Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The sweet little smile in the middle!

Such a sweet little face!
They layer so many clothes on the children due to lack of heat even if it is a nearly new building.  Also, it is culturally correct to layer many clothes on a child.  The Grandmothers will tell you outright if you do not have the child covered up enough!

Analina is 34" tall and weighs 24lbs.  

She is 4.5 yrs old!  

Lets put this into comparison. 

This is Peanut.  

She is 30" tall and weighs 20lbs.
 She is 22 months and extremely small for her age (less than 1% on the growth charts).  

While we are concerned about our little Peanut and her size (err...lack of it!) we are extremely concerned with how incredibly small Analina is.  However, more concern came with her update.

In March of 2011, Analina, had surgery to repair her Clubfoot.  We only know she had the tendon lengthening repair done.  We do not know if she was serial casted to correct the position of her foot.  Ever since the surgery she has been unable to put her foot flat on the ground.  Assuming she can't put her heel down as it was not specified on the update.  

What does this mean?  

She struggles to walk.  She drags her right foot behind her while walking.  She is only able to walk unassisted for a few minutes before needing to rest.  

My heart just breaks for her.  

Must end this update with a few praises!

They claim she has therapy and they are trying to work with her to use both feet.  I pray that is true!

They are talking about making her a walker to help her walk easier.  I pray that is true! 

She is described as active and social!  
Her language skills are great!  

And she has the most beautiful smile! 

When writing this update on our sweet Analina I wrestled with myself.  While her pictures actually show her smiling there is deep sadness behind the walls of her orphanage.

I still don't feel comfortable going into detail regarding the extreme sadness I have in my heart.  When I feel at liberty I will share.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

~*What's Cooking For Christmas?*~

Here's what's cooking for the O'Dells in the next few days! 
(I will post requested recipes from the last menu after Christmas)

For Christmas Day; Going to Nana's: 
(I use raspberry jello, raspberries and add crushed pineapple)
Cherry Brownie Triffle
(Brownies, whipped topping and cherries)

For Monday: Appetizers and Desserts
Waffle Fries
Veggies and Dip
 Crackers and Cheese

~*I adjust many recipes to include a vegetarian (if not vegan) version and to include substitutions for our little Peanuts multiple allergies.  However, I must also, include items that as a Vegetarian (trying to be vegan) I cannot eat and that do not make accommodations for our littlest one's allergies.*~   

~*Merry Christmas*~

~*Merry Christmas*~  

May you be filled with the Holy Spirit this Christmas season.
May you be truly blessed beyond all words.
May you delight in the little things the Lord sends your way.
~*Merry Christmas*~ 
From the O'Dells

Friday, December 23, 2011

~*Love At First Sight*~

Has anyone noticed how the simplest things have the deepest meanings?

Mark 10:21 Jesus looked at him and loved him.  “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

I highlighted the section that struck me.  Jesus looked at him and loved him.  Wow!  

Did you get that?  
~This is LOVE at first sight~

    Jesus looked at him and loved him.

Don't believe for one minute that YOU are not loved! 

This was a completely random person that came up to Jesus; he had thousands of people pressing around him at all times!

Jesus loved this completely random person, at first sight. 
Please know, that Jesus loves ~YOU~ at first sight too!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

~*A Little Boy Has Hope*~

In a follow-up to ~THIS~ post, where Dalton found out he had a family coming for him.  We sent a care package to him introducing ourselves to him.

Dalton and Madison
Right now, at this very moment, Dalton is losing another friend but this friend is gaining a Mommy and sisters!  Michele met my sweet Dalton in February when she went to his orphanage on a volunteer trip.  She also met an adorable little girl who she is currently in China getting. 

Michele offered to bring our care package to Dalton! 
Here are a few things she said about Dalton.

"Everyone starting laughing when he was pointing at Baba (Daddy) and chatting on and on in Chinese.  I asked them what he was saying and they said he said his Daddy looked like a police officer!" 

Does it get any cuter than that?  He thinks Devin looks like a police officer!  He's already a hero to this little boy!
Look in the bag, there is our picture book! 
 Two of the ladies explained to Dalton that we were coming as fast as we could.  He was listening and listening and then he smiled from ear to ear.  He and Madison (Michele's girl) were chatting back and forth and they told Michele that Madi was telling him that she had a Mommy now and he showed her his if to say...I DO TOO!  
He looks like he's saying "Hey, that's MINE"!  
 I cannot even tell you how this fills my heart up to overflowing.  A little boy who has never known family has HOPE!  He will not have to spend another Christmas without one.  He will be surrounded by love!

If you are able to give a little right now to help us meet the financial need we KNOW is coming up I don't think we could ever be grateful enough.  We have raised 2/3's of the money ourselves and we need YOUR help to raise the last 1/3.  Air-fair alone will be in the thousands of dollars.  

We truly need to bless my mother with a love gift.  She is laying down her priorities for 3 weeks to care for our 4 blessings while we travel to bring home our two Chinese blessings.  She is giving up her paycheck for 3 weeks to do this.  We are raising a love gift for her.

If you are able to give please click on the "Chip-In" button to the right.  

~Thank you for your prayers and for supporting these orphans so they can come home!~

Enjoying Madison's birthday cake!

Friday, December 16, 2011

~*Does This Mean I'm No Longer Vegetarian?*~

I had intensive oral surgery today that involved removal of bone within just an inch of my eye, yet taking that large amount of bone out meant that a bone graft needed to be put in its place.  

Their grafting material of choice? 
Bovine...err...cow bone!  

Does this mean I'm no longer vegetarian? 

I get a kick out of that just because I have that sort of sense of humor!
Not that I am actually laughing at this point, quite the contrary, I am in intense pain.  Very similar to the pain I felt when I had a hammer fall on my head and the claw snagged my skull.

Hmmm....there's a pretty mental image!

 As for my vegetarianism I will go into that in more detail in the future.  Suffice to say; I eat nothing with a mother.

  I'm still chuckling about this cow bone thing!  
HA!  ~snort~ MOO!  

Seriously, though, I would appreciate prayer for quick recovery and pain relief.  The surgery was very involved and a large amount of bone was removed.  This is the 2nd such surgery I've endured in the last 6 months, with the first taking me a full week to recover from and this procedure was much much more! 

Also, my little peanut is not well yet.  She's been sick with her 6th round of tonsillitis in 7 months and while she's been on antibiotics for a week now and she's still indicating that something hurts.  We wish we knew *what* hurt!

So keep the two of us in prayer!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

~*Menu For The Week*~

Many moons ago I had another blog and the most popular posts ever were my weekly menus.  We are always looking for new ways to spruce up the cooking repertoire and it was proven by how incredibly popular the menu posts were.

I am in the process of a nice long article on menu-making, but until I'm done with that here is next weeks menu.  

Bean Soup (with locally grown cranberry beans)
 Burritos (homemade tortillas)
Pancakes (homemade; no boxed stuff)
Cowboy Burgers (recipe to follow)
Homemade Pizza
Red beans and rice (w/sausage)

We have to make almost everything homemade to avoid the soy and other allergens.  In the long run its a tiny bit more work but so much better for you!

We enjoy breakfast for dinner and we have many nights without meat we rely on other sources of protein.  Yes, its a bit bean heavy, yet, it is not all the same type of bean so there is less chance of bean burnout!

  Normally, I do my menu planning on Monday's, however, this week I am having major oral surgery and will NOT be feeling up to running out and about next week.  So, it will be done NOW and I will rely on the husband to get it cooked up if I am not feeling up to it.

What is on the menu for your household next week?     


Monday, December 12, 2011

~*Happy Anniversary*~ (Three days late!)

~*Happy Anniversary*~
to my husband of 5 yrs!
I had no idea what God had planned for us five years ago.
We eloped for legal reasons, yet, the day we choose to celebrate is December 9th. The day we stood before the Lord and man and sought His blessings upon our relationship.

Blessed we, certainly, have been!  

4 going on 6 children.
A cozy little home that we will terribly miss when leave.
A great family and supportive friends.
A fantastic church family.

Oh, the plans I had for our family on Friday, but it all went awry.  Starting with the screaming little one because she's sick, again, with her 6th round of tonsillitis in 7 months.  Although, the Doctor swears every time that its just another virus. 

Then, of course, the surprise I ordered isn't here, haven't heard a word from them, but it will still be a nice surprise when it gets here.

The replica of our wedding cake is pink and not red like I had ordered and he wrote on the top, right where I was going to put our wedding cake topper.  Its lovely, though, and I know it'll taste amazing!

Our older children are all out of sorts but its alright, they'll straighten up real quick when they realize there is cake on the line!

I'm sitting here laughing with a big smile on my face.
Because this is LIFE!  
Its OUR life.
Its beautiful! 

~*Happy Anniversary*~ 
To my incredibly loving and supportive husband.
I am so blessed to be married to you.
I love you!

I'm sorry this is 3 days kept happening!  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

~*I'm Going Home*~

To The Place Where I Belong!

We are so excited to introduce you to our daughter, Kang Su, who resides in Shanghai, China!  

She is 4.5 years old and is challenged with Spina Bifida (like Dalton) and Clubfoot.  As is expected, her medical information is very sparse. We do know that she has had two major spinal surgeries and one surgery on her foot to loosen the tendon.  From what we understand she does not have a shunt in place nor do we know if she has had her foot set using the ponsetti method.

Many unknowns but we do know this ONE thing!
She is our daughter!
I truly want to share with you the amazingness of the Lord's handiwork, in regard to Kang Su and China's approval.
  That is a separate post so be looking for it!

For now enjoy these 3 pictures of our Kang Su.  They are the only 3 pictures we have of our daughter.  We have no idea if or when we'll receive updated information.  

She's OURS!

The Lord ~WILL~ provide the funds to bring her home, too, this we DO know!

She's our daughter and we love her already!

Our homestudy was updated already and I have the updated USCIS* (Immigration*) paperwork filled out and ready to mail!

~Prayer Requests~

Financial blessing from the Lord.  We have no worries, though, seriously not stressing!  

For love and support from those we love!  We know that not everyone finds large families a blessing, yet, we do!  We know that not everyone feels more children is a GOOD thing, yet, WE do!

That things move a little bit quicker.  We are really wanting to get these two precious gems in our arms! 

We are also raising the money to bless the people who will care for our 4 children for 3 weeks while we're away in China.  I have created a separate *Chip-In* for that.  So, if anyone wants to donate specifically for that it is now available.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

~*Break My Heart For The Brokenhearted*~

I've met a few people in my life that are hard to love.  About as fuzzy and warm as a porcupine or the abominable snowman.  

There is one particular person that use to seriously rub me the wrong way and I realized I could sit around for years waiting for this person to change or I could control the one thing in my corner and not worry about them.  

And that is exactly what I did.  I can control myself, my words, my actions, my attitudes but I cannot control the other person.  Very slowly, ever so slowly, the other person began to thaw.  It was subtle, at first, with more discernible changes happening all the time.

I kept asking God to break my heart for this person, to give me a love for this person to the point that it hurt.  I recently shared happenings with this person and I expected the reaction to be negative.  I was so incredibly humbled that there was utter excitement from them.  

I have cried and cried over the overwhelming love I now have for this hard to love person.  The changes I've seen have been nothing short of miraculous.  I can only credit this change to the Lord.  Despite my own errors and failures along the way there is a true appreciation on both sides.  

Never think that changing your attitude is ineffective.  It can move mountains, melt the hardest hearts, and change the loneliest people.

Do you know someone incredibly hard to love?  
Have you ever had things change between you and what was it that you think caused the changes?

~(Don't forget to enter the giveaway!)