Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Mom, are there bathrooms in heaven?"

"what about candy? Is there candy in heaven?"

"Mom, when babies grow bigger do their brain grow bigger too?"

"Mom, are we 'post to poo' everyday?"

"Mom, are the cats and dogs my brothers and sisters?"
Life is now a constant game of twenty questions! LOL She is always thinking and asking questions. I sometimes wonder if her brain even rests at night. Most mornings if she doesn't have a question first thing, she is telling me about her dreams. I need to check out the library and the bookstores for books that she can read that can answer all those questions she hasn't thought of yet. If anyone reading this has book suggestions, we would appreciate it. LOL I just know there's going to be questions that I can't answer, like 'why is the sky blue'.

Only one week of school left and it's basically party week. No homework to worry about. Her class is having an ice cream party on Mon., another student's b-day on Tues., and a picnic outside on Thurs. Report cards come out on Fri. and then she's done. She is so looking forward to summer. Me.............not so much. :-) We are surprising her with a trip to Sea World probably one day the following week. Her "Gwamma" H. sent money for 3 tickets to celebrate her year-long A-B Honor Roll. She's never been to Sea World and is going to love it!

Oh, and about the cats and dogs being her brothers and sisters???? I think we've got that straightened out. LOL. I have always called them my 'other kids' or my fur babies, so you can understand the confusion. (wink, wink)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Her Dad is Home!

And life is good once again!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Life goes on........

Such devastation, tragedy and sadness this past month or so. The cyclones and earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and fires and then the tragic loss of a precious little girl that most of us never knew, but yet felt so close to. The rising price of gas, actually the rising price of everything, compounded by the fact that my husband who was laid off from his job back in Nov., still has not been able to find work. Tough times are everywhere these days and it's sometimes hard to find a reason to smile.
But as we all know, life does go on. We will pick up the pieces, we will sacrifice where needed, and we will smile again.
Mailia makes me smile everyday. She can annoy the you know what outta me sometimes, but she can also make me smile. Her daddy has been out of state for the past ten days working for some side money. She has missed him sooooo much. I heard her tell him on the phone the other night that "it's no fun when you're not here". My first thought was "hey, am I chopped liver?" but I knew what she really meant in her heart. It's just not the same when we're apart. We're a family and families need to be together. Daddy will be home tomorrow and she can barely contain her excitement. She has about a million things to tell him, she says. And I'm sure he can hardly wait to hear them all. LOL
Wishing you all a safe and happy Memorial weekend. Please find time to remember the reason for the holiday, and then spend some quality time with your family.

Oh yeah, the picture...........Mailia with her PoPo and YeYe. She is so happy to "see" them again. She told me several months ago that she almost forgot what they looked like. We're so happy to have this connection with them now. We have sent another letter and more pictures and hope to hear back from them in a couple of months or so. Btw, Mailia had just eaten a blue fruit roll-up before I snapped this picture, thus the blue teeth. LOL

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Maria Sue Chapman

May 22, 2008

Maria Sue Chapman (2003-2008)

Maria Sue Chapman, adopted and youngest daughter to Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman, was killed Wednesday night in a tragic accident in the family driveway on Wednesday evening. She was LifeFlighted to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital but for only reasons God can explain she went home to Him... not to Franklin as we all so desperately wanted.

Your prayers are needed for all in the Chapman family. This is a family who has so generously loved and given to so many. Just hours before this close knit family was celebrating the engagement of the oldest daughter Emily Chapman, and were just hours away from a graduation party marking Caleb Chapman's completion of high school. Now, they are preparing to bury a child who blew out 5 candles on a birthday cake less than 10 days ago. These words are unthinkable to type. - Jim Houser (Manager)

We are all humbled by the incredible outpouring of love and support at this difficult time. I have watched you, the Chapman friends, overwhelm website servers and jam phone lines with your gracious words and heartfelt prayers. The Chapman family is so grateful. Obviously, we cherish your prayers for all in the Chapman family, and we welcome you passing this along to others to pray and encouraging them to sign up for Steven's e-mail list to receive continuing updates.
  • If you'd like to express your condolences and get a glimpse of this beautiful little girl through a short video clip, click here.
  • Mail to PO Box 150156 Nashville, TN 37215.
  • In lieu of flowers, the Chapmans request any gifts be directed to Shaohannah's Hope, click here.
In closing, as many of you know, the song "Cinderella" was written by Steven to help him (and us all) grab a hold of the special moments with those we love we might otherwise rush by. It was inspired by a bath time that Steven tried to "hurry," Maria and her sister Stevey Joy were not exactly cooperating. : ) Let us all be reminded again today what Steven compels us to with the lyric of this special song.

Maria, we already miss you so much, and we only take comfort in The Hope that assures us we'll see you again soon.
On behalf of the Chapman team and family, Jim Houser (Manager)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

China Earthquake Update 5/20

Dear Friends,
As I delay writing this report a bit longer each day, I realize that, like
so many, I find it harder and harder to read or write those grim
statistics or tell the sad stories. We wish we could be done with this
death and disaster and start to move on. But still the numbers come.
There are 34,073 people confirmed dead, 245,108 injured, still more than
35,000 still missing.
Yesterday, after those three silent minutes in Sichuan, people began to
call out, “Rebuild! Rebuild!” Today, when I was feeling I couldn’t open
another casualty report, I read instead a report about new babies born
during and right after the quake. They have names like ‘Li Zhen’
(Earthquake) and ‘Born in a Tent’ and ‘Long March.’ They, like all the
survivors, will carry these terrible days with them always. But their
lives are just beginning. For them and for all of the children who
survived, Sichuan will begin to rebuild.
As hope of finding more survivors fades, we find hope in each bit of good
news –

with love,
Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

And Finally a Little Rain

Of course, in typical Florida fashion, the sun was out the entire time.

First measurable rain since April 6th. Hoping some of it makes to the coast to help put out some of the fires.

We've got Beans!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Earthquake update May 17

I feel compelled to share news whenever I receive it. Here is today's update from Jenny at Half the Sky. By the way, for those who may be asking..."why Half the Sky",
the orphanage (or SWI - means Social Welfare Institute) where Mailia lived was one of the lucky orphanages where HTS came in and set up. They are invaluable for training care-givers and teachers. They are also set up to receive sponsorships for the kids. Mailia was sponsored while in their program and so was a beneficiary of their care and teaching. Once home with Mailia, HTS sent me many, many pictures and progress reports for Mailia which are precious glimpses into her life before she was ours. I am forever indebted to Half the Sky!


Dear Friends,
It is mid-weekend now in China so we are not getting a daily call from the
ministry. But I do have further information to share with you.
We have now reached every affected institution, with the exception of Aba
Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture where the orphanage is said to house
52 children. We will let you know as soon as we make contact.
It turns out the Mianzhu SWI, which we’d had trouble reaching, was leveled
in the quake. There was one fatality, an elderly resident. Thankfully,
all of the children were in community foster care and all are fine.
As of today (Saturday) there were 28,881 people confirmed dead. There
were a very small number of live rescues, but the teams have not given up
hope. Cities like Mianyang have become refugee centers. 20,000 homeless
who have come on foot from nearby towns are living in the local stadium;
many more thousands have no place to go. 4.7 million homes have been
destroyed. 169,000 people are injured.
Ma Lang tells us that although the rescue resources keeping coming in, one
concern is the uneven distribution of much needed goods. “Counties and
townships that have been the focus in media coverage receive more
resources (sometimes more than enough); while in some other areas, there
is little. In Qingchuan, people are surviving on one bottle of water and
two cookies per day.”
In the schools that did not collapse (almost 7,000 were destroyed) the
education bureaus are working to care for displaced children. They need
tents, blankets, masks, rice, noodles, oil, flashlights, disposable
underwear and antiseptic wipes. Many of those items and the items are are
requested by the welfare institutions are no longer available in Chengdu.
With the funds you have donated, HTS has a team of volunteer shoppers
scouring Chengdu and we have a network of staff and volunteers seeking out
needed items throughout China.
Today, with your help, we purchased 100 large refugee tents to house
children who are in need of shelter. We have arranged to purchase more
later this week but want to be sure we can properly distribute first. It
is not easy to find goods now or to get them where they need to go. But
everyone is working together to help the children.
As you have heard, this tragic event has both killed children and created
orphans. A group of new orphans has been transported to Chengdu. We
expect to have more information soon.
Meanwhile, the orphanage in Chengdu experienced a magnitude 5.9 aftershock
yesterday (there have been 23 major aftershocks ranging from 5-6.9 on the
Richter Scale!) and is preparing, if necessary, to move the children
completely out of what was considered to be the most solid building. They
have requested tents, which we are providing immediately.
Please give what you can to help the children who survive go on with their
Your donations to support relief efforts for the children have been so
generous. It is deeply moving to see how many people care.
with love,
Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Earthquake update

I just received this update from Jenny at Half the Sky. Ford Motor matching all donations made thru the Global Giving site!

Dear Friends,
As word comes of the hundreds, maybe thousands of children lost in the
earthquake, I am finding these emails almost too painful to write. When I
think of so many parents who have lost their only child - so many children
newly orphaned - so many families destroyed - there are no words….
Still, I will continue to write daily with any new information that has
been given to us and confirmed. Again, please do not contact us to
inquire about individual institutions. We will give you all of the
information we have. If you do not hear from us about a particular place,
it likely is not affected. At any rate, we don’t have any information
beyond what I am passing along to you.
As of now, Thursday afternoon in China, there are 14,866 people confirmed
dead, 14,463 in Sichuan Province. There are 22,438 people reported
missing – 21,020 of them in Deyang alone. There have been 3,300
aftershocks and they continue.
Here is the confirmed information we have regarding children in welfare
Chengdu: The city continues to experience aftershocks and the institution
director is afraid the water supply will be cut off again, so has
requested disposable diapers. They are having trouble finding sufficient
supplies of milk and formula. All children in foster care have been
located and are fine. The institution has structural cracks but was built
to current earthquake standards and is fundamentally solid. All the
children remain on the first floor of the children’s building, mostly in
the cafeteria, and, weather-permitting, outside while awake. We’ve posted
a few photos on our website.
Chongqing and Yibin orphanages are fine – no building damage, no shortage
of supplies.
The orphanages below report problems. However, please note that not a
single child has been injured; all are fine:
- Zigong CWI needs bedding, powdered milk, crackers and disposable diapers
- Neijiang CWI has suffered some structural damage; one or two children’s
dormitories, office building and laundry room have cracked walls.
- Nanchong 2nd SWI has cracks in walls, substantial damage to the ceiling
of a staff building, needs tents
- Mianyang Zitong CWI has severely damaged walls. Children have been
moved to a military base. Urgent need for diapers, bedding, powdered milk
and purified water
Hanzhong CWI (Shaanxi)- Quite a few water pipes burst, the water tower had
cracks. Children have been evacuated and there is need for more tents,
bedding and purified water. We’ve posted a few photos on our website.
Dujiangyan SWI has evacuated all children. They have no tap water or
electricity in their temporary shelter. They urgently need food, purified
water, diapers and powdered milk.
We are still unable to reach these institutions: Deyang CWI (78 children),
Abazhou CWI (52 children), Guangyuan SWI, Mianzhu SWI
One of our HTS Beijing staff, Ma Lang, is a native of Mianyang, Sichuan,
close to the epicenter. HTS’ Director of Child Development, Ma Lang is
both a pediatrician and a child development specialist. She is on her way
home right now to make use of her skills both medically and to help
children traumatized by this disaster. We are so proud of Lang and wish
her safe travels. She has promised to share her journey with all of us.
So soon you’ll be hearing from us both!
Usually just before June 1, China’s Children’s Day, Half the Sky announces
a special appeal to help us fund new orphanage programs in the fall.
While we are committed to starting those new programs and know we will
need help to make it happen, we just don’t feel we can ask for help
improving lives while children in Sichuan are losing theirs. There must
be a Children’s Day Challenge this year but not at this time. Please do
what you can to help children in trouble now, and remember to help the
kids of HTS a little later this year.
Our hearts and prayers today are especially with the parents who have lost
their children in the collapse of schools - Muyu, Xinjian, Juyuan,
Liangping, and the rest.
Please give what you can to help the children who survive go on with their
If you would like to donate to Half the Sky’s Children’s Earthquake Fund,
it would be great if you would do so at Global Giving. The Ford Motor
Company announced today that they will match every gift!
If you prefer to donate directly to Half the Sky, of course that’s fine.
Here are the various ways:
You can donate by calling Half the Sky (+1 510 525 3377) or on our
If you would like a Canadian tax receipt, please donate at
If you would like a Hong Kong tax receipt, please call us at +852 2520
5266 or online at
We have been so moved by your support already. Thank you!
with love,
Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation
Half the Sky was created in order to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China. We establish and operate infant nurture and preschool programs, provide personalized learning for older children and establish loving permanent family care and guidance for children with disabilities. It is our goal to ensure that every orphaned child has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Earthquake in China

I've had several family members call to ask us if the earthquake hit anywhere near Fuzhou, the city of Mailia's birth and home to her foster parents. Fortunately the quake was centered well west of Fuzhou so everyone there is safe. Sadly, there are thousands of others who have been lost, and many, many more who are grieving and no place left to call home. Some of you may have already donated to help in the relief efforts, but there may be others who would like to donate but don't know where to go. If this is the case for you, I have to ask that you read the following email from Jenny Bowen, the Executive Director for the "Half the Sky" foundation. The children and the families of the children in Fuzhou are safe tonight, but thousands more are hurting and homeless and orphaned. If you feel led to help, please consider Half the Sky.

I have added a widget to this page that will take you directly to this donation site. Please just click on Global Giving to the right and top of this page. Thank You!

<<<"During the past several hours Half the Sky has been working hard to get
more information about the children impacted by the Sichuan and Chongqing
earthquake. We know that it is not only children in welfare institutions
who are in trouble. We know that hundreds of children have been separated
from their families, have lost their parents, are hurt, traumatized and in
pain. We know we must help; we have been working to figure how best to do
We have just a little bit of news. There have been hundreds of
aftershocks, one reported to be as strong as 6.0. Children have again
been evacuated from the Chengdu institution. Relief workers have arrived
in the epicenter, Wenchuan. The Ministry of Civil Affairs (this is the
ministry that HTS works with and also the agency responsible for disaster
relief) has been unable to reach orphanages in the most affected areas:
Mianyang, Zitong, Deyang and Aba. There are other welfare institutions in
the affected areas but no others that house children. Each of the four
institutions above houses about 100 children. We believe they will need
help. We will continue to watch and wait.
Many of you have asked us to set up an emergency relief fund, like we did
during the winter storms. Given the nature of this disaster and the fact
that help for children may well be needed outside welfare institutions
(where we have a direct line) we have waited to set up such a fund until
we had absolute assurance that we could put a system in place to deliver
the aid where it is most desperately needed.
Half the Sky takes the designation of a donor-restricted gift seriously –
that’s our promise to you. We understand that when you make an emergency
donation, you put your trust in us. We have spoken very carefully about
this with our colleagues at the Ministry of Civil Affairs. We now have
their promise as well.
In cooperation with the ministry, we have now set up the Half the Sky
Children’s Earthquake Fund. Your donations to the fund will be used to
provide emergency and long-term relief to children affected by the
disaster. Relief will include emergency shelter, food, and medical care
for children orphaned or separated from their families. It will include
temporary or long-term foster care or, when necessary, temporary
institutional care.
We have a commitment from the ministry that we will receive regular
updates on the use of funds and, most important, the well-being of the
Thank you for caring so much about the children.

with love,
Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation
Half the Sky was created in order to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China. We establish and operate infant nurture and preschool programs, provide personalized learning for older children and establish loving permanent family care and guidance for children with disabilities. It is our goal to ensure that every orphaned child has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

It's so good to be part of the Mother's Day club. :-} Hope all you other moms are enjoying your special day. M. washed my car for me and she and daddy are making dinner for me today.

Happy Mother's Day!