Monday, November 23, 2009

The Hodges join our church!

A precious family that has been fellowshipping with us for the past four months or so joined our church yesterday! So exciting!

The Hodges, Steve and Daphne, have 7 children. Emily, Benjamin, Stephne, Malachi, Enoch, Chloe, and Jami-Lynn. Also, they are expecting their eighth in early february. They have been such a wonderful addition to our "family of families" and God continues to knit our hearts together.

Having a laugh...

The boys...

The girls...

The oldest Hodges, Emily...

The youngest Hodges, Jami-Lynn...

The worship team...

For the special occasion, Elder Blane asked me to make a cake to help celebrate. He gave me free-reign and this is what I came up with...

It was a hit! Chocolate ganache has to be my favorite icing. It's so simple, but so rich and delicious! The cake was chocolate-vanilla swirl. There was plenty of cake and even some left over.

We're ready for another family!

Natalie-Rose's Second Birthday Party

We can't believe that it's already been 2 years that she has been a part of our family. I guess time really does fly when you're having fun (and chasing a toddler around).

I made her a special cake with my newly learned abilities. Namely, making buttercream roses!
So the cake was orange flavored, filled with orange marmalade and frosted with vanilla buttercream. It was really tasty! Almost like a dreamsicle!
The party started after dinner Saturday night. We sang happy birthday, she blew out the candles,
and then she got to open all the wonderful presents! Such special and thoughtful presents they were.

An apron from the Tuckers...

A black bear from "Date" (Nathan)...
Two precious outfits and a book from Aunt Karen and Uncle Tony...
Three cute books from Aunt Pam...
A Tricycle from mommy and daddy...
Checking it out...
A tea set from mommy and daddy...
And a puzzle from Ema.

Her face, when she opened each present, was priceless. She was so excited and thrilled!

And then, she got a slice of cake, with a rose on top just for her. (that's all she ate)
Tea with your cake anyone?

And of course the cake was from me, Sissy.

I think she really loved her birthday and we look forward to many more birthdays!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Adoption Celebration Dinner Nov. 13, 2009

On Friday night, Grandfather Home (our foster/adopt agency) had their annual Adoption Celebration Dinner. Our family was invited because Natalie-Rose's adoption will be final by the end of the year! Yay!

It was such a special night. To be there with other families that have gone through the same struggles that we have, that are finally able to call their child their own!

Mom was asked to say something. And it was just right! Briefly telling the story of how our family was led to adopt and just the journey we've been on and how blessed we are to have this precious little one!

There was a very meaningful candle-lighting ceremony. First, on each table was a single candle, plus two taper candles. The adoptive parents each took a taper candle, lit it, and then together lit the single candle. Same idea as the unity candle in weddings.

Then, on the main table were 5 taper candles. Misty, one of the case workers, lit one by one, each one honoring something different. The first honored the birth parents. The second, the child being adopted. Third, the adoptive parents. Fourth, parents waiting for a child. And last, children waiting to be adopted.

While all this was going on, Natalie-Rose was so sweet. Just as attentive as she could be, coloring pictures, looking at all the people.

Then we had a wonderful Pizza and Pasta dinner. Natalie ate so well!

Time to dance!

Cake decorating class graduation

Over the past 8 weeks, I have been taking a cake decorating class at A B Tech. Even though I came in with some experience, I learned a whole lot. I've said it before, but hands-on instruction is so helpful for hands-on things! And Waynette was so easy to learn from. She made us feel so at ease, no pressure, and lot's of encouragement. Which was helpful especially on the night we learned how to do roses. : )

On the final night, we had the freedom to design whatever kind of cake we wanted, to use what we had learned in the previous weeks. That was so fun coming up with a design.

So, I made a 9x13 spice cake. Iced it with vanilla buttercream. Then, I tried my hand at basket weave all around the side. It was a lot easier than I imagined! Then I bordered the top edge with a "e" border. Around the bottom edge I did a tiny shell border.

Next I placed the royal icing flowers that I had saved from the two previous classes.

Finally, I added Swiss dots and a message. I thought thanking Waynette would be appropriate.

The final product! And boy was it tasty! Nathan said that he wants those flavors for his birthday cake, and it's not until next October!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Natalie-Rose's dedication October 18, 2009.

I said I would write about Natalie-Rose's dedication. So here we go...

As a family of Christians, with beliefs that are most similar to Baptist, we believe in believer's baptism. Which means that once a person makes the decision to follow Jesus, then they are baptized to symbolically show the inner change of their heart. We see this example in the New Testament.
We don't believe infant baptism is harmful or wrong, just unnecessary and not in the Bible.
What we do believe in is dedicating children to the Lord, to commit to raise them in the knowledge and Love of God.
My parents dedicated me and my two brothers when Nathan was a baby, since they came to the Lord after Jed and I were born.

Now that the adoption is as good as done, they thought it was time to dedicate Natalie. It worked out wonderfully that the dedication was planned for when Ema was visiting!

Here we all are up at the front. It's a family affair! The whole family had a chance to share something. Our Elders, Blane and Philip, shared from their heart the most wonderful, sweet things about the encouragement and inspiration they have recieved from our family. Totally unexpected. And very humbling! And then the whole family was prayed over.

This is the cake I made for the special occasion. The cake is a white cake, filled with raspberry jam, iced with strawberry buttercream and decorated with royal icing drop flowers. Yum! The message is "For this child I prayed" from 1 Samuel 1:27.

Natalie loved it! And she and Christiana kept picking the flowers off!

We also played the song by Steven Curtis Chapman "When love takes you in" about adoption.
So poignant for several families in our fellowship!

This was such a meaningful and special occasion. We are so thankful to be Natalie-Rose's "forever family".

(Thanks to Emily for taking the pictures!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Duggar family in Asheville!

Usually church goes until 2:30, but last week we all had plans to go see the Duggars at another church in the area, and so we cut things a little short.

Several of the families in our fellowship have been following the Duggars and their growing family for a while now and once we heard the news about them coming to our town, we couldn't not go!

It ended up that our whole church family was there, and all together only filled up two rows in the huge church the event was at!

The whole family first came on stage, including Grandma Duggar and the littlest Duggar. Jim Bob introduced all the children from oldest to youngest.

Then the children from Jana all the way to little Johanna, put their violins up to their chins. They played three beautiful arrangements of hymns for us. "Nothing but the Blood", "Be thou my vision" and one other.

Once the concert was over, Jim Bob and Michelle got comfy at a table and shared their testimonies. How very humble they are! Neither of them had ideal childhoods like one might think. It's so inspiring to hear about where they came from and what the Lord has done through willing hearts.

After the sharing of testimonies, the children came back up and they recited Scripture they had memorized. Ephesians 6:10-20, the armor of God. Michelle got down in front of the stage so that she could be seen by all. I loves it when she gave a little, "Ten-hut!" All the kids straightened up.
The scripture portion is quite long, so Michelle made up hand motions to help them all remember. It was so wonderful! I have a video of it here:

And at last, the whole family sang what has become their family theme song, sharing about God's grace, "It's through the Blood".

Just a great opportunity and a once in a lifetime experience! They are such wonderful representatives of the Christian faith!