Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Workout Wednesday

Last year, one of my very best friends begged me to join a gym. I laughed at her and of course, said no way was I going to embarrass myself working out, let alone step foot in a gym. Plus, I didn't have any free time. And if I did, why on earth would I spend it exercising?

As the months went by, I watched my friend change.
Her attitude. Her patience. Her overall happiness. Not to mention her waist.

I wondered if she was on to something.

And honestly, I wasn't in a very good place mentally, emotionally, or physically.
I was constantly in a battle with Evie's tantrums. My kids were running me ragged. I was tired all the time. Not I need a catnap tired, but deep to the core of your bones I can't imagine taking another step tired. My back went into spasms, my shoulder ached, I had put on weight. There were days I wanted to cry all the time.

Finally in December, I agreed to go with my friend. And I stayed there for exactly 28 minutes--because I had read somewhere that 28 minutes on a treadmill was all you needed for a good workout. And truthfully that was all I could muster.

The next morning, my legs ached like I'd just run the Chicago marathon.

But I wanted more.

It became my every day escape.

Over time, I started to notice the changes. I had more energy, more patience, and my back didn't hurt anymore.

And I was happier. And I think a better mom.

Are you up for a challenge? Start small. 28 minutes. That's it. And start walking. Stay tuned and I'll tell you how I worked up to over an hour of exercise a day.

That first 28 minutes will be the best gift you can give yourself.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Middle Child

My kids went to Sport Camp last week at a local church. Throughout the week, they work on memorizing the theme verse and once they say it they get a prize. The first night, The Big Boy said it (he was blessed with a photographic memory). Before the next meeting, I worked on it with the other two. And when we picked them up, Princess proudly showed us her prize.

But  my little guy. Oh, poor kid. He did not earn his prize. He was devastated that his little sister had memorized the verse, but he couldn't. That night he cried himself to sleep.

The next morning, he was the first one up. Instead of shooing him back to bed, I let him crawl under the covers with me. And while the other two kids slept, we read his Bible verses over and over again. And instead of just memorizing them, we talked about what they meant.

Then we went downstairs and ate breakfast--just the two of us.

These alone moments are few and far between. So when I get them, I try to enjoy every single second. Plus, he is my middle child. The one who I think often gets lost in the shuffle. He has never been in school full time. So when Princess came home, Big Boy went to first grade, which left my Middle One home with me and our Princess who was totally shutdown. Then he was dragged to PT, OT, speech, and countless doctors appointments.

And it was hard. Hard for me. Hard for my little guy. And hard for Princess.

So one-on-one time with my littlest guy, is extra special.

The other two, came down the steps right when we finished our waffles. And before going off to play, he whispered in my ear, "That was fun, mommy."

That night he earned his prize.

And I hate to admit it, but I am so thankful it took him a wee bit longer than the other two to memorize his verse. Because I wouldn't trade my morning with him for anything.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Winners Are...

Oh the drawing was big fun around here. My kids loved it!

Without further adieu a copy of One Thousand And One Tears will be sent to:




Congrats and thanks for entering the drawing and for all the encouraging words. I really appreciate them!

I've talked to so many people in the last week who have kids that struggle with not knowing anything about their birthmom.

They have no pictures.

No memories.


The artist of One Thousand and One Tears, Cassandra Swierenga, painted a beautiful interpretation of a Chinese mother. If you would like a signed giclee of her artwork, it's available here. Each is 9" x 10" and $20.

Choose print:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Win a Copy of One Thousand and One Tears!

Yes, that's right. I'm giving away THREE copies of One Thousand and One Tears.

It's pretty easy to enter to win.

Leave a comment on my blog. That will get you one entry.

Grab the One Thousand and One Tear's button up above or over at nihaoyall.com and put it on your blog or facebook page. That will get you another entry. Make sure you let me know if you did this, so I can give you an extra entry.

I'll draw the winners on Friday!

Good Luck!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When the Hurt and The Healer Collide

"She needs a mastoidectomy," the doctor told me.

"What?" I said, holding my trembling girl.

"Her mastoid bones need to come out or she'll eventually be deaf."

Deaf? Mastoid bones?


She had struggled with infection, after infection, after infection. Some were so bad, I could smell them and fluid would ooze out. We tried everything. Drops. Oral antibiotics. Nothing worked.

I went home and googled mastoidectomy. It was a six hour surgery. And the surgeon would literally drill her mastoid bones out of her skull. All of this in a last attempt to get the infection the was slowly going from her ears and creeping towards her brain. But there were some serious risks.

Complete deafness.

Facial paralysis.


I took the Princess for a second and third opinion. They all looked at her CT and said the same thing. Mastodectomy. Or the infection would slowly steal her hearing.

I got on my knees and pleaded for my little girl. How could she need this, too? How? She had already suffered so much, endured more than any other person I knew, and yet now she could be facing deafness.

So on April 9, we took her back to the hospital, and once again handed her over to the surgeon. Six hours later we were back by her side.

She was confused, agitated, and downright mad. Her ears had been literally cut away from her head and stitched back together, her ear canal was widened, she was once again assaulted with a scalpel.

We were told to expect her to be out of school for an entire month. But one week post surgery, she was doing so well her ENT allowed her to go back to school.

God has this funny way of reminding me of his faithfulness. Yes, she had to endure another surgery. But he gave us a surgeon, who happened to just have completed years of research on Asian ears. But beyond that, her hearing will never be perfect, but she is healing and she has functional hearing.

My girl's physical healing has stumped even the best surgeons. Her heart looks like it was done by the best surgeons in the US. Her palate is now beautiful. Her ears now work.

I love the song when the Hurt and the Healer Collide by Mercy Me. It just reminds me that when I allow God to take over her life. When I give her to him completely, he will always, always answer. Maybe not the answer I wanted. Because, let's face it, I would have waved my magic wand and taken away all the infection without surgery.

But faith does not work that way. God has bigger plans. Better plans. And he continues to collide with my girl. And continues to remind me that he will not leave her.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

One Thousand and One Tears the Book!

It's here! Finally, finally here!

This is a story for my daughter who somehow ended up in an orphanage in Beijing, China.
She started questioning her past.
What did her birth mom look like?
Who took care of her?
How did she get to the orphanage?
Huge gaps of her life are missing.
And I can't fill them in.
So this isn't really my daughter's story.It's her what might have, what could have, what maybe happened story.
It's a story that every child who comes from China is missing. Thanks to the work of my wonderful friend and artist Cassie, my daughter now has a picture of a young Chinese woman holding a baby. Of nannies in the orphanage. Of me waiting for her at home.
Of the tears that came along with that.
Because adoption is sad, joyous, exciting, hard, heartbreaking, overwhelming, and a hundred other emotions all rolled into one.
And I wrote it, because my daughter, who I cried for every single day she waited for me sick and alone in the orphanage, deserves to have a what if story to help her fill in those gaps. Because there are some things we will never know. And as her mom, it's my job to help her fill in those gaps.

And it's a story I want other children from China to have.
One Thousand And One Tearshttp://www.amazon.com/One-Thousand-Tears-Amy-Adair-Bode/dp/1469948095/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341865184&sr=8-1&keywords=amy+Adair+Bode is available on amazon.com. Or you can order a hardcover signed copy from me.

They Laughed At Her

My claws are out. And I am ready to pounce.

Yesterday, I took my girl to have her eyes examined. When she is in a new environment, especially a doctor's office, she gets nervous. And acts silly. And sings. And laughs. A lot. And, well, she becomes a handful. But if you talk quietly to her, she usually calms down.

When we were finally called, the doctor took one look and her and exclaimed, "Oh brother. I have to exam HER?"

Instead of telling her things, he barked orders at me to tell her. He acted like she wasn't even in the room. And it was obvious that he wanted nothing to do with my girl.

But it gets worse.

When we were done, an employee at the front desk asked me how it went. I told her that the doctor shouldn't work with kids. And I grabbed Princess' hand to leave.

As I turned, she rolled her eyes at my girl, whispered something to some customers, and they all laughed.

At my daughter.

At my girl who obviously has special needs. Who needs a little extra grace. And if only they knew how much trauma she has been through. How many doctors have hurt her. How she had open heart surgery all by herself in China. But, you can't really explain that to people.

I was upset at the doctor. But the laughing? At a little girl?

As I drove home, my heart crumbled for my poor girl. Who, sadly, will meet so many more people in her life who laugh at and make fun of her.

But she is so much more. Yes, she can been a handful. But this feisty little girl is a miracle. She is no accident. And that is her true worth.