Food

Thanksgiving

I made a funny on my Facebook page today. My comment was that I now live in a house where there are hardly any uneaten leftovers, even if I eat them to survive. However, it is true. How many times have I told my family that we waste so much food? Of course I add that there are starving people all over the world who would love to eat what we throw out. Now, those people live at our house and eat our food. It is wonderful! They have become a tad picky, but just a tad. Our oldest has been venturing out and trying some different things (survival I think).

I thought bringing two new members into our family would change the family dynamic so much that we would have to struggle for a while. Nope. These guys have brought us even closer together. We are more careful about the money we spend eating out. We eat at home a lot. We sit down as a family to eat more often than not. These times lead into family discussions, reading of scripture (like from our Advent Devotional provided by our church), etc.

Matthew 4:4 ESV But He answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

Oh, if I lived this way. Our church has started an outreach called No One Home Alone. We do not want anyone home alone for Christmas or any other time. We want everyone to know the love of Christ. With Him, we are never alone.

If you are struggling and need someone to pray for you or need someone to talk to, please let me know.

Lori

More Waiting and Finally the Appointment

Yesterday started out as whole bunch of nothing.  It did give us an opportunity to get some more bonding time in.  Little Z is beginning to like his dad a little more unless he really wants something that I won’t give him.  At that point, it is “Where’s my mommy?”  He’s definitely got more playful and gigglely (not sure if that’s a word).  When we first we interacting with him, you could see in his eyes that he was calculating and attempting to figure this all out.  He’s comfortable and realizes that he is not going to lose us.  E was always pretty much cool with everything as long as he could see me.

Couple of neat observations to note:  whatever you are eating or drinking, that’s what they want to eat or drink.  Never give them french fries first, or you’ll never get them to eat anything else for that matter.  Z has a chipmunk/squirrel thing that he does.  He will eat a whole bunch then chew a little, and store it in his cheeks.  This works fine if he swallows occasionally, but most of the time he gets too much and has to spit it out.  Ewwwe!!  The younger E can tell you when he needs to go to the bathroom.  Pretty cool considering he is less than two years old, huh?

We took some group pictures and a family picture.  We hit the silk market so we all had outfits for the picture.  After that we went back to the room for a little R& R.  Mrs. Strawbridge will be happy to see that D was working intently on his homework.

Later that evening we had dinner at a manchurian restaurant.  Interesting flavors there that I have never experienced.  There was a dish called mapo tofu (I think that was what it was called) that had a pretty good kick to it.  We have decided that we must learn how to make it and I’m not a fan of tofu. 

Today, we finally had THE APPOINTMENT.  The appointment with our US Consulate for the boys.  It involves taking an oath affirming that all the information that we have provided is accurate to the best of our knowledge.  We then walk up to a teller type counter with the children so that the children can be matched up to their passports.  Couple of pages to sign and it is done.  We also had to pay a fee times two.  Remember with double the children, you get double the fees.  It was for their travel visa, but once they hit American soil they will become naturalized American citizens.  At least that is how I understand it.  We had a little mini interview with the adoption officer since we were under the Non-Hague rules.  “Who was your adoption agency? Were they helpful? Were all fees disclosed?” were among some of the questions that they asked.  Sorry no pictures to depict this wonderful event.  The consulate was adament that no electronics of any kind were allowed on the premises.  I would it assume it was for security purposes.  According to our guides, our boys visas should be ready tomorrow for the journey back the following day.  Bout time! 

-Bill

China Day 1 – Beijing

Hello All,

Today was a fun day.  We believe we finally caught up to Beijing time.  United Airlines helped by making the flight over feel like we had been flying throughout the night even though behind all the shades was the sun.  Got to the hotel ok. We walked around a bit and explored the hotel and its surroundings.  We then got a little dinner and when back to the room.  Everyone crashed hard and turned in at about 9:30 which is very unusual for even Bill.  All of us slept for about 12 hours.

Ahhh, the morning.  Breakfast was great and D still had on his pjs.  Guess what to all those in blog land.  You can get fried noodles, pancakes, and bacon for breakfast here.  Oh and you can it with chopsticks.  Speaking of which, D had a pound of bacon, 15 pancakes, and gallon of OJ.

Of the D-man, he can find a friend anywhere, which bodes well for when we get the boys.  D’s friend was “Monte.”  That was his English name.  According to his dad, his Chinese name is pretty difficult to say.  So maybe your asking yourself, “Self, what did D and his new buddy do?”  They found snails in the bushes by the building.  Many of you that know the D-man realize that this par for the course.  What’s a new continent and all, the goal is “I must find a new critter.”  Mom and Dad said, “No, you can take that back to the room.

We decided that we would explore a little of Beijing by heading over to Olympic Stadium or the Nest as I am sure we all remember from the 2008 Olympic Games.  We took the subway.  It is about as nice or nicer than the Metro in DC.  Our hotel guy said we could take it or a taxi.  He did say it could be a little overwhelming, but that didn’t scare us.  Oh, back to the Nest, TV does not do it justice.  It is massive and beautiful and is a engineering marvel.  Although the games were three years ago the place and the surrounding facilities still look great.  Lori did her best today to learn new phases in Chinese as quickly as she could.  One phase in particular “How much?” came in particularly handy and “Where is?” followed by a point to a sign such as McDonald’s.  Daddy and D had a extra fun time by riding seaways around the track at the stadium.  Champions walked and ran on it, we rode seaways.  D had a little trouble at first getting used to riding the two wheeler, but in the end he was a little expert.  Don’t worry grandparents, he had on a helmet and pads.  After that we began our travel over to the “The Cube” where are the swimming events were held.  We sidetracked ourselves at the McDonald’s for a late lunch and then headed for the The Cube.  We were somewhat surprised to find out that the Cube had been converted to a Water Park – water slides, speed slides, etc.  Oh well…

We decide to head back to the subway and realized that tons of people had showed up since earlier that morning.  Those tons of people included vendors trying to sale every thing they had.  Some were pretty pushy.  One lady was trying to put stuff in our bag.  It didn’t matter that we were trying to say no, but in the end we think we got a pretty good deal.  One thing we also discovered, we are a picture magnet.  People were walking up to us and asking to take a picture.  I don’t mean “Hey, American, … take picture of me.”  It was let us take a picture of you guys with us standing next to you.  Wild, I tell you.  The D-man was magnet for other children.  Their parents would send them to stand or sit next to him for a photo.  Blue eyes gets them every time.  The Chinese people are great and love that you visiting their country.  D would do something funny and they would smile and take a picture.

We made it back to the hotel on the subway.  The Moody’s now know what it like to be a sardine.  Word to the wise: you better be quick trying to get a seat in the subway and if your one of those people who hates crowds don’t ride it.  Is your personal space an issue for you, then take a taxi.  🙂

In the room, Bill blew out the AC adapter for the DVD player.  240 vs. 110 volts equals smokey mess.  JOY! In Bill’s defense, the computer worked with no trouble in the outlet.  Next stop … the mall next door for a AC converter.  We forgot that we promised D a chance to hit the ice skating ring in the mall the day before.  Ice Skating, like the seaway, took him a little while to figure how to do it.  In the end, he started to get the hang of it, but his exhaustion was getting the better of him.  So much so that he fell asleep in his rice at dinner.  Rice up the nose is hard to get out…. Just kidding.

Tomorrow looks to be pretty cool.  We will be seeing more neat things that we have only seen in books or on tv.   We wonder what the boys are doing.  What thoughts are going on in their little heads.  My mommy, daddy, and big brother on their way. Just a few days more….

Flight

Wow, I cannot believe I actually considered leaving this past Friday! So much to take care of. You would think after all this waiting that we would be ready to get right on the plane. Nope!

Right now we are planning our best strategy to fly there and back. These flights to China just don’t happen at any airport at any time. You gotta fly to the “hub” for that particular airline, then a coastal city (usually west), then China. Either the layover is too short to make the connecting flight, or way too long. So, we will probably fly out the evening before and spend the night in the “hub” city. We cannot afford a flight delay.

On the return trip, a friend advised us to spend the night in whatever city we land in America. The more I think about it, this is wise advice. Twelve hours on a plane with a 7, 2, and almost 2-year-old. Not to mention a grumpy mom and dad. Yep, showers and sleep will be the plan. So, expect us a day later. (Hopefully smelling good and in good spirits).

D made the boys some bears at Build-a-Bear. The koala is D’s. The black bear is Z’s. (Maybe he will be an Ole Miss fan?) The light brown bear is E’s.

Love to you all. We covet your prayers.

Lori

Zephaniah 3:17 For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Packing

Yes, you heard right. We are packing! Well, nothing is in suitcases yet….

That only means one thing. We have our Travel Approval!!!

In three weeks we will be on a very very very long flight to Beijing. Once we arrive in Beijing, we will have a day to tour the city and let our bodies adjust to the time change (they are 13 hours ahead). Day 4 we will fly to Zhengzhou (the capital city of Henan province where our boys live). Day 5 we will get our boys!!!!

Keep checking our blog for updates.

Numbers 6:24-26 (NLT)  ‘May the LORD bless you and protect you. May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you. May the LORD show you His favor and give you His peace.’

Virtue

Patience is a Virtue

Let me start by saying I am a movie buff.  Some of you may know that about me.  I used to have this skill when I was younger (seasoned individuals may now laugh at my expense) of being able to watch about 5 seconds of a movie and tell you what the movie was regardless of whether or not I had actually ever seen the movie all the way through.  So when I am about to make this movie reference, some of you guys may remember it and it goes along with my theme.  Trust me.  Remember the movie, “The Mummy”?  It’s the first one with Rachel Weisz and Brendan Fraser.  Setting the scene, they have awakened the mummy, and they are hole up in the local museum with the mummy-mind-controlled local population breathing down their necks trying to break-in to get them.  Under duress, they are trying to translate a key bit of information for the purpose of taking down the mummy.  At the moment the mummy-crazed peeps break in to museum, Fraser’s character says “hurry up”.  Weisz’s response, “Patience is a virtue.”  As the crazed nutjobs are flowing in, Fraser’s response, “NOT right now, it’s not!”

I say all that to say this.  Lately, patience is in short, short supply at the Moody household due to the wait.  Some might say, “Hey you’ve been waiting so long, what’s another potential two months.”  To you I say, “Phhhhrrrrrrtttttttt!” Anyway, the wait … what wait, you say?  Right now we are waiting for the “call” or rather the e-mail from the Chinese Children Welfare Agency through our adoption agency.  This e-mail/call will tell us, “Moody family, come get your boys.  We are ready for you and so are they.”  Once we finally have the notice, it will be about 2-4 weeks until the travel time, and then it will be Beijing here we come!  As the generic wait time is 1-2 months from the Letter of Acceptance date, we are praying that the call will happen faster than that.  To recap, E’s paperwork is ready to go, and Z’s is being processed.  Momma’s ready, D’s ready, and I’m ready.

As for the “patience is a virtue” thing, think about when you were young waiting on Christmas or waiting on the new bike you were promised.  When we were a little older it was about “I can’t wait ‘til I graduate and get into college” or “I can’t wait ‘til I get married.”  When you’re out in the real world, it becomes the promotion, the next big deal, or the first house.  We all anticipate so many different things in life and having to wait for them all can make us crazy.  Sometimes we feel like our heart is about jump out of our chest, or we feel like we could just pop out of our skin.  “ARRRRRRGGHHH!  Calgon, take me away.” Uh, … I mean, Stop the insanity. J  Sometimes it becomes anger, other times it become sadness. For us, needless to say, it has been a mixture of both.  The repeated questions of “So, when are you leaving?” while done out of love and excitement begins hurt.  The question becomes a constant reminder of we don’t have them yet.  For those of you out there, think of a situation in the past or right now that maybe has or is hitting you like that.  Anxious, anger, sadness …  How do we deal with it?  How do we get our needed patience in our desperate situations, when our hearts tell us to scream in frustration?

For the rage and anger:

Psalm 37:7-9
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act…. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm….those who trust in the Lord will possess the land. (NLT)

For the sadness:

Psalm 40:1
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. (NIV)

 

For the peace that comes:

Proverbs 15:18
A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. (NIV)

 

And the good stuff:

Romans 8:24-25
We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) (NLT)

Hebrews 6:12
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (NIV)

These verses spell out God’s plan on how having patience can see us through.  But also, praying for the calming effects of the patience is key to surviving through it all.  Here’s to us all having enough.

Bill

Also, I want you all to see what else the Moody’s have added to the boys’ room.  Everything is not in its proper place yet, but the wall in the room is gorgeous.  This is all thanks to a lovely young lady who can paint like nobody’s business.  I supplied the idea, and she made it happen.  Check out the progress from beginning to end.  If anyone is interested having her paint a mural for your room, let me know and I’ll introduce.

The Path

So here I am contemplating this whole blog thing.  I have never done this before, except for the micro-blogging that comes from using Facebook.  I decided “Hey, it is the themoodyblogger.com, why not give a go?”  I probably won’t be as eloquent as my lovely bride, but I will try.  I have been thinking about this for the last several days as to what to say.  Many of you who know us, know about our incredible journey of adoption and our boys E and Z.  It started out as a God ordained quest to get a cute little girl.  The path to it seemed very clear.  God gave us signs along the way.  Some of the ball peen hammer variety, others of the 15 lb sledge type.  In most cases our response was, “Ok, ok, we read you. We are moving on it.” Throughout this long arduous process, I have been the paperwork hog.  Whether intentionally or not, that’s how it ended up.  I think Lori said to herself, “Hey, he handles federal paperwork all the time, so this shouldn’t be too difficult for him.”   All right here we go.

As Lori may have mentioned, we recently both had our 20 year class reunion at our perspective schools.  20 years ….where did the time go? Oh my, what happened? At Lori’s reunion, which was very good, they had a nice program at the banquet.  One part of the program spoke of “The Path” we take.  If I remember it correctly, it was about that over our life we make many decisions that take us down different roads that eventually takes us to where we end up today.  Upon further reflection and a brief conversation I had with the lovely Lori, I believe we should think about it a different way.  We all think that we are in control of our destiny, that we make our decision to send us down the “Our” path.  In reality, we make a decision for a particular path and God takes the control.  There are no coincidences or accidents.  He is in control.  Yes, our decisions do have consequences, but God uses those situations to shape us into what he wants us to be, either through our good decisions or in spite of our bad decisions.  It is now God’s Path.  Dumb decisions are turned into part of the God path for lives.  Smart ones too.  So the path is set before us.  Coming to terms with the fact that it is God’s path for us can be difficult for many who feel that they cannot let go of the control.  It’s a daily struggle.  Can we let go? That’s the challenge.

For us, the path started out for the search for a little girl. God said, “Consider this.” Then, it transitioned into getting a little boy (E).  God then said, “Hey I have something else for you to consider if you are up for it (Z)”.  Now, 2 is the magic number.  If we had decided no on Z, would God be upset with us? Of course not.  Our decision still has God in it and his ultimate plan will still happen no matter what.  I do find it amusing that when a while back we said “We are going for two – boys.”  Many said, “That’s so awesome!”  Now some of those same people are saying “Are you insane?” Nah, … well maybe a little bit.  😉

I’ll leave you with a couple of verses that I think illustrate my point from above.

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

On the “What’s the status? When are you leaving?” front, cause I know you are asking.  My best answer is that we aren’t sure.  The Chinese Children Welfare Institute that handles the adoptions has all our paperwork.  According to our adoption agency, it may take 1-2 months to process Z’s papers to get them to where E’s are now.  However, our agency also said that it probably won’t take that long.  Let’s us hope and pray as such.  This last week has been somewhat stressful after hearing that.  You would think after knowing that we found them, the next phase would be quick and painless.  Arggggg!  However, a little “angel” did provide us calming peace, and we have found ways to divert the “wait pain” for each of us.  Lori and D have been studying Mandarin Chinese via Rosetta Stone.  Lori has found it be challenging and D, …well,…he is a human sponge.  Young minds, nuff said.  I, on the other hand, have been painting E and Z’s room (formally, D’s room).  Needless to say, I went with an Asian color theme and scheme.  I hope it’s not too cliché and low key.  I found some images of bamboo decals and projected them on the walls, traced them, and then painted.  I even found the Chinese characters of the boys names and projected, traced, and painted them too.  I think it looks pretty good.  Check it out for yourself.  Until next time.  -Bill

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