Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dear Tooth Fairy


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Our "Bridge Thanksgiving" 2011 at OneTrueMedia.com

Our "Bridge" Thanksgiving 2011

Obviously, I am not the best at keeping up with this blog, but I do want to catch up on it now because it is like a scrapbook and journal for our family. It is fun for us to look back at older posts in our blog and remember good family times. So, this past Thanksgiving was a special one. It is soooo hard for Stephen and me and the kids to be away from our amazing families in AL for Thanksgiving, but by our being in San Diego for Thanksgiving, God has given us an opportunity to invite others over to our home who don't have family to share Thanksgiving with. Our church really is a family. The vision God has given for our church is that it be a "bridge church", bridging race, class, and culture in Jesus. And miraculously, God is making this vision a reality. It was really amazing to share Thanksgiving with church friends of ours of very diverse race, class, and culture. We have some Haitian friends who have recently moved to San Diego because of the terrible conditions they were living in after the earthquake. This was their first Thanksgiving in the U.S., and it was a joy having them in our home. A highlight from our 2011 Thanksgiving meal was going around the tables and sharing what we were each thankful for. I also loved having one of the guys lead us in worship on his guitar. It was a "Bridge Thanksgiving" with lots to thank God for! The day after Thanksgiving our family went hiking at Torrey Pines overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was a special day and is officially now a family tradition we will have the day after Thanksgiving. We also LOVE buying our Christmas tree over Thanksgiving weekend. Fun times. Here are some pictures from our Thanksgiving holiday:

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Our Big Kindergartener and PreKindergartener at Trinity Christian School

Well, it's November and I am just now getting to write about Ford and Milly's "first day of school" at their incredible school that God sooo amazingly led us to - Trinity Christian School - trinitycs.org. We could not be happier with their school and teachers. (Stephen went to Trinity in Montgomery. Ford loves that he and Daddy both are Trinity boys:) ) God has provided above and beyond what we could have asked or imagined in this school. It's incredible, an "Ebenezer" for sure. (The internet defines an Ebenezer as a "stone of help," or a reminder of God’s Real, Holy Presence and Divine aid." Love that.) We have definitely felt his divine aid and presence in this whole process. I want to document this huge milestone on our blog since this is like a family journal/scrapbook in a way. We had settled on going to a public school, when we realized how expensive the private schools are out here. We turned in our 5 "choices" for the lottery system, since our neighborhood school is so underperforming. A few weeks after we turned in our choices and released the decision to God's Sovereignty, trusting that Ford's name would be drawn for the public school best for him and our family, I "randomly" ran into the mom of one of Ford's old preschool buddies and she told me about Trinity Christian School. The next day, I found information sheets about Trinity in Ford's preschool cubby from this mom. To my surprise, under "Tuition", I read "50% Tuition Discount for full-time ordained pastors". I was stunned. God provides abundantly. This was not something we ever knew to pray for:) After touring, we knew this school was where God was leading our family. We are so thankful.
On the first day of Kindergarten, Ford woke up ready to go. Our sweet boy came out of his room all dressed and ready for school - his uniform shirt inside out and major bedhead, but we were so proud of his "big boy efforts." I wrote down some of the sweet things Ford said in the car on our drive to his first day of Kindergarten. We were all 5 packed in the car for this once-in-a-lifetime day. Ford: "Daddy, you can't stay in Kindergarten with me. It's not for big people." As Dad then pretends to weep, Ford begins to feel sorry for Daddy and pipes in, "Well, I'll ask my teachers if you can stay." He is so soft-hearted. Then Ford proceeds to say, "Dad, you might cry when you leave me. But, it's okay if you leave me Dad. I'm not scared." How great to be comforted by your own child heading into to such a big new stage. It was also precious to our ears to hear Ford and Milly talking sweetly to each other -"Let's play together on the playground at recess today." Virginia Grace was their shadow at "Meet the Teacher Day", even putting her own little purse in Ford's cubby. I love the way the school starts each day outside the classrooms saying the pledges - to the American flag, the Christian flag, and to the Bible. Ford was proudly first in his class's line for the pledges on the 1st day:) He is quite the leader and confident little guy. We just had his first Teacher-Parent conference, and his teachers - Mrs. Axe (who dresses up as the "Mad Scientist" to teach science) and Mrs. Drummond who has her masters in reading, said he is thriving. His area needing improvement was his "chattiness." They say he is just a social, active 5-year-old boy with a loud voice that he uses when he is passionate about his answer in circle time. The teachers find it actually endearing, and they said, "Maybe he will be called to be a pastor like Daddy or a missionary one day." It is precious to see Ford yelling "Hello" to almost everyone in the school, calling each student, teacher, and even other parents by name. Our dear family friend, Mamie, said recently about our "People-Loving Ford", "That is so like God - calling each person by name." His teachers said that he is loved by all of his peers, a real leader. I have spotted him many times chasing and being chased by the 1st grade girls especially - Yikes. One of my favorite school moments this fall was when Ford came home from school eager to tell me what he had learned in his science lesson about the Body. He excitedly tells me, "When you eat, your food goes down your throat, into your tummy, and then into your LARGE AND SMALL TESTAMENTS." Hysterical to us - pastor's boy mixes up the Bible and science words. Another highlight of his fall was writing his "autobiography" to share with his class. He dictated what he wanted me to write for him. He began with, "Mom and dad were so excited when they picked me up from the hospital and adopted me." We are so happy that he is confident in his adoption and that he wanted to share that with his class. We pray he will always see his adoption as such a SPECIAL, unique, beautiful part of his story. Ford LOVES learning, loves his teachers, and loves his new school friends.
Our wonderful Milly Moo is as happy and confident as I have ever seen her. Thank you God! She is one of the older ones on her Pre-Kindergarten class, and the younger girls really like to play with her. She is our introvert, quietly and intensely enjoying every school activity given to her. She tries to do precisely what her teacher says when it comes to her class work. She is focused. One day her teacher, Mrs. Murphy, told the class that they would have to write their name 4 times since they had 4 worksheets, none of which were front and back sheets (they only have to write their name once on front and back worksheets). So, Mrs. Murphy peered at Milly's sheet to find "Milly, Milly, Milly, Milly" written, as she had said, 4 times at the top of each page:) Mill Mill recently had a teachable moment when she was caught lying - her teacher found her grilled fish that I had packed in her lunchbox in the trashcan, and Milly had just told her that she had eaten it all. Lots of good character building going on in these precious early years. We have gotten off to a super blessed start at "Big School." I am going to include some pictures from our fall at Trinity. Hope you smile as you see Ford and Milly's confident, growing souls at this most precious life-giving school.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Our Phabulous Phelan Trio



This our our most recent phamily pic at the mall, thanks to Mamie giving us her portrait package. I love how each one of our little buddies looks just like his/her personality in this picture - Ford, proud and protective big brother; Milly, shy and content; Jo Jo, HAPPY:) It's so much fun to see all of them together lately, now that Virginia Grace can pretty much do what Sissy and "Bubby" do (at least she tries). We call her "Tweedle" because she is always a step behind Ford and Mill, mimicking every move they make:) It's a fun season in our household. I'm thankful.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Our Magical Disneyland Trip This Summer

We had the most amazing week at Disney with Cici and Doc, Aunt Criss, Uncle E, and James Hunter. It was truly magical. We are so grateful to Cici and Doc for this trip of a lifetime. Our kiddos were at such a fun age to go to Disneyland because they still LOVED seeing all of the characters (and getting their signatures at Goofy's Kitchen), and at the same time, they really liked Space Mountain and the "big kid" rides (like their "big kid" Mama and Daddy). Ford's favorite character was Dale, Milly's was Chip, and Virginia Grace's was "Puto." We stayed at the most wonderful home right by Disney. The pool, hot tub, and all of the fun toys at the rental home were at the top of the list of favorites. Milly and Ford each picked out a "severe", as they called souvenirs. Ford chose a Cars Lego set and Milly chose to make a stuffed Hello Kitty at Build-A-Bear, which she named Bella. We made such amazing memories. When can we go back?! :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Virginia Grace's 1st Day of School









Virginia Grace had her first day of "school" yesterday. It's just a mothers'-morning-out at a local methodist church. She is excited, though. We ask her if she wants to go to school, and she nods her head over and over. So cute. Every day that she and I dropped ford and milly off at their preschool last year, she'd cry wanting to stay. She's goin on Thursdays from 9:30-12:30 (for $10/day - great deal:) ) Thought I'd share a Phelan milestone:) Ford starts Kindergarten (Mill, Pre-K) at Trinity Christian School on Wed:) Pray for them on Wed at 8:30 our time, and for me. I am sure I'll shed some tears when I drop my baby off at "big school". God so faithfully led us to Trinity. We are in awe of the school and the godly teachers that God has given us! We went to an outdoor movie ("Soul Catchers" - GREAT movie!) tonight at their school. Ford got to talk to both of his teachers at the movie tonight, and he met a little girl who is going to be in his class. We are all excited (and a little nervous, both Ford and Mill say) to start a new phase of our phamily life with the real school routine. Thought I'd share a few pics of Jo Jo's 1st day of school, and more will follow of Ford and Milly's 1st day at Trinity.

Here's a copy of an email from our dear friend, Mary (from Huntsville, AL but lives out here now. "Mamie" is a part of our family and a special influence in Jo Jo's life:)). She so eloquently wrote out what we'd love to pray for Virginia Grace and her time in school, beginning now and for years to come:

Praying for her first day of school to be the start of a lifelong journey of the love of learning, growing, being invested in by others/teachers/leaders, and a thirst for knowledge (including a knowledge of Truth and Wisdom). Praying that she would quickly pick up on social cues and appropriateness with other kids, as well as how to respond to leadership and guidance. That the Lord would give her a vulnerable and humble mind, open to all things new, yet to have wisdom to discern which things are sacred to carry with her, and which things are not of the Father. Praying that the Lord would begin to develop in her a sensitive heart and eyes to see those students on the fringes of her class that may not be as loveable/likeable by others, and that she would have the courage and security to love those "less popular". Praying that she would begin, even at such an early age, to have a burden to carry the Gospel into her classroom. Not sure if that makes sense. Just praying for the Lord to keep developing in her the compassionate heart that we've all seen since day 1.

Oh this is such a big day! As you can see, I"m praying HUGE things for tomorrow! :) (I know it's just mother's morning out....but it's a milestone for her life ahead of learning corporately and in community).





Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mallie "Luv Luv" Phelan

Well, of course I would much rather be writing a post with good news than bad, but I do want to share the latest Phelan Pham news which brings grief and sorrow to our souls. We found out we were pregnant a week and a half ago. We were QUITE surprised as we were trying to not get pregnant. But, we of course welcomed with great joy the unexpected miracle bestowed upon us by the Lord. We had just talked over our 12th anniversary dinner about the possibility of a 4th Phelan, and we both felt like God has a 4th child in our phamily at some point, just not yet. We also felt like we needed to keep praying about whether God would lead us to adopt again (we LOVE adoption, of course:) ) or if we would go for pregnancy again. Well, we were pregnant at that anniversary dinner and God already knew He had given us an 8th Phelan little one (one precious son out of womb, 2 healthy little girls in womb, and 5 little ones taken to heaven before we could hold them). We have been so excited for the short week and a half that we have known, and Ford and Milly have been, too. Before we told Milly and Ford, Milly asked, "Mom, when are you going to be pregnant?" (She's been telling me that "Jo Jo (as Ford and Mill call her) is too big for her now and she wants another baby in the family.") We took her question as the cue for when we should tell them. Ford did a fist pump in excitement and Milly, our questioner, asked, "Really? There's a REAL baby in your tummy? YEAH!! How is the baby going to get out?" (She has asked that question several times and I have just told her, "Why don't you ask Daddy about that?" Milly then decided we should call the baby "Luv Luv", so that instantly became the baby's womb name. We made a shirt for Virginia Grace to wear around the house out of one of Ford's old white undershirts that said, "I'm a BIG sister!" It was so cute to see her running around the house in the shirt, clueless about what the shirt declared:) Mallie Drew, a fellow Mountain Brook High School grad, was an intern with our church for the past month, and she was the HUGEST blessing to all 6 of our phamily. Ford, Milly, and VG LOVED "Mae Mae". They preferred her over Mama many times :) She spoiled 'em good. Milly is still talking about how "Miss Mallie" gave her chocolate chip pound cake for breakfast. Luv Luv loved Mallie as well because Mallie was the first person we told about his/her life. Mallie was staying in our office for the month, so we instantly wanted to tell our wonderful Mallie our great, surprising news. Tears of joy filled Mallie's eyes when we told her and she immediately began praising God and praying for Luv Luv. Stephen and I also LOVED the gift of Mallie for her many gifts she bestowed upon our family, upon our marriage (she kept the kids after we found out about the pregnancy so that we could have a celebration date. She had a box of Ghiradelli chocolate squares on my pillow when I got home to satisfy my pregnancy cravings.), and upon our disorganized home. As Stephen told her, "Our home has never had this much Shalom due to the order and organization." Several friends said that they never had seen the top of my desk until Mallie helped me clean it off and organize the clutter:) THANK YOU, Mallie, for your amazing faithfulness, for the way you served and loved and prayed and spurred me on to abide more and more in Jesus! Mallie recommended two books, "Come Away My Beloved" and "Hinds Feet On High Places", that have helped me through the grief of this miscarriage. As you can tell, Mallie has blessed us and our pregnancy greatly. So, we wanted to name our 8th Phelan "Mallie Luv Luv Phelan" after precious Mallie Drew.
We are so grateful that Luv Luv is in heaven with Jesus, yet we ache deeply, wishing we could've held our little one. (Milly and I thought it was a girl, Ford thought it was "both" - YIKES! Twins- and Virginia Grace replied, "Boy" when we asked her. Stephen just hoped for a healthy boy or girl.) God was so sweet to me last night as I lay sadly in bed, longing for Luv Luv. I felt him impress on my heart that He wanted me to feast on something in His Word before I ate my leftover pizza. So, He led me to 2 Samuel: 12:15-23, subtitled "David's Child Dies." As I read along, my heart smiled and became more and more encouraged as I digested the words of David, a fellow brother and parent who had gone before me. "David's servants said to Him, 'What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child dies, you arose and ate food.' David said, 'While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, 'Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.' " Wow. That was so intimate and personal of God to speak to me through the Scripture like that. And God added comfort on comfort through sweet Ford this morning when Ford said, "Mom, we will see Luv Luv in heaven one day." The beautiful, simple faith of a child. Milly's still asking questions, wondering why Luv Luv wasn't healthy and if Luv Luv is still in my tummy. And Virginia Grace, our bundle of JOY (We prayed for her while she was still in womb that she'd be full of joy, and her Creator surely answered that prayer) is still just full speed ahead, bringing us smiles and laughter. This morning Stephen read Isaiah 14:27 out loud to me, and once again, His Word drenched me with peace. "For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart Him? His hand is stretched out and who can turn it back?" He also used a framed verse in la casa de mi amiga latino, Lilia. (We were at her nephew's 6th bday party today. The doctor told me to go about normal life, so I did.) Psalm 135:6 shone out of the frame into my heart. "The Lord does whatever pleases Him, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all their depths." Obviously God has carried us tenderly and intimately through this miscarriage. He is faithful. Su fidelidad es grande! Stephen and I truly believe this. It might sound trite, but it is the deep belief of our hearts! He has proven Himself faithful and good, time and time again. As we look back on our journey of having children, how can we doubt that God is GOOD and that His Providence prevails, as my wonderful brother reminded me last night. The Phelan Pham would not have Ford, Milly, or Virginia Grace if our pregnancy road had been smooth. Our timing would have been different than His, but now we wouldn't trade His path for anything. "He has made everything beautiful in its time." Ecclesiastes 3:11 Thank you for your prayers as we continue to grieve and hope in Jesus.
May these excerpts from the Preface to "Hinds' Feet on High Places" encourage you as they have me:
  • "'The voice of my Beloved! Behold, He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills'" (Song of Solomon 2:8). When asked what the verse meant, she [the Arab nurse of this book's author, a missionary in Palestine] looked up with a very happy smile of understanding and said, 'It means there are no obstacles which our Savior's Love cannot overcome, and that to Him, mountains of difficulty are as easy as an asphalt road!' "
  • "The gazelles bounding up the mountainside, leaping from rock to rock with extraordinary grace and agility, was one of the most beautiful examples of exultant and apparently effortless ease in surmounting obstacles as I have ever seen. How deeply we who love the Lord of Love and desire to follow Him long for the power to surmount all difficulties and tests and conflicts in life in the same exultant and triumphant way. To learn the secret of victorious living has been the heart's desire of those who love the Lord, in every generation."
  • "We feel we would give anything if only we could, in actual experience, live on High Places of love and victory here on this earth and during this life - able to always react to evil, tribulation, sorrow, pain, and every wrong thing in such a way that they would be overcome and transformed into something to the praise and glory of God forever. As Christians we know, in theory at least, that in the life of a child of God there are no second causes, that even the most unjust and cruel things, as well as all seemingly pointless and underserved sufferings, have been permitted by God as opportunities for us to react to them in such a way that our Lord and Savior is able to produce in us, little by little, His own lovely character."
  • "The Song of Songs expresses the desire implanted in every human heart to be reunited with God Himself, and to know perfect and unbroken union with Him. He has made us for Himself, and our hearts can never know rest and perfect satisfaction until they find it in Him."
  • "The High Places of victory and union with Christ cannot be reached by any mental reckoning of self to be dead to sin, or by seeking to devise some way or discipline by which the will can be crucified. The only way is by learning to accept, day by day, the actual conditions and tests permitted by God, by a continually repeated laying down of our will and acceptance of His as it is presented to us in the form of the people with whom we have to live and work, and in the things which happen to us. Every acceptance of His will becomes an altar of sacrifice, and every such surrender and abandonment of ourselves to His will is a means of furthering us on the way to the High Places to which He desires to bring every child of His while they are still living on earth."
  • "The lessons of accepting and triumphing over evil, of becoming acquainted with grief, and pain, and, ultimately, of finding them transformed into something incomparably precious; of learning through constant glad surrender to know the Lord of Love Himself in a new way and to experience unbroken union with Him - these are the lessons of the allegory in this book The High Places and the hinds' feet do not refer to heavenly places after death, but are meant to be the glorious experience of God's children here and now - if they will follow the path He chooses for them. 'The Lord God maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon mine High Places' " (Ps. 18:33 and Hab. 3:19)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

America's Funniest Home Video Winner?

Well, my baby is officially a Preschool Graduate. Mama has been emotional. Seems like yesterday that we held him for the first time. So, amidst my tears at the graduation ceremony, a lot of laughter emerged as Ford did the potty dance in front of the whole sanctuary as he waited for his name to be called. It's hilarious. He was pretty cool, calm, and collected about his problem. YOu gotta watch this:) If you have a Mac, it should pull up easily. IF you have a PC, you need to download Quicktime if you don't already have it. My parents downloaded it and got it to work. (It's free.) It takes a long time to pull up, but hopefully it'll work for you. (Mute the music down at the bottom of my blog page so you can hear Stephen's great commentary. We think we might enter it in America's Funniest HOme Videos:) What do you think? Ford is such a huge blessing to us all:)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Phelan Winter Phun

OOPS! The size of the video I just sent was not correct so some of the pictures got chopped off. So, here's the right one. And you actually just "Pause" the music at the bottom of my blog, not "Mute" it. Can you believe we had this much snow less than an hour from San Diego? Spring has sprung here now, though.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our Phelan version of Christmas Vacation




I love my sweet "Clark Griswold," who had no problem waking up the neighbors at 9:00 pm. I had to put this pic in the blog archives so we'll never forget that fun night when my hubby became determined to have a healthy Christmas tree. The lights were already strung and the tree was securely in the stand, but that didn't hold him back from reversing his course, tediously taking the lights off, and grabbing the chain saw late at night so as to make sure the trunk was freshly cut for best saturation. (When we bought our tree, they did cut the bottom of the tree off at the lot, but "Clark" felt like it needed one more slicing.) Hilarious family night. And, the good news... it paid off and our tree was healthy and proudly green and upright until January 16th. That is called "keeping Christmas going and going and going" (we were in AL until Jan 12th:) ). We had a super 2010 Christmas. Jesus blessed our family of 5 greatly with His peace and love, and gave us such sweet time with our two amazing families in AL. The big "toy" this year for Ford was the Zhu Zhu pet he kept asking for. Milly got her Barbie and Barbie's battery-run walking horse. V G had a special 1st Christmas, and was definitely the highlight of the Phelan Pham's 2010. Our Christmas card pic above was taken spontaneously at a beach day at Coronado Beach in November. San Diego weather really is incredible. We thank Jesus for "coming" to us this Christmas in a powerful way, and we pray He will come daily to each one of us in personal, intimate ways in 2011. Our family's 2011 verse is Hannah's prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1: "My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn (strength) is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in Your deliverance." Amen. So be it!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Auburn National Champions 2010- Toomer's Corner

War Eagle!!!! Mom, Dad, John, Ford (at age 4 1/2:) ) and I were in this Toomer's Corner craziness until 1 am. What a fun, once-in-a-lifetime memory! I am sooo thankful that God ordained it for me to be in Auburn for the National Championship Game! It was so amazing to watch the final winning field goal fly through the posts, and then instantly break out into jumping and shouting, and hugging my Dad, my brother (both alum as well), my Mom, my sweet good-sport hubby...it was emotional, incredible! Amazing night I will always remember. "I believe in Auburn and LOVE it!"

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our Little Miracle is Processing A Lot!






We had a sweet night with Ford tonight. We have wanted to give Ford the opportunity to talk about Rachel or process his visit while it's fresh on his mind, if he wants to, never to force him to do so. Liz Kaufmann suggested we might do "art therapy" with him to help him process the visit. So, God gave me the idea of making a book, with the whole family, of our "Los Angeles trip." (Hilarious side note - Ford started calling Los Angeles "Alex City" for some reason. L.A. and sweet little Alex City, AL aren't exactly the same, but it warmed our hearts to hear him shout as he looked at the skyscrapers of L.A. out the car window, "Ook at Alex City, Mom and Dad!") Anyway, I developed all of the pics from our trip - ice skating, spending the night with Lisa and Harrison, fun at the Santa Monica Pier, and the visit with Rachel. I used to make books like this with my 1st grade class. So, Ford and Milly dictated what I should write under each photo, which I had taped on card stock. They then taped an "emotions face" that I had made by each picture, expressing how they felt in those pictures. One picture was of Ford and me on a roller coaster over the Pacific Ocean at the Santa Monica pier. Crazy, huh? But, our dare devil actually said he was a little "scared" on the "up and down hill" part, so we put a scared face on that page. So, here is what he said when we got to the pictures of our time with Rachel: "Thank you, Aunt Rachel, for the Hot Wheels thing and my monster jammies. " On the next page, there was a picture of just Ford and Rachel. We didn't get them to pose for this. I just snapped a candid while they were waiting for Milly to get in the picture with them. So, this is what Ford said for how he was feeling in this picture: "I am mad." So, I listened and waited and then asked, "Do you know why you are mad?" He couldn't articulate it at first. I then asked again, "Do you know why your heart is mad about this picture?" He said, "Because I don't like Rachel." Me: "Okay. (Pause) Do you know why you don't like her?" Ford couldn't come up with an answer at first, but then he so tenderly said, "Because I like Mama and Daddy." Wow. I had to hold back the tears. That made sense. He is soooo sweet, and Stephen and I both melted as we heard him say this. Ford then added, "And I like Ginnylu and Daisy (Lisa and Harrison's adorable daughters) and Jo Jo (his new nickname for Virginia Grace) and Milly." He then proceeded to place the "mad face" on top of Rachel's face. "I want to put it over Rachel's face. I don't want any more pictures of Rachel." Stephen said, "I like Rachel. I like Emmy, too (Rachel's friend that was in one of the pictures from the visit)." I wanted to give him the freedom to feel how was feeling and yet speak highly of Rachel like Stephen had done, so I said gently said, "Ford, it's okay to not like Rachel." And a little later I added, "Rachel is a wonderful lady." Stephen and I want to communicate to Ford that he is ALWAYS our son and we are ALWAYS his Mama and Daddy and he will never leave us, in case he might be wondering if Rachel will ever be his mother someday. I don't know what he was thinking or is thinking, but we need to make sure that he knows he will NEVER leave our family. He knows our incredible DEEP love for him and we know his deep love for us. We love our little miracle. So, please pray for him as he is processing a lot right now. And pray for us to have wisdom. If you have any suggestions on how we should follow up with what he said tonight, please email me your thoughts. We are seeking wise counsel:) We don't want to talk about the visit much more or overdo it. Just want to do and say as the Spirit leads.
Thanks again for walking this journey with us, for reading my processing thoughts about all of this, and for LOVING our buddy Ford!
B

The Gift of Our Adoption - Our Visit Went Well

Well, our visit with Ford's birthmother, Rachel, was good and hard. Thank you all for your prayers. We felt carried by them, for sure. God was present with each one of us. HE gave Ford, Rachel, and us strength. He even moved in Milly's heart at the end of the visit to blow Rachel a kiss, which then Ford followed with his tender "blowing her a kiss." It was all sort of surreal.
Ford was shy at first, understandably so, and Rachel was so understanding and was respectful of him and us the whole time. He warmed up as he rode his bike without training wheels down a big grassy hill (he has no fear), with his Daddy running by his side. He even began looking back at Rachel and me to make sure we were watching:) Rachel so generously poured gifts on Ford, Milly, and Virginia Grace as well as "Mom and Dad", as she strategically wrote on the outside of our gift, I think as a way to respectfully say to us, "YOU are His mama and daddy." The gifts were so thought out - cozy boy PJs for Ford, which he hugged tightly after opening them and which he wore them the next 2 nights in a row, matching outfits in the right sizes for Milly and VG, the coolest Hot Wheels case and Hot Wheels for Ford, and an academic puzzle and about 20 academic CDs and DVDs for him (she is a part-time Kindergarten aid, and her teacher created this CD/DVD series for learning to read, which she was so excited to give Ford). She obviously cares so much for him, and wants to be a part of his academic development. She also gave Milly a praying doll, that prays when its hands touch together, and Virginia Grace a cuddly caterpillar. She gave Stephen and me four Christmas books to read to the kiddos. Thoughtful beyond belief. Rachel let us know this visit that she is on welfare, has no health insurance, and she and her 5 children (all from her ex-husband) were "homeless for 4 months." Their apartment building got foreclosed, so the 6 of them had to split up. Her oldest two sons, Gabriel, 19, and Jonathan, 18, went to live with their grandmother (her ex-husband's mom), who takes them to church with her :) , and she and her 3 daughters, Sarah, 16, Rebekah, 15, and Hannah, 13, lived with different friends for those 4 months. Now the 3 girls and Rachel are renting 1 room in a friend's house. It is so sobering to hear all of this from this precious woman who so selflessly chose to give her child to our family. Rachel told me that Michael, Ford's birthfather, and she had a falling out and haven't spoken since January. Michael got married and has a newborn daughter. Michael did ask Rachel to let her know when Bethany Christian Services contacted her about our next visit, but Rachel's computer crashed and she lost all of his contact info. I am comforted to know that he does want to keep up with Ford, even if it is just through letters and pictures. Rachel doesn't have a car, so her best friend, Emmy, drove her and was a sweet part of our visit. So, Emmy, Rachel, Stephen, and I held hands in a circle of love and prayed to our Father, who adopted each one of us. After we all had said goodbye and Ford and Milly had blown their kisses, God put it on my heart to give Rachel a hug, from one Mom to another, and I had the privilege of sharing these words with her from deep within my heart: "Rachel, Stephen and I admire you so much. You are such a courageous, selfless woman, and we can never thank you enough for choosing to preserve Ford's life and for giving him to us." Tears were filling my eyes, and hers, I think. We parted ways, and in the safety of my warm car, that I don't take for granted, knowing that Rachel does not have a car, the tears began streaming down my face. Ford could not see my tears, but if he had, I would have told them that they were "happy tears", as we call some tears. They were also sad tears. Happy for the indescribable gift of Ford and for the inexpressible gift of my own adoption into God's family. As my across the street 90-year-old, saint-like neighbor, Maria, always says repetitively in response to what Jesus has done for us, "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Please continue to pray for sweet Ford as he processes this past week and as he is beginning to understand his adoption. Our prayer is that he will be proud of it and see it as such a special, unique part of his story. Please also lift up Rachel and Ford's 5 half siblings, and Michael, Ford's birthfather, and his daughter/Ford's new half sister.
Many thanks for walking through this wonderful journey with us. We are grateful for each one of you, our amazing family and community. May we all understand this Christmas the amazing grace of our own adoption into God's family. Ford's precious, miraculous life reminds us of that daily.

"The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' " ~Romans 8:15

Please Pray For Our Visit with Ford's Birthmother, Rachel

Friday at 2:30 pacific time, we will be meeting with Ford's
birthmother, Rachel, at the park near L.A. where we have met her in
the past. We cherish your prayers. The last time we visited her was
spring, 2009, right after Ford had turned 3. He's now almost 5 (how
can that be:) ). He is much more aware and his sweet little heart is
processing so much. When we told him that we were going to visit his
birthmother Rachel, he told us that he didn't want to visit her. When
we asked him "Why?", he said, "I liked her as a baby, but I don't like
her now." I told him that she loves him very much. He told us the
next time that our upcoming visit came up, "I don't know Rachel. I
know Aunt Rachel (Rachel Fairly Robinson)." Stephen told him that
she is a wonderful lady and that he grew inside her tummy and that he
thought he'd like her. Ford has the sweetest little heart - he
replied after thinking about it for a while, "Okay, Daddy. I will
like Rachel." The next night, Stephen asked Ford and Milly if they were excited to go ice skating the next day. They both instantly said, “Yes!” Then Ford added, “And we are going to see my birthmother, Rachel. But…I only like Michael.” (his birthfather who we haven’t mentioned in almost a year). I called our adoption agency after these convos this
past week to ask them if we might ought to cancel our visit. We don't
want to force these visits on him. After much counsel and prayer, we
believe it is best to go through with this visit on Friday. We are
going ice skating with the Howards in Santa Monica after the visit (we
are so excited, Lisa) so Ford has something fun to look forward to
tomorrow. He is the most resilient, loving little guy, so we have no
doubt that he will be so fine during the visit. We will be the
nervous ones, and I imagine Rachel will be, too. Pray for us all. If
Ford decides next year that he doesn't want to go, we most likely
won't go because he will clearly remember our visit on Friday and will
be old enough to have strong feelings about these visits. Thank you
for walking through our wonderful journey of adopting Ford and raising
him. He is such a gift to us all! Thank God with us for the miracle
of his precious life and thank Him for so generously giving Ford to
the Phelan Phamily.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall Memories 2010

From first day of school to the pumpkin patch to acting out Bible stories to soccer games and football spirit...we have had a great fall.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Our Father's Day at Coronado Beach.






We all LOVE our DADDY!!!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Phelan Family Spring Photos

A wonderful man at our church, Scott Bennett, took these family photos in our backyard. Ford was 4, Milly 3 1/2, and Virginia Grace was 4mos. Make sure that you turn the volume down on the OneTrueMedia slide show or mute all volume.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Virginia Grace's GIGGLE Box - 6/15/10 at OneTrueMedia.com

VG is constantly entertained by her Big Bro and Big Sis. Her contagious laughter (I think she got her Daddy's laugh) is encouraging their silly acts. The video is actually only 3 mins. It got copied twice for some reason.  You'll need scroll down to the very bottom of the page to pause the music on "Bradford Phelan's Playlist" so you can hear the video better.  Hope you get a good laugh out of this.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Mingling of Tears



I had a special moment at church that I wanted to journal about. During one of the last worship songs, I looked over and saw a precious woman named Marisela crying, hands raised in true worship of her King. Her crying got more and more intense, from gladness or sorrow, I couldn't tell. It was touching my heart and drawing me to worship in my own heart. And then, the Holy Spirit whispered to my soul, "Walk over to her side and hug her." Yikes. But, it was clear that I was to do so. My good friend next to me had just asked to hold Virginia Grace, so my arms were free to hug. I tiptoed over to dear Marisela, whose eyes were closed, lost in her Savior, and I just wrapped my arms around her and gave her a squeeze from above. She opened her tear-filled eyes, and I whispered the words from the previous song, "Su fidelidad es grande." ("God's faithfulness is so great.") Marisela gave me an incredible gift - her tears. None of us like to share tears, rather smiles. Her shared tears bonded our hearts in a unique way. As our cheeks touched, our tears mingled. It was supernatural. It was a beautiful picture of what is to come - "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb." ~Revelation 7:9
Our church, Harbor church, was created because God gave us a vision to "bridge race, class, and culture" and to give us a foretaste of what is to come, described above. This moment was a powerful "bridging" moment. The older grandmother and younger mother, the Hispanic woman and suburban Caucasian rascal, a wise teacher and the growing student. It warms my heart to see Virginia Grace wrapped up in Marisela's shawl after church. These two have bonded as you can see in the picture. V G took an hour and a half nap nestled in Marisela's arms, shawl encasing her. I am thankful for the diverse Body of Christ and for the Spirit who prompts us to move, giving us the beauty of moments like this one.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Our Three Little Rascals


FORD PHELAN

Ford is our lover of BUGS and icky creatures! Yuck! He's had up to 5 or so snails on his face at once. What kind of mama lets her son cover himself with snail slime? Ford is also our social fella. He loves his neighborhood playgroup buddies. He just LOVES people in general! He's such a gift to all of us who adore him.






















MILLY CARLISLE


Milly loves to be silly with Mama. As the middle child, she cherishes her "Mama/Milly Time." We had a blast playing with shaving cream in the sink and making it "snow" by clapping our shaving cream covered hands together.


Milly is ALL GIRL and is our shyer child.
She blesses us with her compassionate heart and her contagious belly laugh. She is also becoming a fine little artist. It warmed my heart when she informed me that she had drawn a brain on her picture of me:) That'll boost a mama's confidence.

VIRGINIA GRACE

One of Virginia Grace's greatest talents currently is sleeping. She is sleeping through the night like a champ. Stephen always describes her as an angel. Our Hispanic friend calls her "muy tranquila."


She is constantly entertained by her active older brother and sister. Ford and Milly have a new nickname for her - "Gingy." They adore Gingy so much so that they rarely give her any personal space. She is a trooper. She is tough. She is our chubby JOY.



Saturday, April 17, 2010

Our Easter!

Our "Easter" is 15 weeks old today, and we are all in love with our miracle, our third Phelan munchkin - Virginia Grace. We're bringing the Southern tradition of double names to So Cal. We named her "Virginia" because we love Virginia the state and the University and because we long for her to be "pure" as her name means. We named her "Grace" because we pray she will know the grace of Jesus all the days of her life and be a lady of grace. Also, my best childhood friend, Kate, has "Grace" as her middle name, so we hope our VG takes after her. Virginia Grace has been such a peaceful, laid back baby and a great source of joy for all of us that love her, especially Protective Big Brother Ford and Proud, Not-always-gentle Sister Milly.

It has been quite a while since my last post. There are many reasons for that:
  • Two little tornadoes tearing through our house, leaving trails of dirt and sand and crayon tips and hairy Play Doh and Lincoln logs that feel great on your bare feet
  • My big belly filled with "Easter" that made it difficult for me to even reach the keyboard
  • The busyness and excitement of our "other baby," a.k.a Harbor Church
  • But mostly, the dark season of depression that I walked through for the last 5 months of my pregnancy. It was a valley, to say the least, but He "was WITH me" and brought me "THROUGH the valley." ~ Psalm 23 It sure is great to be on the other side of the valley; but I can truly say that I am thankful for all that God so tenderly gave me in the valley, for all that He did in me and in our marriage in the valley, and for His power displayed in His deliverance from the valley.
Deliverance always follows the pain, just as a precious child is delivered after the intense labor of childbirth. It's so worth it, yet so hard. Our "Easter" was delivered on January 2, 2010. What a glorious moment. I decided to go for "natural childbirth", and I am so glad that I did. Sounds crazy, but the natural labor pains made the delivery all the more glorious in a strange way, just as my depression has made the miraculous gift of our "Easter" more gracious to me. I was so worried during my depression that I was going to cause "Easter" to be a sad baby in some way. She is quite the opposite. She is JOY all over. What a picture of God's abundant, undeserved grace. Soon after I came through the depression, I was put on bed rest for high blood pressure, about 3 weeks before my due date. That actually was quite a precious time that the Lord provided for me to rest in His care and in the care of my dear husband and sweet mom, a time for me to learn to receive from my amazing friends while not being able to give anything back in return, and a time for me to ponder the season of Advent. The word Advent means "coming." I saw God "coming" to me in so many ways:
  • He CAME to me in early December and lifted me miraculously from the pit of depression. Psalm 61:2 captures the desperation I felt. "From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I." God showed up, as always, and He used weekly counseling; crying out in anguish; weeping with my amazing husband; giving up on my own self-effort and giving in to His good arms; relying on faithful friends; admitting my great weakness and my real fears; others' prayers for me; the solid, reliable Word of God; friends cooking for me and taking me to Old Navy to buy staple clothes for Ford and Milly; and many other avenues, to heal me and to "lift me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." ~Psalm 40:2
  • He CAME to me in the bed rest and whispered tender words of His care for me. He gently fathered me and nurtured my weary soul, preparing me to climb the mountain of childbirth. I had the gift of much-needed time to ponder, as Mary did. Bed rest was like the schooling I needed to better learn the skill of receiving and resting. I'm grateful that I got to be a student at that school.
  • Most amazingly, He CAME to me in the form of a helpless baby in order to set me free and to give me life. As Tim Keller says, "God became SOFT at Christmas." Our Virginia Grace is so soft, and she points me to Jesus, who loved me enough to become a lowly, soft infant so that I might live FOREVER with Him in my rich, true Home.
  • He CAME to the Phelan Phamily through the astounding gift of our Easter's "wonderfully made" life. Our Easter holiday was one to remember. What a picture of new life and grace our little "Easter" gave us.
  • He COMES to us daily with grace upon grace.
  • And, He IS COMING again one day to make all things right!
I long for that glorious Day.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Healthy 20-week sonogram!!

We are so thankful that "Easter" was strong and healthy at our 20-week sonogram last week. It was so special to see him/her and see that heart pumping so strong. The doctor said everything looks great! God is so faithfully knitting little Easter together in my womb. THank you all for being so interested in Easter and our pregnancy. Easter moves all of the time, and it's so fun that Daddy, Ford, and Milly can feel him moving now. Ford and Milly love to blow on my tummy and make silly sounds to make Easter laugh:) Thanks for your excitement and prayers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Easter's "Just Hanging Out" at 12 1/2 Weeks


We were JOYFUL, proud parents today as we watched little Easter move all around the womb. Easter was showing off for Mama and Daddy at our appointment this morning. He/she was all balled up and then stretched way out, extending his legs as far as they'd go. Our doctor typed "Just Hanging Out" on the songram picture. Then Easter wanted us to see his backside, so he rolled over for us and gave us a view of his beautiful spinal cord:) Then he rolled back over so we could see his sweet profile one more time. Stephen and I both have a hunch that it's a boy, but we don't want to find out until he or she comes into the world. That is one of Stephen's favorite roles - announcing "It's a BOY." or "It's a GIRL." He was so good at that job when Milly was born that he yelled, "It's a boy!" Our doctor had to quickly say, "Try again , Stephen. That's the umbilical cord." He says that his tear-filled eyes and the pressure got in the way of his seeing clearly. Yesterday, I did the 'ole ring test and the Chinese chart for fun to see what they say Easter's gender will be, and both said, "Boy." We will be thrilled with a healthy boy or girl. We feel so excited and relieved to have seen a strong heart beat today. Easter measured 12 weeks, 6 days which is 4 days bigger than my dates say he is. So, all is well. Thank you for all of your prayers and love. Keep praying for Easter as God is "knitting him together in my womb." Psalm 139

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Healthy 8-week Heartbeat!


Thank you, God! We saw Easter's healthy heartbeat this morning! THe baby measured 8 weeks, 1 day, just as he or she should be. (Stephen and I both have a gut feeling that it's a boy. Who knows. We'll have to wait until around January 5th to find out. We both love surprises.) The doctor said everything looks strong and healthy. We head back for another sonogram on Monday, June 15th, and we'll be 11 weeks then. That would be HUGE milestone in this baby's life and ours:) Our third baby miscarried at 10 1/2 weeks, so we will really feel relieved at the 11-week sonogram to see another healthy heart beating. Thank you for your prayers and love. Of course, we are so happy and hopeful. " Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to know him.
"As surely as the sun rises, he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth."

~Hosea 6:3

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Disneyland Family Trip

Our Family Trip to Disneyland was incredible! We all 4 were "so excited." It was such a special time for us to watch Ford and Milly gaze at Mickey Mouse, to encourage them to try their first rollercoaster, to share in their joy at the festive character's parade down Main Street, and so much more. Ford's favorite was the train ride through Dinosaur Land, Milly's favorite was visiting the princesses, Mama's favorite was It's a Small World, and Daddy's was going on the rollercoaster with the kiddos. It really is a magical place.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Easter's Healthy Heartbeat

      Thank you for your prayers for us and for our big appointment this past Thursday.  We are thrilled that our little one has a strong and healthy heartbeat of 130 beats/minute.  Our wonderful doctor said, "I am excited!  Everything looks so great."  Easter is 7 mm and about 7 weeks old.  His/her due date should be around January 5th.  What a great New Year's Gift that will be.  Ford and Milly were truly excited to see Easter's first "family photo", as Dr. Dietze called the sonogram.  As you can see in the pictures below, Ford and Milly have begun playing with baby dolls together a lot more.  Ford even asked if he could have a baby in his tummy:) We keep telling him that he is going to be a great Daddy one day.  Milly does love to play with her baby dolls, but she is also quite a mess and not so graceful as a "Mama."  :)  
        We head back for another sonogram on Wed., May 27th at 9:30 am our time.  That will really be a big milestone heartbeat, because 2 of our 4 miscarriages were right around 8 weeks, and we will be 8 1/2 weeks at that appointment.  (One of our miscarriages was at 10 weeks and one at 6 weeks.)  We continue to cherish your prayers and excitement.  We have JOY knowing that God is in complete and utter control of our lives.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Phelan Baby #7

        Yes!  God has blessed us with our 7th little life.  We are pregnant!  We have four babies in heaven, our miracle children Ford and Milly, and now this new life in my womb.  Seven is the number of perfection in the Bible:)  I am only about 6 weeks pregnant.  Some might wonder, "Why share so early, especially when you know you have a high chance of miscarriage with your chromosome condition (Balanced Reciprocal Translocation of the 2nd and 18th chromosomes - my chromosomes are a bit wacky, explaining my wackiness:)  ) ?"  On the other hand, we have grown to say, "We must share the news, because we can't walk this road alone.  We need our family, friends, and community around us and praying."  So, we are letting the news "out" - we are expecting!!  We have had 3 blood tests for my hormone levels, and they looked great.  They went from 612 to 1200 to 8816 in a span of 5 days.  Yikes.  That makes my short and agitated attitude more justifiable.  Ha. Ha.  We also have had one sonogram, and the little that Dr. Dietze could see looked good.  We have another sonogram on Thursday, May 14, and we should see a heart beat by that point.  Of course, we are already nervous about that appointment.  Sonograms have been the source of great pain for us, but we are so thankful for all of the beautiful sonograms we had with our Milly, who is now 2 1/2 and feisty and "wacky" like her mama. Stephen and I have been nervous to engage in these 2 weeks of pregnancy because we want to avoid pain and guard our hearts.  But, God has begun to lead us to embrace and enjoy this little gift in my womb.  We have always given our babies little "pet names" when we've been pregnant so as to have a name to call them.  It has helped us to bond with the baby in womb and to really cherish our four children once we miscarried.  Our first we called Buddy, but when we found out it was a girl after she was tested following the D & C procedure, we named her Buddy Grace.  Our second baby, which we never found out the sex of, we named Mary Ella after my great Aunt (Goggy's sister) Mary Ella, who died right when we miscarried.  Our third we called Tiger.   This was probably the hardest of all the miscarriages, not that any weren't extremely hard, because we saw Tiger's heartbeat a couple of times and even saw him wiggle his little fanny.  I will never forget that special sonogram moment.  I am getting a tear in my eye thinking of it now.  Tiger was tested after I miscarried, and he was a boy, with chromosome abnormalities as well.  His full name is Tiger Rushing Phelan, Rushing being Stephen's grandmother's last name who died right when we miscarried.  Our fourth we named Wilbur Herman Phelan after Stephen's grandad Wilbur Herman Carlisle who died around the time we miscarried.  We call him "God's Will."  It was almost like God gave our precious babies loved ones to go Home with.  We called Milly "Sibby" while she was in my womb since she was Ford's sibling.  So, we came up with a name on our date this past Friday night.  We are calling this baby "Easter" while it's in our womb because God gave it to us around Easter.  This will not be the real name for this little one when he comes into the world:)   "We just told Ford and Milly about the baby in Mama's tummy this morning, and they both have seemed to understand as much as they can about Easter.  Ford said as I tucked him in tonight, "I want to hold my baby."  It was a special time when they touched my tummy with Daddy and prayed for the new baby. 
         As I type, the song "Blessed Be Your Name" just came on Pandora. com.  This song has meant a lot to us (Thanks, Janna).  One line says, "When the darkness closes in, still I will say, 'Blessed be Your Name."  That is tough to do, but we long to always say those words from our heart.  Another line in the song that comes from the book of Job says, "You give and take away.  Blessed be Your Name."
Job 1:21
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."
That's a tough verse, because I know God doesn't cause miscarriages. Miscarriages weren't intended for the Garden of Eden that God created us for or for our true Home one day in the new heavens and new earth.  
Isaiah 65
17 "'Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.  19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. 20 Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; 23 They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD,  they and their descendants with them. 24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox,  but dust will be the serpent's food.  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,' says the LORD."
        I can't wait until that day - no more tears or death!  I do, however, know that God allowed our miscarriages here on earth, and I have surely wrestled with Him, thanks to my most amazing counselor, Diana, helping me learn to do this.   I also know that He powerfully turns the table on the evil of miscarriage and brings about good and glory far beyond our understanding.  Our 2 miracles, Ford and Milly, are proof of that.  Our pastor Dick Kaufmann and his wonderful wife Liz, have wept on our shoulders with us after our miscarriages, and Dick said though tears, "The cross is proof that God can mysteriously turn the table on evil.  The most evil event in all of history, the Son of God being crucified, was transformed in to the most glorious event in all of history for us who believe in Jesus as our great Savior and Friend."  So, we have asked God to help us bless His Name after our four children have been "taken away" from my womb and taken to heaven early, and we surely blessed His name after we received the greatest phone call of our lives from Grace, our social worker at Bethany Christian Service, on February 9, 2006 - "A birth mother has picked your portfolio, and you have a son, and he was born YESTERDAY!" Stephen thought I had accepted some timeshare or something, because I kept saying ecstatically, "YES! YES! WE are in!!  Yes.  We accept. We are coming!"  We also surely blessed God's Name after Milly Carlisle Phelan was born healthily on November 24, 2006. God has blessed us above or beyond what we could have ever asked  for or imagined.  And, He has carried us through the valleys of grief.  
      So...here we are again.  I went to see my counselor Diana today, and I am so thankful for her life-changing words of wisdom and Truth that she shared with me today.  I want to share them with you:
        "Love hurts.  We see that on the cross.  I see a fearless boldness in the way you love that is Gospel-centered.  This is evidenced in the way you have shared Ford's adoption story with him and tried to help him know his birth parents, and in all of your pregnancies.  Embrace Easter.  It's scary because love hurts and the outcome of this pregnancy is not a sure thing.  But, God has given you little Easter, and how are you going to steward this gift?  Speak to Easter's spirit because when a baby is conceived it has a spirit, and spirit communicates with spirit.  Pray for all the things parents would pray for in any pregnancy.  Sing over Easter.   
        Grief over a lost child shows that the child had an impact on you, and the grief shows respect to that child and says, 'There was a child and I entered in.'  Bradford, your four miscarried children changed your life.  You are a different person because of their lives.  In a culture that devalues life - babies are left in dumpsters, Octomom, abortion - you can show the value of life by embracing Easter and sharing this little life with others and by nurturing its precious life in your womb.  John the Baptist leaped in Elizabeth's womb when he heard the news of Jesus' upcoming birth.  Babies are very aware in the womb.  You and Stephen are investing in a life that you are going to see in eternity one day.  Imagine the day when y'all see your 4 miscarried babies in heaven.  Maybe they'll relay to you how you ministered to them while they were with you in your womb.   What other options do you have besides embracing Easter but backing off and distancing yourself?  No. ENJOY AND INVEST in Easter.  Pray for holy boldness to love this child.  It's a joyful time.  You are pregnant!  Why not enjoy this time?  Ford and Milly can even minister to their brother or sister (Ford thinks it's a boy and Milly thinks it's a girl) as they sing songs to the baby."
[Quick side note about Milly's songs that she sings:  I overheard Milly today singing, "Mary Had a Little Lamb" with a new twist.  "Mary had to disobey, disobey, disobey.  Mary had to disobey, (and I couldn't quite understand her mumbled last verse)."  She's our typical second child who pushes the limits and kinda likes to disobey Mama and Daddy.]
Back to Diana's last words from our session: "Dan Allender says that "Denial" is creating a reality of your own and asking God to bless it.  "Reality" is where you are, and God is a God of reality and is there with you.  We should want to be where God is now - in reality.  God has been glorified in your losses, adoption, and birth and we've seen Him, and we ask that He'll be glorified in this pregnancy and that we,too, will SEE HIM."

Pray for us and Easter.  We all need your prayers.  Pray that God will be glorified, that we'll see more of His love. Pray that we'll have the fearless, holy boldness to love, enjoy, and invest in Easter, and that we will hold Easter come early January.  Thanks for reading my first blog post.  I won't always write this much:)  And thank you, ERIN, for creating our Phelan Phamily Phun blog.  You are so creative and we are grateful!  B


Easter

Easter
Virginia Grace Phelan

Disneyland Magical FUN!

Disneyland Magical FUN!
Our first night at Downtown Disney

They loved the Dumbo ride.

Best Buddies

Pooped!

Milly bravely sat in the front with Daddy. Ford was "hands up" and Milly was "digging fingernails into Daddy's leg."

Mama and Daddy were just as excited.

Mickey was the biggest hit.

Ford and Milly kept saying, "I'm so excited!" I wonder who says that a lot around our house?

Easter's 1st Portrait (Sonogram)

"We're ready for another Phelan munchkin to join our circus!"

Proud Big Brother

Happy Big Sis (check out those wild curls after bathtime:) )

Fatherly Ford

Not-So-Motherly Milly

Ford feeding the babies lettuce and tomato