Saturday, February 20, 2010


Number of years we enjoyed our minivan: 4
Number of times I thanked God for a reliable vehicle: countless
Number of months it's been paid off: 10
Number of carseats/booster seats it has carried simultaneously: 4 (down to 2 as of last month)
Number of miles we drove the green machine in the four years we owned it: 80,000+
Number of songs sung, giggles laughed, tears cried, reprimands given, naps taken: untallied

Number of hours spent scrubbing and sweeping interior of van: 2
Number of minutes spent writing description on Craigslist (including everything I could think of that was wrong with it, in detail) and posting pictures: 30
Number of inquiries I received in the first fifteen minutes of posting: 2
Number of minutes later that prospective buyer was test-driving the van: 35
Number of miles I walked home vanless, with cash in pocket and license plate in hand: 1

Could that be a record? My head was spinning.

Goodbye little green minivan. May you press on for thousands more miles and keep all the babies who ride in your seats safe and sound.

Hello, big white Expedition. It's all you now.

I can't tell you how glad I am that the car searching, car buying and car selling drama are over.

Number of times I've thanked God for a reliable vehicle: I've lost count again.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lily's journal

Lily has been begging for a new journal since she filled her previous one several days ago. She writes some, she draws a lot. She scrutinizes and observes her world and the records it for her own reflection and inspiration. She is far more consistent with journaling than I have ever been. (This is a confession, ya'll. And a pledge to do better.)

My dear friend Shannon gave me a sweet little nature journal for Valentine's Day. It's cute, and I'm a sucker for all things paper, but Lily was completely enamored with it. So I gave it to her. She danced and cheered happily, hugging her new journal to her heart. (I hope Shannon doesn't mind my regifting her gift.)

As soon as she finished her happy dance, Lily took her journal, found a "perfect" pen--boy is she like her mother on that point!--and personalized it. What she wrote on it warmed my heart to its very core.

Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, fills me with more joy than when my children spontaneously express their love for Jesus. And I love how she writes her love note directly TO him, not just ABOUT him. "I love you, Jesus." And she signs it, "Me." So tender and personal. She knows he knows her. She trusts him to accept her. I don't have to sign a note to Rob, "Sincerely, Jody Fasnacht." I can sign it, "Me" because he knows who "me" is.

How much more so does her Savior know her? I know it, but now I know that SHE knows it.

My heart is glowing with love for her and for the Jesus we both love.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Under-Appreciated Carnation

You are delicate yet resilient.

You bend with the wind and the rain in silent submission yet raise your face to the morning sun with delight.

You take no notice of your under-appreciation. While lovers head straight for the regal rose, you wait contentedly for just the right person who needs the joy you bring.

You are beautiful, but simple and humble. You give full credit to your Creator for your beauty and trust Him to meet your needs without toil or worry.

Little carnation flower, I want to be just like you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fasnacht Day Revisited

It's true. An entire day of the year is named after our family. Or your family, too, if your last name is Shrove.

Last year I actually made Fasnachts, and I wrote a photo essay to document the event.

Step one: Find a couple of cute guys to be your sous-chefs.

Step two: Mash some 'taters. Lots and lots of 'taters.

Step three: After all the mixin' is done, think, "This is way too runny." Reread the recipe. Add another cup of flour.

Step four: Melt several galoops of lard. (That is an official culinary measurement.) Feel your arteries harden and your waist begin to bulge. This is the authentic frying agent of choice, for the whole point of fasnachts on Fasnacht Day is to rid your pantry of lard before Lent begins the following day. Of course this really is a moot point when you actually have to go out to the store to buy lard for the first time ever just for the sake of the donuts and never, ever keep it on hand.

Step five: Decide that you don't need to follow the recipe which says that you must roll out the gooey dough and cut it into squares or rectangles. Surely, you can just drop them into little dough puddles in the lard.

Step six: Realize when fasnachts come out raw in the middle that perhaps recipe writer knew what she was talking about after all and make the big, big mess needed to roll out gooey dough. Cut into squares (representing the four Gospels) or triangles (representing the Trinity). Holy mess.

Step seven: Sigh with relief when the next batch comes out golden brown and fully cooked.

Step eight: Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar so that your blood sugar will rise and your heart will race, pumping your blood at a high pressure through the arteries, thereby counteracting the effects of the lard.

Step nine: Distribute four fasnachts to your Four Fasnachts.

Step ten: Fry up all your dough until your kitchen smells like a truck-stop and your shirt and floor are covered with flour and lard and you are left with a donut mountain.

Step eleven: Wonder where in the world the sous-chefs ran off to now that it's time to clean up.

So what to do this year? After revisiting my essay, I'm fairly certain that we're going to skip the authentic fasnachts this year. Are you disappointed?

It's all about pastry, right? Why limit yourself to just one kind?

This year's pastry of choice: cinnamon rolls for lunch. And then to complete the day in Fasnacht style, waffles and authentic maple syrup for dinner. And a trip to the gym tomorrow.

Hey, Fasnacht Day only comes once a year!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lily's Special Day

Four years ago, a two-year-old walked into the upstairs room of a government building in southern China and changed our lives. Those years seem like a whole lifetime. Not because they have been difficult, but because they have helped to define my life, a life that would be incomplete and gray without her.

We celebrated Lily's Gotcha Day anniversary yesterday. I asked her what she wanted to do to celebrate her special day and she requested to walk the dog to the park. So that was certainly high on our priority list. "And open presents." Well, it is like having two birthdays when you celebrate such an important day as becoming part of a family. Much to Seth's dismay, who is NOT happy right now that he was born in mommy's tummy and his Gotcha Day and birthday are on the same day. "I NEVER get a Gotcha Day," he cried. It's been a rough weekend for him with all the attention Lily has gotten. I've been extra patient and cuddly with him.

Lily and I also went to the salon to get haircuts together, her first salon visit. We went from all one length to short bob with bangs for her, and a haircut that wasn't quite what I had in mind and feels much too short for me. Lily's looks adorable! She looked at herself and said, "I'm a Japanese girl!" Her cut does accentuate her beautiful Asian features. I wonder if she thinks Japanese is more Asian than Chinese.

I do know that she has to work hard to find her unique place in this world. I do everything I can to guide her on her own personal journey. Not an easy job for a white mom and dad with three white sons and one Asian daughter. We met a Korean family at the playground this week. She really wasn't overly interested. Should I be concerned? I can only offer her opportunities and choices, and it's her own job to find her own path among them. I will be with her every step of the way.

Later yesterday, we all went out for dinner at our new favorite Chinese restaurant, China Garden, the same name as our favorite restaurant in Michigan. A little taste of what used to be but no longer feels like home. Not only did we celebrate Gotcha Day but Chinese New Year as well. There are no local festivities in our corner of TX, so we just spent the day with our own little family.

We also gave Lily a few gifts consisting of several books about China and children in China and the *last* silk dress that we purchased for her when we were there. I guess it's time to go back. I would jump at the chance, believe me.

Happy Gotcha Day, sweet Lily. You are a gift in every perfect sense of the word. You are amazing, and I hope someday to be as brave and smart and beautiful as you are. We love you!