup!!
Seriously though...our little two year old is just amazing. Although she still goes by "Tiger Lili" (remember our trip to China????) she has definately refined the image a bit! She is still my "sensitive child" and gets her feelings hurt at the drop of a hat. And she can also throw a temper tantrum like NOBODY'S business!!! She is starting to realize that "It ain't workin" so it really is kind of funny to watch her throw herself to the floor and then glance back up at us to see if it helped her cause any. Then she will throw in an Eye-roll for good measure. Too Funny!!!

Lili has some sort of thing for her sisters shoes. She takes hers off as soon as we come in the door, but will walk around all day in Aly's shoes. She LOVES them!! Of course they are also usually on the wrong foot! :-) But, hey!!

I'm not sure how she could walk with the thingy between the wrong toes!! OUCH She didn't seem to mind at all.

She has finally discovered the joys of the playground. For the longest time she would go to the park or playground and she *might* join in on something, but she was usually scared and just wanted to sit it out. Well, things have definately changed. She climbs, slides, runs, romps and plays with the best of 'em now! She is still terrified of the swing, but I suspect that will fall by the wayside soon too.

Her new buddy from the park

Aly is always dragging her somewhere!

This is at Chick-Fil-A. She got up in that little car overhead and refused to come down. Every time I would tell her to, she would just laugh and giggle and ignore me!! Yeah...real funny...ha ha!!

I have a video of her climbing this thing. It is a hoot! She just loved it. I was waiting for her to break her neck at any moment!!

We took the girls to look at some christmas lights in our neighboorhood last night and Lili was beside herself trying to see it all. Christmas should be a lot of fun. She loves the lights, the Santa's , the trees and it all!!

Well, that is about it from Lili-land today. We are off to the chiropractor today...PRAISE GOD!!!!! I'll will try to post some more later

In HIS Mighty Grip~

Monday, December 3, 2007

My baby is TWO!!!!

So did you all think I was never going to post again?? Yeah, well I was beginning to wonder myself. But, now that the REAL Holiday crazies have set in...I had to post some pictures. For those of you who don't know about the December crazies in our house, let
me give you the rundown. Here is how it goes....

December 2- Lili's birthday
December 18- Lili's gotcha day and adoption day anniversaries
December 25- Christmas Day
December 27- Aly's Gotcha Day anniversary
December 28- Aly's Adoption Day anniversary
December 29- Aly's birthday
December 29- Lili's citizenship anniversary (the day we came home with her and she became a US citizen
December 31- My birthday
January 8- Aly's citizenship anniversary (okay, so this isn't in December, but it is close)

So I guess December will be very very busy...FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!! :-) I wouldn't trade it for anything. Yesterday was the kick-off day...Lili's birthday. She is finally TWO!!! I can hardly believe it. What a year! What an amazing series of changes for one little life!

I dressed them up in some of their China silks and and invited some friends over and we celebrated!! She had a blast!!

Okay...without further are the pictures

My beautiful China Angels!! What on earth did we do to deserve these amazing daughters!!

Oh yes...I'm a happy girl now...the gifts are coming and most importantly...FOOD!!!!!! I'm SO ready for this!!

My big sister "Ah-wah" gave me my very first baby doll. I LOVE it!! She also gave me a kiss and told me she loved me. I love my big sister!

The I got ANOTHER baby doll from my good buddies Joe and John. How cool is that!!

Oh yes...the cake!!! It's MINE...ALL MINE!! Okay, well maybe not ALL mine.

I can feel the sugar surging through my veins...I should be awake for at least 7 or 8 more hours!!
Maybe I should smear it all over my toes.

I would have to say that, all in all, it was a great day for turning two!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

For those of you visiting from Canada or across the pond, I know you won't be celebrating with us, but even so, I'm sure you have much to be thankful for in your own lives...I know I do!!
As I look back on the last year in the Swindler household, I am blown away by the changes, but there is no question of the blessings God has given to our family. We have a new member of our family this year...that is where our focus is. We have two beautiful daughters and for that we are most grateful to our Heavenly Father for entrusting them to us!
Thank you for stopping by to check in on our family. We appreciate all the kind words and comments.
Have a very very happy Thanksgiving!!!!
In HIS Mighty Grip

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Many hats of Aly...

My oh my...the girl does love her hats!! We found these in some of Mom's stuff and were selling them at the yard sale. Aly was in heaven and had to give us a different expression with each new hat. (Makes for better pictures that way!!! )

A visit to the hairdresser...

I was going to post this video after the BIG YARD SALE, but i forgot about it. I love catching them like this!!! I LOVE Lili's honesty about the whole thing!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

That is just how she thinks...

I was standing in the kitchen this morning fixing breakfast for the girls. Aly wandered in and said, "Mom...what is the last number?"

I said, "The last number of what?"

she said, "The last number of all of them."

after I regained my balance I said, "Well, there is no last number...they just keep going."

"Forever?" she said.

"Yep...forever." I said.

My raven haired, almond eyes lotus blossom stared at me for a moment and then said,
"Oh...okay...I just wondered."

Then she was gone. That's just how she thinks...
(Aly...a few months after we came home with her)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Three years ago today...

(this post is two days early...I meant to save it as a draft after getting it ready, but hit "publish" instead. I have NO idea how to remove the post without deleting it completely!! LOL enjoy!!)
It was about 1:15 on Monday afternoon. We were on our way home from a staff meeting with the Children's Home. I had been waiting for the call all during the meeting, but it never rang. Well, it did, but it wasn't "the call." Referral calls had been trickling in all morning and friends would call to give me the update or see if I had been called yet. ( Everyone else at the staff meeting was on the verge of a nervous breakdown from my phone ringing every five minutes...they would all jump as I looked at the phone only to say, "'s just Valerie")

As we drove down that road, heading for Johnson City my heart was racing faster with each second. So many of the families in our group had gotten their calls already...why hadn't we??? Okay...I wasn't going to let myself go there yet!!

I kept checking my phone to see how many "bars" I had. We were in an area known for "bad reception". I went over the plan with David, "Okay...when they call, you need to pull over as fast as you can so we don't loose the signal"...then just to make sure he understood, I went over it again! I'm sure David's eyes rolled when talking to me MANY times that day...but he never let on that I was acting like starke raving lunatic!!

Finally!!!! IT RANG!!!!! My heart stopped when I saw that it said "AWAA" on the screen. I think I may have let out a screech or a screem or something...I immediately starting hollering for David to pull over somewhere...cause he didn't know that is what I wanted him to do! He did and I heard my friend Kim say to me "Hi Shelley! You have a daughter!" Oh my God in heart is going to stop just remembering that day!!!!

I started writing down everything she said (I saved that paper, but it is not very legible) and tried like crazy to keep my heart in my chest as it kept trying to leap out of my body and run around the van. David was kind of in shock...he wasn't nearly as excited as I was at that point. (He made up for it the next day when the package came!) Kim described Aly to us. She, like everyone who meets Aly, said that her eyes "sparkled." Everyone always comments on her eyes and how there is just "something about them."

I don't remember anything else about that drive home...or about the rest of that day come to think of it. It is a total blur...

I remember the next day!! We were expecting a package from DHL that contained all of the information about Aly and most importantly...HER PICTURE. We had our friend Marla lined up to be there early so she could take pictures/video and share the morning we would meet our daughter with us. So, while David was in the living room working on the website...very calm...very quiet...Marla and I were in the office losing our minds. Every vehicle that even looked like it was coming down the driveway and we would start bouncing off the walls.

We used Aly's measurments and created this ...

We started holding up clothes to it to see what might fit her. It was hilarious! Finally we saw that truck coming down the driveway and just as we were about to run outside and accost the poor DHL guy...we realized that it was just the Sears delivery truck! He was delivering something...who knows what...who cares...I have no idea what it was. Anyway, the DHL guy finally arrived...Marla grabbed the cameras...David and I ran to the door...flung it open and waited for him to bring us our daughter! check out the pics....

Our stork...the DHL man. I forgot to get his name!!

the moment we had been waiting for...

Looking at the Beautiful Baby God had given to us!!

What did we ever do to deserve this child!! And who even had a clue that her sister was just two years down the road behind her!!

I can truly say that I went weak in the knees. When I first laid eyes on her, I literally fell back against the wall almost unable to stand. I felt like I had either been using a jackhammer for 30 minutes or had polished off a bottle of wine...go figure! David and I were beside ourselves with joy...he finally was able to believe that this was really going to happen and let out the emotion that he had been holding in for months on end. It was an amazing 24 hours to say the least!!

Before the Foundation of the World...God had planned this to be our child. What an amazing God we serve!!!! Our Alyson Ming-Lian at 5 months old.

Aly at 10 months ...we had this picture blown up to Poster size!! David threatened to take it on the plane with us, but I talked him out of it.

Aly at 5 months...what a cutie pie!!!!!

To all of you who are caught up in this never-ending wait. I know that it sounds trite to tell you that it will be worth the wait...but it really will. I know that you don't believe me when I say that all the waiting and paperchasing and red-tape and craziness and waiting and waiting will fade when you see your childs face...but it really does. I promise!!! Just keep hanging in there and trust that God himself is holding your precious baby safe in his arms until HE can safely deliver him or her into your arms. He will make it all good...He will make it all beautiful...He will make it all perfect in HIS perfect and unmistakable timing!!!!! He started us all on this journey to our children...and he will see us all safely to each other!!!!
In HIS Mighty Mighty Grip!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

November 6, year ago today...

Do you know what you were doing one year ago today? I do...I remember it vividly. David and I were sitting in a staff meeting with the Children's Home. It was in a little cafe in Dandridge Tennessee. My cell phone rang and it was Anna from our Adoption Agency calling to let us know that we had received our Travel Approval to adopt Lili!

Lili was a Special Needs adoption, so Travel Approval is different...for us it was China's official OKAY for us to Adopt her. We had accepted her referral some 70+ days earlier in August and had been waiting for China to tell us that we were approved to adopt her. Well, we got it one year ago today!!!!!

I remember whispering to David that it was AWAA calling and I grabbed the phone and ran out the door and into the parking lot. I couldn't believe it...China had actually approved us to adopt another one of their precious children!!!!!

Lili was only 8 months old when we accepted her referral and 11 months before we got TA. We didn't know how much longer it would be before we could actually get on the plane to leave Nanchang. much to do and so little time to do it. We were in the middle of packing to leave the children's home, packing to go to China, trying to figure out where God was taking us when we got home and what we were going to do when we got there. We still had a large amount of money to raise to complete the adoption. was going to be a LONG few months for about a million reasons!!
As it turned out we left for China on a cold Tennessee morning ...December 12th to be exact. A few short days later, this was our reality...

Okay...well, this was more like our reality....

And now...almost one year later...THIS is our reality

but lets not forget how it was in the beginning with this...

Hope you enjoy the pics and the, what a year!!!

In HIS Mighty Grip ...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I didn't do it!!

I wish that I had a hidden camera in the girls room...I would have caught some really fun stuff this morning. I'm not sure what actually happened, but the view when I came in the room was priceless!!

I had just come out of my bedroom and was chatting with Jennifer online (BTW...we are all hoping for their referral for Zoe Mei today...pray that they don't lose their minds while they wait!!) Anyway, I heard Lili start crying. So off I went to their room, expecting to find Aly with the lights on or the sound conditioner off or half in the crib or some other offense designed to wake up Lili from her slumber and drive ME to the edge of insanity. As I opened the door I found Lili still asleep but crying and Aly standing next to her crib with her hands up as if to say, "I didn't do it" I said, "Aly!" she replied, "I didn't touch her...I didn't do anything!!!

I realized that Lili was just crying out, as she sometimes does, in her sleep. She rolled over and went right back to sleep. Aly just shook her head and headed for the bathroom. So unfairly judged...poor kid!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

!!!!! PARTY !!!!!!

Saturday we went to the home of some new friends for a "Dress Up Party". (Okay...a Halloween party...but we don't do Halloween, so we just called it a "dress up party".) The girlies didn't have a clue...they just had a blast! Anyway, it was a get-together for families in this area who have adopted from China. There were something like 12 families there and we really enjoyed getting to know some other families in this area.

It is such a small world...David met another Dad who knew some of his friends from SC way back when. They had fun remembering old times and talking about old friends. Then we started talking with another couple. The Mom, Dusty, asked me where my girls were from. I told her Jiangxi and she said hers was too. I asked her what orphanage her daughter was from and she said, "Oh, it's just a small SWI in the NW part of China called Tonggu" I nearly fell over...Lili is from Tonggu also!! As we kept talking, she and I both realized that we had followed each others journey's just last year. They got Mary Joyce in September and we got Lili in December. Turns out that their birthdays are only a few weeks apart. They will both be 2 this coming December!

It really is a small world...when we followed their trip, they lived in Georgia and when they followed our trip we lived in Tennessee. And now we both live about 30 minutes away from each other...what are the odds of that???

Anyway, the girls started playing together and I tell you...maybe it was my imagination, but I would swear that they knew each other. Not as in "Hey Lili...whassup? Good to see you again!" but Dusty and I watched them playing and we both felt like they remembered each other somehow. A wonderful "red-thread" moment for sure!!!!

We can't wait to get together with all of these wonderful families again very very soon!! We miss the Adoption support group that we were members of in Tennessee, and it will be good to get back in fellowship with other families again! Aly calls all Chinese girls her "China Cousins". She was so excited to make some new friends.

Enjoy some pictures from the day. Oh...Aly is dressed up as a "Fairy Ballerina" and Lili is a "Hula girl" Lili's friend, Mary Joyce (the one from her orphanage) is dressed up as a Ladybug.
Lili and Mary Joyce...together again!!
A hug goodbye...I tried to get their faces, but they both moved too quickly!!!
Aly checking out her new friends cupcake
There are more pics, but Blogger won't upload them right now, so i will try to add them tomorrow.
In HIS Mighty Grip~