Wednesday, August 9, 2017

40 Day Challenge to Raise Your Vibration!


It's been awhile since I've written on this blog!  But I figured it was time to reach out here and share about a 40 Day Raise Your Vibration challenge that I've decided to do for myself, but it's always more fun and easier to commit when you have a community and some accountability!
Did you know that the number 40 is used 146 times in the Scripture?!  It's all about Spiritual Rebirth and Preparation. Who would like to participate in a 40 Day Group Challenge to Raise Your Vibration?  I am working on this right now and would love to have you join me! I'm thinking some pretty amazing miracles will transpire. 
Watch the video, register on the link comment below and join our Facebook group!  The challenge will take place in the Facebook group.  We are starting Aug. 14! 

40 Day Raise Your Vibration Challenge! from Stacy Harmer on Vimeo.

Eventbrite - 40 Day - Raise Your Vibration Challenge!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

7 Steps to Vibrant Living Course

  Eventbrite - 7 Steps to Vibrant Living Course  

7 Steps to Vibrant Living
Move from Barriers to Breakthroughs!

Come be a part of a fun, interactive and transformational course designed to accelerate positive results in your life.....
Body ~ Heart ~ Mind ~ Soul

Are you feeling stuck?  What is your energy level?  How are your relationships with yourself, your Higher Power, family, friends and food?  Are you getting the positive results in your life and enjoying the fruits of your labors?

Join me for a 7 week Educational course starting September 8!

Conference calls on Tuesdays at 1:00 pm Mountain Time (calls will be recorded)

 -Weekly Calls, Facebook Forum, Weekly Videos, Reading Assignments, Weekly Action Items

The structure of the course is symbolically represented by a fruit tree.

First, we focus on nourishing our roots – body, heart, mind and soul on a daily basis.  Second, the trunk symbolizes systems, structure and support in our lives (am/pm routines, daily/weekly schedules, effortless and healthy meal planning and preparation, etc.).  Third, the branches represent living your life with passion and purpose.  Fourth, the fruit represents your gifts, mission and offering to the world.  A tree doesn’t produce fruit unless it is properly nourished, and neither do we. 
The course is just scratching the surface of the thousands of hours and dollars Stacy has invested in her own education and healing, but you’ll come away with several valuable takeaways:

Take a brief inventory of your life and rank where you are from 0-10 in 8 key areas.
  1.  Identify the Stumbling Blocks in your life that are keeping you from progressing and then find solutions to transform them into Stepping Stones.
  2. Body:  Discover 5 keys that will transform your health and do them DAILY. 
  3. Heart:  Clear the emotional blocks and negative beliefs that are keeping you stuck.  You’ll learn a tool that you can use daily that will help you keep an open and loving heart. 
  4. Mind:  Reprogram your mind through affirmations, dream board, life vision, and focus.  You’ll come away with your own personal Power Declarations to combat any negative voices you hear, believe or tell yourself.
  5. Soul:  Tap into the limitless power of your Higher Source – these tools with transform every aspect of your life.  Learn how to slow down, meditate, listen and journal to actually accelerate your life in every other area.
  6. Systems:  Create an AM/PM routine to book end your days.  Make sure your most important values are represented in the daily, weekly systems you set up for yourself.
  7. Purpose and Passion:  Learn the steps to identify your purpose and passion.  Often times it is our PAIN that propels us to find our PURPOSE.
  8. How do we share our gifts, mission and purpose with others?  What are the consequences when we don’t share?  Learn the KEY to moving forward and progressing in life!


The 7 Steps to Vibrant Living class was AMAZING - a true life changer!! I loved every session. I am definitely a better person because of this class. I am much better at getting up in the morning and have a positive, productive morning routine which starts my day off right. I am watching my thoughts more and keeping the negative ones out as much as I can. I really feel like a better person because of Stacy and what I learned in her class. I have listened to the recordings of her classes multiple times and they are always the pick me up I need. I also LOVE having her book and have referenced it MANY times. Stacy is truly a lighthouse helping others find their way, becoming their best selves along the path.
 -Valerie Vincent Evans

This program is life changing.  It really helps to break into baby steps the things you can do to take control of your life and feel increased peace and serenity.  Stacy is a wonderful mentor and has a wealth of knowledge, resources and experience that equip her to motivate and inspire women to discover who they are and be their best selves!
-Melanie Connell

I had been struggling for years to put my life in order.  I have felt a lot of stress and confusion as I tried to know what to do first and in what order to pursue healing in my life.  I felt like I was always running around, using all my energy, and still not making any noticeable progress.  I was very frustrated and worn down.  This program came into my life at the perfect time for me.  Looking at my life in the symbolism of a tree helped me to put things in order and know where to focus my energy.  One of the most powerful aspects for me was learning how to nourish my mind.  I never thought that taking care of the thoughts I believed would change my whole life for the better.  This program has changed my life in beautiful ways.  I feel so much more whole and peaceful.  What a blessing Stacy and her mentoring has been in my life.
- Christine Isom

This program came into my life at exactly the right moment.  I was so ready to take the steps Stacy outlined.  I felt a loving bond and admiration for all the women in my group. Stacy led the group with grace and charm.  I am so excited to continue on the path the program has set out so clearly for me.
-Kerry Smitheram

Stacy is a caring, inspiring coach and mentor.  Because she lives what she teaches, she has moral authority.  Filling you with ideas and clarity, you are in the driver's seat and have the wheel, yet she is there to support your life's journey.  I appreciate the growth I made with this program.  It truly was a break through process for me.  Giving me tools and a plan, organizing it into a lifestyle, and making it easy to implement, it helped me to progress forward with passion and healthy systems.  I became clear on what I really wanted and became a better me, wife, and mother because of it.  Thank you!
-Debbie Warner

Stacy Larsen Harmer is my sister by birth, my mentor and dearest friend by choice.  She has walked a path few are required to walk.  These experiences could have crushed her.  Instead, she has triumphed; becoming the beautiful, refined, knowledgeable woman she is today.  Stacy is a perpetual student - continually learning, always growing and ever willing to share what she has learned.  Her wisdom, empathy and understanding bless my life on a daily basis.  Finding balance in life is such a challenge.  Stacy has lovingly and gently influenced me, helping me break through personal roadblocks and issues to become the woman I am striving to be.  Her ability to connect with the "whole person" - body, heart, mind and soul - is intuitive and powerful.  If you'll let them, Stacy's insights, visual anchors, and concrete suggestions will change your life
.-Collette Larsen

I am so grateful to have met you Stacy.  What an amazing mind and heart you have. You have an incredible connection into the lives of other people.  Your level of understanding and comprehension of life is astounding!  I am amazed at your ability to teach, lead and inspire people.  It seems as though whoever gets close to you is blessed by your wisdom and love that you have for them.  I know that my life has improved since meeting you.  You have caused me to live more with purpose and with passion.  I am impressed with the path that you are on and I hope......I hope that more people will see what you have found.  It is truly a blessing and gift that you offer to everyone that connects with you.  Thank you for influencing me, which influenced my family and which assists me to influence others for good.  I have risen to new heights because of your direct influence.  Thank you! :)
-Kirk Duncan, President 3 Key Elements

Eventbrite - 7 Steps to Vibrant Living Course

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

28 Day Challenge - Nourish Your Body and Rejuvenate Your Life!

Imagine changing the way you eat, feel, look, and think - in just 28 days.

Introducing the whole foods  28 Day  program that can support you to make the changes you deserve.

Renew ~ Refresh ~ Recharge ~ Revitalize

I know you’ve been waiting:
For some magic diet or cure to appear out of the blue and fix your belly bloat/low energy/digestive issues.
To change your life from the inside out…from the way you eat to the way you manage stress and take care of yourself.
To feel better. Look great. And finally tell the world “I did it… and, this time, it’s sticking.”

The problem is:  those miracle pills & potions? They don’t work. Ever.

But here’s the good news: I’ve got a solution for you.

I’m a health coach who believes in the concept of bioindividuality. Translation? I know there’s no one magic diet or cure for anyone.

Instead, I’m here to help you learn what foods fuel YOUR unique body, as well as the exercise routines, health, and de-stressing strategies that work for your life and schedule.

The best part? It’s all inside this one phenomenal program.

So, if you’re ready:

  •  To ditch old habits that don’t serve you anymore. 
  • To kick those quick fixes with 0 results to the curb.
  • To stop buying book after book, doing diet after diet, and still not experiencing the changes you desire.
  • To uncover more happiness, more energy, and a feeling of total balance throughout the day.
  • To live a life free from confusion about what to eat, where you feel completely in control of your body and mind.
  • To create systems to streamline your meal planning and preparation and simplify your life!

Then welcome home.

I'm so excited to announce that I recently graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and am now a Certified Holistic Health Coach.  It's been an amazing year of growth and learning from the top minds in Holistic Health and Nutrition - such as Dr. Andrew Weil, David Katz, Deepak Chopra, Bernie Seigel and many others.  

Once upon a time, I took the bait, too. I bought every health book out there, tried all sorts of diets and spent hours trying to figure out what was "right" for my body.  At my Nutrition School we even studied and were exposed to 100 different dietary theories!  No wonder there is so much confusion.  

What I discovered is that there is no “right” food, that we are all different and have unique nutritional needs.

And that’s what I’m here to prove to you over the course of 4 delicious weeks. 

But I know you’re probably wondering:
“What’s the difference between clean eating and a diet?”

When you diet, you’re dwelling on fats, counting calories, and restrictions. Most of the time, you end up feeling tired and just plain frustrated, right?

That’s what makes this program so different.

Unlike a diet, this 28 day adventure teaches you how to eat foods that are healthy and delicious… and you’ll never have to count a single calorie.

Instead, you’ll learn how to effortlessly meet your health goals over a 28 day period.

The outcome? You start making long-lasting changes, instead of opting for the next quick fix.

Clean eating is more than a strategy; it’s a movement. A revolution. You’re about to embark on a life-changing experience, because you’re about to ditch the diet mentality forever.

A Little about Me

I was looking for more than a quick fix or a diet book.   I wanted a holistic approach to health and healing.  I knew what it felt like to use food as a crutch and emotionally eat to try to diminish my pain.  I knew the addictive grip of sugar addiction.  I also wanted to find and create systems that would help my life run more smoothly.  I wanted to find foods that my little girls would love and make lasting changes for our family.  That has been one of the most exciting parts of this adventure - being creative with my daughters in discovering new foods that are delicious and fun to make.  

When I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I was looking for lasting change.  I was always interested in health, but when I graduated as a certified coach, I wanted to create a program that would help people take small steps towards lifelong, sustainable changes.

If you’re feeling confused about what to eat, then this is the program for you.

But, fair warning: it’s about so much more than just what’s on your plate.

I've discovered tools that have helped me become a healthy person in a completely different way. These tools, tactics, and resources allowed me to both reduce stress, achieve my goals, live a healthier life, and learn how to balance everything that fills up my crazy schedule - truly nourishing your body, heart, mind and soul on a daily basis!

Now, I’m ready to teach you to the same tools I use that work beautifully for me.

In 28 days, you will learn YOUR unique healthy blueprint. You will know exactly which foods give you optimal energy, which jumpstart your metabolism, and how to plan your own meals.

In 4 weeks, I’ll teach you how to:
      Eat the foods that are right for you and your unique body

      Plan meals, even if you are busy and have no time

      Put yourself first (and not feel guilty about it -we have to make sure our bucket is full in order to serve others. Whoa!)

      Find exercise that fits your unique body and lifestyle

      Take the exact steps, week by week, that will help you achieve long-lasting results

      Give you daily assignments over a 28-day period that will empower you to make lifelong changes

      Tap in to a place of power that exists in all of us, which will enable you to leave behind old habits

      Make healthy recipes that will leave you satisfied with every bite

      Snack on healthy snacks – yep, did I mention you get 40 of ‘em?

      Make easy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that help you feel amazing

      Crowd out the bad stuff and bring in the yummy foods to replace it – no deprivation here!

You won’t have to spend another ounce of energy thinking about when or what to eat.

I have put together a program that will guarantee results for you, plus take the headache out of “What should I eat today?”

I’m not talking short-term results here. I’m talking the kind of permanent transformation you get when you’re supported for 28 days with a step-by-step instructional guide, a manual, recipes, handouts, and shopping lists galore that make your life easy. 

I created this program to be a manual for life. Each day, you have action steps you can take towards your health goals.

What You Get:

      4 Weekly eBook Guides with daily prompts, so you get chunks of information daily, making it easy to apply these principles to your life

      2 weeks of weight loss-focused meal suggestions and shopping lists to make burning fat and getting that lean, tone body that much easier to attain

       Recipe Guide loaded with 53 gluten-free, family-friendly recipes created by a fabulous chef (also vegetarian option)

      Weekly Meal Planners and Shopping Lists for each week (includes both non-vegetarian and vegetarian)

      A Simple-to-Use Food Diary

      7 Handouts – these are your cheat sheets, ‘cause life can get busy!

1.    40 Snacks on the Go
2.    Gluten-Free Substitutions
3.    How to Go Gluten-Free
4.    The 101 on Portions
5.    The 101 on Vegetable Cooking Methods
6.    Top Vegetarian Proteins
7.    Low Glycemic Chart

It’s time to get your energy, your body, and your life back.

So take the first step.
Start feeling your best today. Glow from the inside out.
Feel outstanding no matter how busy your life is, because you deserve to feel incredible with
every breath.

I promise you this:
You will not starve.
You will not be deprived.
You will thrive.

No more diets.
No more wondering which foods are right for you.

Just a simple, 28 day whole foods program delivered straight to your inbox.  

If you are feeling…
         Tired and Sluggish
      Hormonally imbalanced

That’s your body telling you it’s time for a change.

In just 4 weeks, you’ll learn how to:

      Fall in love with cooking and prep delectable, healthy meals
      Adore your kitchen  and know how to make it feel like home
      Make healthy snacks
      Prepare nourishing and delicious meals for the whole family
      Exercise using the right exercises for your body
      Portion out your foods, while never feeling like you are dieting
      Pick healthy foods and create meals for yourself that will satisfy all of your taste buds
      Crowd out the bad stuff and bring in the healthy goodies
      Eat at a restaurant and order off a menu
      Nourish your body with the right protein, whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or interested in reducing animal proteins in your life
      Use tools for committing to change and to a healthy life

You ready?

Let’s go!

But wait.........

In addition, you'll receive delivered to your door step at no extra charge!!

  • A full month supply of pharmaceutical grade Antioxidants and Chelated Minerals.  They're also rated #1 in North America by 3rd party studies. ($50.00 retail value.)
  • 1 bag (9 servings) of a delicious, nutritious meal replacement shake that you can add to your morning smoothies or simply use if you are in a hurry and on the go.    ($30.00 retail value.)
  • 1 month supply of Pharmaceutical Grade Probiotic to support your digestive health.  Healing your gut will truly help heal your life!!  We'll get more into that in the program.  ($30.00 retail value.)
  • 1 water/blender bottle to blend up shakes when you're on the go ($8.00 retail value).

Starts Monday, November 17

My first Kick-off Program will only be 


If you are a current Usana Associate or Preferred Customer and interested in participating, please contact me directly at for your pricing.  

This program is valued well over $1000.00 for content and coaching if you were working with a Certified Holisitic Health Coach one on one.  

What is it costing you to wait to get your health, vitality, weight loss and zest for life back?  You are so worth it!  Be armed with tools to help you through the holiday season and start the new year off right!

You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home to join this e-course!

Interested in extra support? Contact me for more info about 1:1 coaching to support you throughout this program or in making sustainable changes that will help you reach your health and weight loss goals.  I also go into a lot more depth on healing your body, heart, mind and soul and the creation of systems to help your life flow more smoothly.

Let’s get this adventure started!



PS - Plus - You'll get 4 calls throughout the program to support you!  Introductory call, 2 calls packed with great information and a Q and A time, and a personalized end of program 1 on 1 call to further support your lifestyle changes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Olivia's Gift - 14 Day Challenge to Find JOY Now!

My heart has been very tender over the past couple days as we have contemplated and mourned the passing of a beautiful, compassionate, warm and talented individual, Robin Williams.  It came as a shock.  How could someone that has brought so much joy, laughter and happiness to so many be suffering so deeply inside that to him his only relief to his bondage and pain was to escape this life.  How many people are suffering in silence or behind their masked faces?  I feel compelled to speak out.  It is certainly easier, more comfortable and safer to hold back and not share, but I know my life purpose and passion – that is to help the down trodden, lift the hands, heads and hearts that hang low and to provide encouragement, inspiration and support to those that may be suffering.  Why do I feel so deeply about this subject?   Because I have been there.  My life path took a sharp turn in the road several years ago.  Most people on the outside see me as very positive, upbeat and optimistic.  My children even tease me about it and occasionally make fun of me for it – saying I remind them of that super healthy, happy guy on Parks and Rec.  J  I must say that I do strive daily to be in a happy and in a positive place, but that is because I know too well how easy it is to slide down to a path of darkness, pain and despair.  My own journey is unique to me, but the path is all too common in the lives of so many around us. 

A couple of years following my sweet Olivia’s unexpected passing, I found myself spiraling downward to a deep, clinical depression.  That was a dark, desperate and difficult time in my life, and today I am lucky to have my life back – thanks to some very special people that dropped everything in their lives to get me the help and intervention that I needed.  I know where the true source of healing comes from - the Giver of all unspeakable and beautiful gifts and Infinite Light - our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Once I regained some of my strength back and developed a type of relationship with Him that I didn't even know was possible in this life, I understood at a new level that He could heal our lives over and over again - no matter how much pain we are holding, or how many mistakes we continually make or how many burdens we might be carrying, He can always turn ashes into beauty - without fail!!  I gave everything I had for several years to study, learn and apply the principles of living a surrendered, whole, happy, healthy and passionate life. 

Olivia would have turned 14 this coming Saturday, August 16, 2014.  I've decided that my gift to her this year is to reach out to others that are hurting or struggling or may have loved ones that are struggling, feel depressed or hopeless. 

 My intention is that through my story and steps that I've discovered, you’ll be able to have daily, practical tools to nourish your body, heart, mind and soul  to use for yourself or share with others.   Beginning on Olivia’s birthday - August 16, for 14 days, I’ll share a piece of my journey and a step of the formula  (which I call the 7 Steps to Vibrant Living) that I discovered along with a practical tool or exercise to reinforce the principle- you'll receive it by email.  

Are you in?  14 Days to Find Joy Now!  Best of all - it's FREE and from the comfort of your home!  A great way to begin the new school year and be armed with some practical tools to bring greater JOY to your life and the life of your family.  

Eventbrite - Olivia's Gift - 14 Day Challenge to Find JOY Now!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Transform Your Mind

I know the power of thoughts! Unfortunately, I used them in a negative way to almost completely destroy myself. I didn't realize what I was doing at the time, but I was digging a pit deeper and deeper for myself. The journey out of the pit and to the promised land has been an adventure indeed. The amazing thing is that I believe that my path was to go to the pit, the dark abyss, for a time to know what it really feels like to be lost and alone. It has birthed a level of compassion within me for those that are struggling that I never had before. I feel so deeply for those that have lost hope and struggle with depression, grief, pain and low self worth.

I realize that I had placed so much of my worth in the label I had as a mother. I wanted nothing more than to be a wonderful mother. When my little daughter, Olivia, unexpectedly passed away, so did my worth and value in my own eyes. I felt as though I had failed her, God and myself. I didn't get angry with God, but I did take out my pain and anger out on myself. I crucified myself with my own thoughts, and in doing so, I spiraled down to the dark place.

So why is this liberating to me? If I could create a Hell with my own thoughts, then I had that much power to create a Paradise for myself. We really are creators of our own destiny. In Romans 12:2 it reads " not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by therenewing of your mind......" We need to think different thoughts and look at life differently. As we fill our mind with the TRUTH about who we are and have always been, our inner lives become transformed. Our outward actions are an expression of the inner transformation.

In my own experience, that transformation comes as we allow Jesus Christ to change our hearts. When we seriously take His name upon us, He begins our transformation from the inside out. It doesn't happen over night and may seem very slow at times. He has given us permission to leave our past behind and move forward in faith.

I really love the poem by Helen Mallicoat ~





Have a joyful journey in transforming your mind!

I invite you to follow my new blog/website at

Monday, May 2, 2011

Our Chinese Adoption

May 1, 2011

Well the day is finally here! We are flying to China. We started this adoption about a year and half ago. There has been a huge amount of work to pull it off. There were delays in the process, loads of paper work, home study updates, finger printing, background checks, etc. Someone once said to me how nice and easy it would be to adopt and just have someone hand you your child. For me, adoption has taken a lot more work, effort and patience than giving birth (although I was blessed to have easy pregnancies). I am excited as we anticipate the weeks ahead. We will be touring Beijing and Hong Kong before we get to meet little Gabriella. Then once they bring her to us, we will have 12 days in Guangzhou, China with her to finalize the adoption. It will be an adventure of a life time. Matt and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary next month, so these next few weeks will be a celebration of that. God is good and perfect in helping us create the perfect family for us.

May 3, 2011

Today was a full and exciting day! First, we went to Tiananmen Square. It was huge! We saw the Hero’s monument, the building for Mao’s remains, and a historic museum. We then walked through the Outer City, Inner City, Imperial City and Forbidden City. I had no idea how massive this was. We had watched the movie, The Last Emperor, before we came which gave us a good understanding of what went on in the Forbidden City, but I was totally shocked at how big it was.

We then went to an authentic little Chinese restaurant. The food was very delicious. We had noodles, kung pao chicken and fried shredded potatoes. Then we climbed a ton of stairs to the top of the Drum Tower, where they have many very, very large drums that are hundreds of years old, and they do a drum show every couple of hours. The last part of our tour today was a bicycle ride through Hotung. This is the old part of Beijing. We stopped at a market and saw all of the varieties of fruits, vegetables and meats. When we finally got back to the hotel, Matt and I collapsed and took a four hour nap! I think our bodies are still adjusting to the time change. Fun times…….and one day closer to getting Gabriella!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Today was another full day. We first went to the Summer Palace. It was very large and quite beautiful. It is surrounded by a large lake. We took a boat ride across to another small island. Then in the afternoon we went to the Temple of Heaven. The architecture was very beautiful. The grounds were also very nice and peaceful. It was a HUGE area and very park like. Then this evening we met Dad Harmer and Lena and her sister for dinner at the Peking Duck Restaurant. It is the oldest and most famous restaurant in Beijing. We walked along the streets and did some street shopping. Matt wants to wait to buy things until we get to Guangzhou so we don’t have to carry extra weight around. We were very full from lunch and dinner, but that didn’t stop us from stopping at Hagan das across the street to get a yummy scoop of ice cream. We got back to the hotel and Matt and I started playing Rummy. That didn’t last for long because he started nodding off while we were playing. Now he is fast asleep. J

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Today we climbed the Great Wall of China! We climbed a ton of stairs. We basically climbed up the mountain in stairs. It was pretty impressive. They say the Great Wall is about 3100 miles – approximately the same as crossing the United States! It is difficult to imagine building such a massive thing. Afterwards we went to The Sacred Way – the tombs of the Emperors in the Ming Dynasty. We saw lots of animal statues that were supposed to guard and protect the tombs. We went today with Amy and Peter Capian. They are a couple from Rochester New York, and they are adopting a little boy. This is their first child. They were very nice, and hopefully we will see them in Guangzhou and let Gabriella ataynd Henry play together. I can’t believe that we are finally going to get her in 4 more days!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Today we arrived in Hong Kong! What a beautiful city. I really had no idea. It is all situated around a harbor and a couple of islands. The sky line is spectacular, and it seems like there is an incredible view everywhere you go. Today we got checked into our hotel – The Langham Place Hotel. It is a beautiful facility with an impressive view of the city out the huge window in the room. Then we ventured out. We took the subway, bus and taxi to get around. We rode the tram/cable car up to Victoria Peak which is basically the highest point in Hong Kong and gives an impressive view over all of Hong Kong. There is a mall at the top of the peak, and we sat down to a very nice dinner – mostly raw fish. Matt loved it, and I am slowly acquiring a taste for it. We then rode the fairy back to the other part of the island to get back to our hotel. The Ferry is a great place to view the city skyline from the water. It is just an awesome view. My favorite thing is to people watch. And every time I see an adorable little Asian girl, I know that we are counting down the days till we get our Gabriella. Just about 2 days from now, she will be in our arms.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Today we relaxed by the pool in the morning, and then went out on the town for a big adventure. We went to see the Big Buddha and the Loa Pin Monastery. We rode a tram/gondola up to the top of the mountain where the Big Buddha sits. It was huge! Then at dusk, we took a harbor cruise. The harbor is absolutely gorgeous!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Today was just a travel day. We said goodbye to Hong Kong and flew to Guangzhou. We are very pleasantly surprised at how nice Guangzhou feels. We are staying at the White Swan Hotel. This is traditionally the place where most adoptive families stay. We are right along the water of the Pearl River and it is absolutely beautiful. We are on Shamian Island. There are palm trees around and cute little shops around our hotel. There is a huge waterfall and gorgeous plants and flowers all around. Tomorrow is the big day!

Monday, May 09, 2011 – Gotcha Day!

Today was pretty unbelievable. So many emotions for everyone. There were probably around 15-20 families that were picking up their children today. We met at the Civil Affairs Office. They brought out a child at a time to their families. It was pretty traumatic for all the ones that I witnessed. Little Gabriella was so scared and very sad for awhile. She was screaming pretty hard. We got her calmed down and then she actually finally fell asleep in my arms. She is tiny! She is 20 months today but feels and acts more like about a 6-8 month old. She has such a pretty little face and big, beautiful eyes. We took her for a walk around the island this afternoon and other Asians would stop and talk with us and comment on her big, beautiful eyes. We’ve hardly gotten her to eat anything. She won’t open her mouth to put any food in. She is used to the bottle, so I mixed rice cereal and formula together tonight and put it in her bottle, and luckily she drank it up.

At first she was very scared of Dad, but she has grown more used to him. She even let him hold her for a minute tonight without crying. We met the director of the orphanage, and he is a very sweet man. I really give my hat to him and the nannies that take care of these children. There were 22 other children around her age in the orphanage and man, many more at different ages. We met a family today that was adopting a 13 year old girl that had lived in the orphanage. As you can imagine, that is the only home these children have ever known, so leaving can be quite traumatic, but we understand that after a day or two they feel calm and secure in their new environment. We have an appt. in the morning and more papers to sign, and the Chinese officials also conduct an interview with us. Then the next day, we have a dr. appt. for her. She has been sick with a cold for the last couple of weeks, so they said she is a little weak. My goal is to see a smile on her face before we leave!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Today has been a great day! I was afraid I wouldn’t get a smile out of Gabriella, but we got her smiling and even giggling. It takes some work, but she has warmed up to me and will occasionally smile. That feels like a huge milestone. We went to the office of Civil Affairs today and signed the adoption paperwork. We had 2 interviews, and they asked us questions like why we were adopting, if we were happy with our child, how much income we had, and we had to promise to always love and care for her. We took some photos with the other couple that Helen is facilitating and that also worked with Wasatch. After that I took Gabriella down to the Swan Room to play. She had fun and smiled and giggled. I even got her to walk a little bit while holding on to my hand. Her legs are pretty weak, but she was able to do it with assistance. The island is spectacular. It is absolutely gorgeous with lots of beautiful flowers and trees. I plan on taking some nice pictures of her here among the flowers. I continually get stopped by strangers to look and admire Gabriella.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Today we had a relaxed morning, and I walked around the island and played in the play room with Gabriella. She has become so animated and fun. She laughs, giggles, squeals and just smiles with the cutest little grin. In the afternoon, we went to do the medical exam. She didn’t like it much, but it was pretty painless. They just looked in her ears and mouth, took her temperature, measured her weight and height and then did a physical exam. They said that she is normal but just small in size. That is exactly what the orphanage has told us. We are so overjoyed that each day she seems more alive and engaged with us. After the exam, we went to apply for her visa/passport. Most of the families were gathered there at the same time. It is really fun to get to know the other couples and families.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Today was a quiet day. We just stayed on the island. I love to walk around and see all of the beautiful flowers. Gabriella had a couple of bouts with diarrhea, but she has been eating quite a bit. She seems energized and happy. She giggles and laughs all of the time. While she was taking a nap, I did some shopping. I got some beautiful Chinese dresses for Gabriella and Isabella, a tea set and pearls for Aubrey, and Matt got a cool sword for Hunter. We still have some more shopping to do, but we will be here for another week.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Today we ventured out and did some sight seeing. We went the the Buddhist Temple of the 6 Banyon Trees. There was a beautiful Pagodo that was built in about 1000 A.D. It was a beautiful and peaceful place in the midst of a busy city. There were people around burning incense and leaving flowers and fruit for the Buddha. Then we took about a 20 minute walk to reach the tomb of one of the emperors. It was just discovered about 20-25 years ago. They had many of his treasures displayed as well as the actual tomb and surrounding rooms. Gabriella was a trooper, and she was in the baby carrier. She seems to have some digestive issues and really isn’t eating much. She is sleeping great though. She sleeps through the night so peacefully.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Today was another quiet day on the island. Matt and I actually spent an hour playing ping pong. I won 5 games to 4, but he gave me a run for my money. He has been winning Rummy, so it was time that I won something J. We relaxed by the pool for a little while, and then met Helen to sign some adoption papers. Both Gabriella and Matt took a long afternoon nap.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Today has been quite humid and a little bit rainy. We shopped around the island, played in the playroom, and the most exciting thing we did was take a Pearl River Cruise. We were on the Dragon boat, and the cruise was very enjoyable. There was a nice breeze and the lights were pretty impressive on some of the buildings. Gabriella of course enjoyed being outside. Unfortunately, over the past couple of days she has not seemed to feel too well. She seems to have lost her appetite and seems to get a tummy ache. She also just seems sad. I think it is part of the grieving process.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Today was an interesting day. We met up with Helen and the Davidsons and Carpians. We went to the Pearl and Jade Markets. Then we went to the open food market. That was quite an experience. They had all sorts of things from snakes, scorpions, pigeons, turtles, etc. It is so interesting how different our cultures are related to the things we eat. Gabriella seems to have gotten her small appetite back. She seemed much happier today. Every bit of progress is great.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Another day in Guangzhou. Today we had an adventure and went to the city zoo. It was a nice place with a lake right in the middle of it. There were quite a few animals, and we saw the famous Chinese Panda Bear. I was excited because today Gabriella was very animated and seemed so happy. She would spontaneously kick her legs, reach for things, smile, coo and giggle. It was probably the most animated we’ve seen her since we’ve had her. We took her to the play room, and she loved to play. She got down on the ground and was playing with a ball, and then she would walk around the room holding my hand. We continue to meet many different families that are adopting.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Today was a beautiful day. We got up and went to the Baiyun Shan Gardens. It was a beautiful little oasis just outside of Guangzhou. I love how there are these beautiful places tucked in amidst the big crowded city. We were going to ride a tram up the mountain and see the view as well, but little Gabriella was getting a bit impatient with all the heat. I assume she hasn’t been out in the sun much, and after walking for about an hour around the gardens, she had had enough. We had a relaxing rest of the day and ended it by sitting and eating our dinner out by the river. The time that Matt and I have had together has been so wonderful. It has been years since we’ve had this much time to spend together, relax, play games, read, etc. It really has been such a blessing for us to experience this with Gabriella.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Today was the big day. We had our consulate appointment. This is where we take an oath and officially adopt Gabriella. We rode in a bus with about 10 other families there. We had a little bit of a wait before we did the official business. When they had us stand up, I was getting a little teary. This was in a way the culmination of the last several years. Even though it has only taken us 1 ½ years to adopt Gabriella, it was much longer in the making. It was just weeks after Olivia passed away that the Lord opened up a window for me to see two beautiful girls – Isabella and Gabriella. Getting them both here has been quite the journey, but now I can see the Lord’s hand every step of the way. The timing was perfect to bring this little angel into our lives. That is what she is. She is an absolute joy – as is every one of our other children. What a kiss from Heaven we’ve received.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Goodbye to Guangzhou and to China! We love you and your people. We have had such an amazing time while we’ve been here. We’ve taken long walks in beautiful parks and gardens, we’ve seen amazing sites, we’ve met incredible people, we’ve eaten delicious food, and we met and adopted our little Gabriella. This trip couldn’t have been more perfect. Next month Matt and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and what a celebration this whole experience has been for us. I couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect than to have come to China and experienced this culture and added an absolute angel to our family. I feel like I’m constantly in awe at how the Lord works, how He heals hearts and lives, how He loves unconditionally, how He lets us wander and get lost but really never leaves us. I am full of gratitude for how He continually blesses us with more than we expect or deserve. Five and a half years ago I was crumpled on the floor in pain and heartache from losing Olivia. I struggled for years after her passing (along with beautiful times of peace and understanding). The Lord knows that I find my greatest joy in being a mother. He let me hurt and struggle. He knew what lay ahead. He would bless me with not one, but two more little angels – Isabella and Gabriella. What a treasure they are for our family. I haven’t lost Olivia. We will be reunited one day, and once again He will bless me with the opportunity to be a mother to her. There is no end to His goodness. Thank you for sharing in this journey with us!

With Love and Gratitude,