Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Mother of all MRI's

And you thought the 'big days' were over for the Lemons' crew?!  Today is a really big day that back tracks all the way to September of last year.  Those of you who have followed our story remember that we had a HUGE hiccup last year when Amy had a brain hemorrhage at school.  I can tell you, without any of the results from today's tests that God has been unbelievably good and gracious to us over the past few months.

But Amy is in for another, and we hope last, MRI today.  We go in to visit the our amazing neurosurgeon this afternoon to review the results and see what's next.  We'd appreciate the prayers as we wait to see what all has happened over the past 4 months since Amy's craniotomy.  We are praying for a 100% recovery and that Amy will be released to go back to work.  I'm not sure the last part is her prayer as she's enjoyed some much needed time at home with Joelle....BUT going back to work means she's back at 100% and that's what we've been praying for.

So as we wait today, we have so many friends and family waiting on medical news, pregnancies, adoptions, and so much more...I wanted to drop a verse on the blog to show you what helps calm the anxieties of this day for us:

John 16: 33
"I have told you these things so that you can have peace in me.  In this world you will have trouble,    but take heart, I have overcome the world."

I'm not sure there is a greater verse in all of Scripture than John 16:33.  If I were honest with you, this world gets the best of us a lot of days.  Our adoption drug out, and friends of ours have and are waiting even longer....the brain bleed, well, need I say more?  There's been death, disease, and painful times throughout our lives....so this world....well, it knocks you down sometimes and things don't always go as planned.  Can you relate?

But today, as we stand on what we hope is the other side of this cluster of tough times, we hope you'll trust us when we say, Jesus has truly overcome the world and all of it's troubles.  This week is the greatest reminder of all.  He resurrects the dead and brings dry bones to life.  He heals the sick and places the orphans in homes.  He comforts the widow and the families of lost loved ones.  He has overcome the world.

So what will the test results mean for us today?  Hopefully good news that this short life is getting back to whatever sense of normalcy we had.  But other than that....it doesn't mean much.  Because our hope is in Jesus and not our health or family.  Our hope is in what this Easter week means...that regardless of what may come our way in this life....Jesus has overcome.  He is better.  He is good.

I hope that will encourage you today.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mary Poppins!

We took Joelle and our nieces, Bella and Jenna, to see Mary Poppins today!  It was definitely a hit... at the end Joelle said, "Mama no go to Joelle's house, stay in this one to sleepy with Mary Poppins"  

She was booty dancing with the best of them during the performance!
 If you haven't noticed in our other pictures, I'm all about a theme.  If Mary Poppins wears red and black, then it's only fitting that we play along, right?!

Now we are hungry and exhausted, so I guess I'll get on that whole makin' dinner thing!!  Check out Dallas Summer Musicals if you haven't yet!  Such a fun family event!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Well today was definitely a sweet day in our family!  We went to court for reasons that I don't really understand :) BUT I do know that now Joelle's name has officially been changed to Joelle Tenley Lemons and that we requested a birth certificate :)  She is now officially considered a US citizen, but we still have several things we need to do such as get her a passport (only because we travel so much), social security number, and some other paperwork.  It's quite the process to become a citizen, I'll tell ya that much is true!

As if you didn't already know, our little family is quite fond of taking pictures.  And, I am so thankful that Joelle will go along with it... we only had to tickle a few times to make the smile come out!

 All smiles (that was until she thought the judge was a doctor, ha!)
 After the judge finalized everything :)
 We are so thankful that both our lawyer and judge are family friends.  It's so nice to live in a tight community!

And there you have it!  We are more than thankful for our little US citizen :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

A few firsts...

It's a week of firsts for us in the Lemons' household.....good ones and sad ones.  Tomorrow morning Joelle starts Pre-K.  We are so excited for her to meet some new friends, and have been eagerly awaiting this day because her teacher is going to be great for her!  At the same time, as 9am tomorrow gets closer and closer the sweetness of plugging Joelle into a normal routine is definitely bittersweet.

It actually introduced an uncomfortable topic before bed time last night.  What's the plan for Joelle?  Have you ever stopped to think about this for your family?  What's the plan with our kids?  Do we want them to get a great education, excel in sports, band, or just be an all-around great person?  For us the question was, do we ever see ourselves taking Joelle back to the Congo?  We may be getting ahead of ourselves a little bit since tomorrow is only her first HALF day of Pre-K, but hey, somebody's gotta plan.  

So there was the question from Amy, 'Jared, do you ever plan to take our daughter back to the Congo?......Jared.....Jared.....answer me.'  I half-laughingly stayed quiet to create a little more suspense.  But it wasn't long before the words came out, 'That's not really my decision.'  And as the words popped out of my mouth before I knew what I said, there was a silence in the room.  Because there was a ton of truth in that statement.  Tomorrow's Pre-K enrollment is our decision.  Putting her to bed at night is a decision we make daily.  Hey, which color bow she wears for the millions of pictures we take of her....that's our decision.  But the future of my daughter and our family...not so much.  We've prayed and prayed that God would bring our daughter home.  And throughout those prayers, we asked Him to keep us faithful as parents.  

We have reminded ourselves constantly that even though she is 100% our daughter, she 100% belongs to Him.  I've prayed countless times that God would use her to make His name great on this side of eternity....and not let us stand in the way.  I don't know exactly what that means right now.  I imagine that it may sting a little in the future, and so maybe tomorrow is good preparation.  Like I said, maybe you'll think we are getting a little ahead of ourselves...but I can't help but think of things like this as we prepare to drop our little one off at her first day of Pre-K.  There may come a time that the Lord leads her to a place away from us, and as uncomfortable as that is, I couldn't think of a better place for her to be than at the very center of His plan.  After all....it was His perfect plan that brought her to us in the first place.

So tomorrow is a pretty small step for those of you raising teenagers and paying student loans we know....but it's the beginning of something big for us!  And might I add, it's one of the smaller things we are experiencing this week.....

Wednesday morning at 11am we are re-adopting Joelle in the US and she'll officially become a United States citizen!  After a year and a month of planning, waiting, praying, waiting, filling out papers, and waiting....our process will hopefully come to an end with this adoption.  Joelle is already our daughter in the US and her home country.  However, Wednesday's court hearing will see to it that Joelle is fully entitled to all the benefits of a US citizen, and she'll receive an official birth certificate with Mama and Papa's names on it.  That's pretty exciting!  It's a very simple hearing that probably will not last long at all....but it's a big day for this family.  Joelle will officially become Joelle Tenley Lemons....and I'm sure there will be many pictures to follow!

Lots of cool stuff happening....and it reminds me every day that our God is faithful, and He always works things out according to His good and perfect will.

So we'll leave you with a few pictures.  Our good friend Billy Colegrove (1029 Photography) took some time out of his day a few weekends ago to take our first official family pictures and he did a great job!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Beautiful Weather!

Oh my goodness, we sure have had some beautiful days here lately!  I don't know how much I appreciated nice weather until I became a mom... suddenly staying indoors all day became painful!  Not painful because she goes stir-crazy, but painful because she needs to do more than play inside all day!  

Joelle helped Papa plant some flowers around the pool.  {sidenote:  Jared told me to get Joelle dressed for working and specifically told me no jewelry or bows, haha!  When he saw her he said, "Amy I told you working clothes!!  But the sweet girl wanted a bow, and who am I to say no to that?!  That just means I've taught her well, right?!}
Joelle may have been digging holes that Jared refilled immediately after, but she has no idea so it's okay!
 Today it was so beautiful outside and we had some time to kill before meeting up with friends, so we took some pictures in Deep Ellum.

 Getting her to pose is seriously an easy task!

 Picture with THE Chuck Norris... yes please!!
 Then, we met up with our sweet friends Mallory and Landon for lunch and some playtime at the Arboretum!  This was Joelle's first time to be able to actually play at the Arboretum instead of just take pictures, and she thoroughly enjoyed that!  She rolled all over that soft grass, chased the squirrels, cartwheeled, flipped, and blew bubbles.  That makes for one happy girl!  
Mallory and I have know each other for probably 23ish years, so it was such a blessing to introduce Joelle to her!  Such a special moment!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's all in the family :)

This week I finally took pictures of Joelle with *some* of our family members.  She's spent some time with our immediate family before this week, but I just hadn't snapped any pictures.  So, here we go!

My mom "KK"
My dad "Poppy"
Aunt Anna
 My parents :)
 Aunt "Li-ia"
 Jared's mom "Gigi"
Aunt Christa 
This is not everyone by any means, but at least it's a start!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Such a cutie pie!

Today Joelle got all dressed up for some cousin pictures at the Arboretum, and before we changed out of her cute little outfit, I snapped a few pictures in the backyard!
 We are so ready to get in our new pool!  C'mon summer!
I'm seriously in love with this little girl!

And here are a few pictures from our morning :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Arboretum!

Fridays have been our special family day since we've been home.  We've gone to the aquarium, zoo, and now the Arboretum!  And, of course, we have to capture every event with lots of pictures!  We definitely went to the Arboretum with picture-taking in mind today.  And, Joelle didn't let us down... we got some really cutie patootie pictures of her!  
 Cheesy enough for you?!!!

 This picture looks really sweet but we were having a serious conversation on how NOT to do a cheesy smile!
And, then it was time to force that sweater off of her body.  She has a thing for buttons, and buttoning each one of them.  

 Explains these two pretty well :)
 Oh my goodness... precious little girl right here!

 And we actually got a couple of family shots!  PTL for self timer!

I'm definitely glad we became members at the Arboretum so that we can have lots more fun days like this!  Can't wait for beautiful weather so we can enjoy it even more!