I can not believe it has been a year since Ren was placed in my arms and she forever joined our family. Though I have watched the following videos many, many times, I found myself thinking today...who was it that placed her in my arms. For a few brief seconds I couldn't remember if it was her care giver or another staff person from the orphanage. While I was thinking about that today, I was almost panicked that I couldn't think of who it was that handed me my daughter. Then a small, still voice whispered to my heart, it was the Lord. He handed me my daughter, His creation, His treasure, to call my own.
We arrived in Beijing On Monday, August 23, 2010 around 11:00pm. The next day was a free day. Tyson and I slept most of the day. When we got up we went walking around Beijing. We went to a local grocery store that was a few blocks from our hotel. I remember thinking, "Wow. We really stick out"! I guess I thought Beijing would be like large cities in the US, lots of diversity. Nope! Beijing is lots of Chinese people and then me and Tyson.
It is hard to believe that a year ago Tyson and I boarded a plane and headed to China to pick up our daughter, Ren. I have been looking at pictures, watching videos, and reading emails from our China trip and I stand amazed. I wanted to share some "unseen" and "seen" footage from our time in China. The video on today's post is from the Atlanta airport on Sunday, August 22, 2010. It is crazy to me how I explain we are going to get Ren as if it was the most ordinary thing in the world. When I think back to those days, I am still completely shocked at how calm I was. I can honestly say the Lord guarded my heart from anxiety and fear and blessed me with peace and assurance.
Here's the first video in the "Returning to Our Road to Ren" series!
* Don't forget to scroll down to pause the playlist before watching the video.
I can not believe Ty is a first grader! I have a confession to make. When I was a homeroom teacher I would always get frustrated with parents who walked their kids in to their class EVERY DAY. I mean, really, they can get to their room by themselves. Cut the apron strings people! Well, that was until "my baby" came to school. I walk him to his class EVERY day. He wants me to. He holds my hand. The other day he said, "Mommy, you are so beautiful"! I just wanted to cry because I am painfully aware that there is a day coming when he will not want me to walk him to his class. He will not want to hold my hand in front of everybody and he certainly won't think I'm beautiful. But....not yet!
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.
Well, I have to say planting a garden was something I thought I would never do! It was a very rewarding experience. We planted about 40, YES 40, tomato plants, 9 cucumber plants, peppers, okra, watermelon, squash, sunflowers, and some herbs. I was showing the garden to my friend Jennifer. She discovered the first tiny little squash. I squealed and got a little teary eyed. Jenny laughed and said, "I didn't see you get that excited when your kids were born!" I have to say it was an emotional experience. I also have to say, "note to self, 40 tomato plants and 9 cucumber plants was a little much". So, I don't know if I will continue to eat my food by the sweat of brow until I return to the ground, but this was definitely the first of many gardens.
Oh Happy Day...... After the pastor announced, "I now present to you Mr. and Mrs. Tyson Griffin"... applause.....we walked down the aisle to "Oh Happy Day". And it was a happy day. In my mind, it was the happiest day ever. At that time, I couldn't imagine a happier day. I was even slightly depressed thinking nothing would ever compare to this day. It couldn't get any better. I had no idea.
Our wedding day wasn't the culminating event to our loooooonnnngggg dating relationship, it was just the beginning of an amazing journey. Tyson and I just celebrated our 10 year anniversary. Including the 6 1/2 years of dating, (the reason our song is "At Last"),we have been together for almost 17 years!
We met at Dalton College. I was 18. Tyson was 19. It was the second semester of our freshman year. We had almost every class together. We even had ping pong class together. Let me say, he acted so crazy in that class. Diving and turning flips just to return a ping pong ball? Well, he had me! And that is how it all began.
The last 17 years of my life have been amazing, not because they have been perfect, but because I have spent them with my best friend. We have laughed, cried, yelled, had children/gotten children, traveled the world, and just done nothing together. For our anniversary we took a trip to Punta Cana, Domincan Republic, (no children allowed). I have to say, I love my kids, and I love to go places with them, but there is nothing like being with my husband and actually talking to him. Sometimes I think our culture tries to make us moms feel guilty for leaving our children. How could we leave our children for that long? How could we be that far away from them? To anyone who feels that way, let me assure you, it is one of the best things we have ever done for our marriage and for our children.
To my husband, my best friend, Tyson, I always tell you that you are the man of my dreams, but that isn't true. I never dreamed I would be married to a man like you. You love me, which is amazing in itself. You support me and applaud me. I love to watch you with our kids. The crazy loud wrestling with the boys, and now a little more gentle side with our daughter. More than anything, I am so secure with you because you are so secure in the Lord. Thank you for leading our family to the Lord. I can not wait to see where the Lord takes us next!
We are so blessed to have friends like Mark and Greta Beckler. They invited us to join them at their lake house for vacation. It was a great week. There are few friends in life that you can spend a week with and love them even more. Our kids even get along great!
To my friend Greta, you are a rare find! I appreciate your desire to follow the Lord, your heart for holiness, and the way you "put it all out there"! You are real and I am honored to be called your friend. I am so excited to see how the Lord works in our lives.