Sunday, 19 January 2014


This has been a hard week… really hard.  

I felt my self going into survival mode by Monday at noon… and then was reminded of a lesson I learned while going through the adoption process with Grace. A lesson on joy

Joy is defined in the dictionary two different ways, one as a noun: meaning a feeling of great pleasure and happiness OR as a verb: rejoice

I always understood joy as happiness, excitement, the good feelings… that is easy.  It is easy to be filled with joy when life is going well.  When life is filled with sunshine and roses.  When the road that life is taking you is flat, and paved… not bumpy and windy.  However as we the wait to bring Grace home grew each day I was shown daily that I had forgot to live out joy as defined by the verb- REJOICE.

incase you missed it, the definition did not say REJOICE because life is easy, or REJOICE because everything is good… it just simply said REJOICE.

There are lots of bible verses about joy: seriously go look…

there are 2 verses that I found comfort in while I was struggling with joy…

Philippians 4:4-7 " Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all,  The lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

James 1:2-4 " Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when ever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its works so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything"

I want to live with joy, no matter the circumstances in my life.  I am learning that living with joy means choosing to rejoice… REJOICE because I am loved, I am saved, I have been redeemed. And because of that I always have reason to rejoice.

I remember it was really hard to learn to live with joy when Grace was so far away, but I understand now that the time we were separated was an opportunity for me to learn a lot of lessons that I really needed to understand.

I still struggle to live with joy, but I am working on it.  This week was another reminded to REJOICE! Rejoice despite the fact that people I love are really hurting. Rejoice… even though this week was a struggle! Rejoice because even though the world is filled with hurting people, war, famine, sickness and evil their is hope!


Sunday, 12 January 2014

oh change… how quickly you sneak up on me!

We started this week with big changes in our life…. it was time for me to head back to work, and for our family of three to start a new adventure.

When we flew to Taiwan in July of 2012, I was able to take a leave of absence from my job.  My employer allows up to 18 months leave of absence for paternity/adoption leave.  In Canada we were eligible for 35 week partially paid paternal leave.  At the end of the 35 weeks, we tightened up our budget and made some changes so that I could stay off work for the full 18 months.  It was a huge blessing to have so much special time with Grace and have 18 months to focus on our family!

I am so thankful for the amazing opportunity to take parental leave.  The first 6 months were a bit of a haze, as we adapted to less sleep, new schedules and routine.  I would love to say our 18 months were all rainbows and giggles, but life was sometimes hard.  Teething is hard… no sleep is hard…. exploring boundaries and seeking independence is a hard stage. But there were so many amazing moments, making new friends, watching Grace learn and grow, jumping in mud puddles, spending extra time with the people we love and so many other adventures. I will forever be thankful that I was able to devote my full attention to Grace for those 18 months.  They are precious, wonderful memories that I will cherish forever.

Many people have very strong opinions on the career vs stay at home mom debate.  I was given a lot of advise from anyone who knew our situation. There are great articles out there telling me I am ruining my child by having a career instead of staying at home.  There are great articles out there that tell me I am running my kid by keeping them in a cocoon of the safety of home instead of expanding their horizons at daycare while I go back to work.  There are great articles saying that women can do it all.  There are great articles saying we can't.  At the end of the day the choice to head back to work was ours as a family, and as a family we had to make the decision that was best for us.

This past Monday Grace and I put on our big girl pants and embraced a new day… full of new adventures and change…

We had a great start to our new adventure.   Getting back to work was a lot of fun.  I have great co workers, who were incredibly patient with me as I tried to remember where I left off 18 months ago.  Grace had a great week with her Nana.  It was fun to hear her babble her stories and bounce around the house in excitement each night.

I am so thankful for my Mom who offered to watch Grace.   I know this will be a special time for both of them.  I am thankful to my co workers who have been so patient and understanding.  I am thankful for Ryan who always puts us first and has made so many sacrifices for us.

Change is inevitable… but wether it sneaks up on your or you see it coming a mile away… we are doing our best to make the most of it…. we are going to seize the day!

excellent hair day at the Wock's

Thursday, 2 January 2014

good bye 2013… hello 2014

Good Bye 2013… you have provided us with many fond memories!  What a year it has been! I look back and remember the struggles, the exhaustion, the joy and celebration.  I can say with certainty that in 2013 we grew as individuals and as a family.  We struggled, we thrived.  we lived…

making a snow man.. or eating his nose...
I have been off work since July of 2012, which left Grace and I lots of time to play and enjoy life.  We participated in group classes at the family centre, had lots of play dates with friends, and enjoyed visits with family.

In February we hosted Chinese New Year celebrations at our house, the first one with Grace at home.  We had such a great time, despite the blizzard raging outside.
Happy Chinese New Year!

Our adventurous Grace loved the melting snow, and we spent the early parts of spring jumping in mud puddles and washing clothes!  We purchased a pair of chest waders for Grace, money well spent. I would recommend Oakiwear to anyone, they have been a big lifesaver around here!

When the snow was all gone, we made a temporary sandbox on the deck, and enjoyed the sunshine and warm temperatures.  One of the big projects for Ryan was finishing the swing set/sand box that Ryan's mom and dad had given us.  He did a great job with help from my Dad and Grace.  We spent many mornings and afternoons enjoying the warm sand and climbing up into the play house!  Grace loves to climb, and was a master at getting up there all by herself.  She also discovered she loved to be buried in the sand, and jump on the trampoline.  There was never a dull moment around here!
sand box 

We spent many hours in the garden, which had a wonderful harvest.  I can not thank my Mom and Dad enough for all of the hours they spent weeding, harvesting and planting. Grace again found a love for the garden; helping us plant ( you could tell where her seeds were planted, they never quite lined up in the rows) harvest ( oh she loves PEAS!) the delight of learning that something was hiding under the earth.  We did battle the horse flies and misquotes this year.  Grace had a bad reaction to the bites and we ended up having to stay inside more at times due to the pesky bugs!

bug jacket

In May we enjoyed our annual camping trip with the Friedrick's and Koshman's.  This was another first for Grace, one we had so been looking forward to!  Grace loved Cayden's bike trailer and the kids would sit in it as everyone took turns riding the bike with them. We blew bubbles… for days… played trains with cayden, enjoyed some time on the beach and lots of conversation around the camp fire.  We were missing a couple of people last year, and praying that God will provide so that we can all be together for 2014!
camping 2013

In June our plans to head out west for a family vacation were derailed by incredible flooding so we changed our directions and headed to Clear Lake for a couple of days.  It was a wonderful get away time for me!  Ryan was able to rest and Grace and I were able to explore!  We spent a lot of time walking, eating gelato, and swimming in the pool!

One of the highlights of our year was getting to see Muir's when they returned home to Canada for a vacation.  Grace instantly bonded with them, and my heart was so full watching the kids love Grace.  I am overwhelmed with emotion when I think of how adoption grows your family, not just with your child but with all the people who were apart of their life before our story started with them.  Our family has grown by leaps and bounds with all of the "aunties", friends and nannies who are apart of Grace's life.  Having a visit with this extended part of our family was a great reminder how beautiful Grace's story is!

In September we took a little girls trip with Grandma and Grace to Yorkton to spend time with family.  It was a wonderful time, playing outside and visiting but with three kiddos it was busy! We did have time to get into a little mischief, a tree may have been broken… sorry Ben :)

This fall we were able to participate in a fundraiser for Taiwan Xi En ( the organization we adopted Grace from).  I am so thankful for the opportunity we had to serve!  We were stretched during these months but had such an incredible time.  We were able to make new friendships and develop strong relationships.  We met incredible people with a heart for orphans.  We were able to share our story and hopefully along the way encourage others.

In November it worked out for Grace and I to take a girls trip to Alberta. We spent our week meeting new friends and catching up with good friends we hadn't seen in a while.  Ryan joined us at the end of the week and we had the best visit with Aaron and Audrey.  Grace loved playing with her Auntie and Uncle, our time was too short but we had a great holiday!

dancing in the rain
December has seemed like a long month, with cold weather, health issues, and preparing for the changes to come in 2014.   We were excited to wrap up our home study for our second adoption right before Christmas.  We are looking forward to what 2014 will bring.
snuggles with Daddy

Our year has been full, but so much fun. We want to thank each of you for being apart of our lives! We truly are blessed.  2014 is full of unknown for us, but I rest peacefully knowing I am not in control, I am just along for the ride.  I look forward to what this year will bring.

Thank you for catching up with us! Lets talk soon!