Friday, October 28, 2011

Discovery Toys

I've decided to sell Discovery Toys to help raise money to bring the boys home and to score them some awesome toys to play with when they get here. If you'd like to order, you can check out my website. You can host a party and earn some free toys in time for Christmas. I love the busy farm and the playful patterns. Do you have a favorite product over at Discovery Toys? If so, leave me a comment and tell me about it.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Life is BUSY!

Life is busy for us, right now. You may have noticed, it's been a little longer between blog posts than usual. We're preparing to take a trip, you know. Life is always busier this time of year. Gearing up for the holidays and making fun fall memories. Soccer season is ending for Eli this week and then we'll be full steam ahead, getting everyone ready for November 18th!

I'm really planning two trips in my mind and it's a little stressful at times. I'm not sleeping well, because my mind is so BUSY with the things that need to happen before we board a plane to Eastern Europe. Leaving my kids for 2 weeks is no small thing. Packing my kids to be away for 2 weeks is an even bigger thing. We're ordering adapters for outlets in Eastern Europe, so our computers and camera will continue to work on our trip. We're working on a budget for the two weeks we're away. We're still fundraising, like crazy. So, if you feel like we're not around as often this is why. I promise to blog my heart out for the last two weeks in November. Complete with pictures of our boys. Until then, when you think, why hasn't she blogged in 5 days, please, pray for us :)

You can always feel free, too, to make a tax-deductible donation into our Reece's Rainbow grant, using the chip-in on the right hand side of the blog. It will make me smile and re-affirm that others are believing in us and praying for us!

Hidden in Christ,

Friday, October 21, 2011

4 years ago, today.

It's your birthday, sweet Samuel. 4 years ago, today, you still belonged to another Mommy. My heart had not even imagined you, yet. I'm so thankful, today, for the sacrifice she made. She carried you and gave you life and my heart is especially sad for her on this day. A day that is worthy of celebration, because our beautiful son made entry into this great big world. It's difficult to feel JOY, though. You've spent 4 long years in an orphanage alone. Does she feel regret and sadness at having to leave you? She must. I have not held you, yet, and it is painful for me not to be able to hold you, today. I pray for her heart and her empty arms. I pray for my heart and my empty arms. Mostly, I pray for you.

It's your big day! Will anyone even tell you? Will they mark this day as special or will it pass quietly by unnoticed by your caregivers?

Enough sadness for now. Today is a day of happiness! It is the last birthday you will spend apart from family and friends who love you dearly. You have survived when others have not. God found us for you and you for us and in one short month, you will know the love of a Mommy and Daddy for the first time in your life. We will hold you and love you and sing "Happy Birthday to you" our baby boy.

I pray that, today, we would be met with an extra measure of grace and compassion. You, me, your Dad and your other Mommy. We will all surely need it. I'm especially thankful that His strength is made perfect in our weakness, today.

I'm hopeful as I look forward to this next year and all the firsts we will have together. Not the least of which will be your next Birthday! Get ready, little man, we're going to throw a 5th Birthday Party like you wouldn't believe. We'll have 5 years of celebrating to catch up on.

Happy Birthday, Samuel. We love you!
Mommy, Daddy, Eli, Julie and Joseph.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Veggie Tales DVD's for Samuel's Birthday!

Update: No more Larry Boy! 6 Sheerluck Holmes left! Get yours now :)

I've gone back and forth with what to do about Samuel's birthday. He's turning 4 years old on the 21st. I wanted to do a giveaway, but know that I am bugging the life out of my friends and family with my giveaways :) So, when my friend, Rebecca, offered to donate some Veggie Tales DVD's for us to giveaway, I thought that was perfect!  If you make a donation of $8 or more, we'll send you your choice of one of the following Veggie Tale Movies:

If you give $15 or more, you can have both. When you chip-in, be sure you include a note with your mailing address. This is while supplies last, so make your donation, now. Think of it as buying a gift for Samuel (the gift of a family) and we're including a "Thank you" when you do!

All donations made through the chip-in are tax-deductible! This is a great chance to buy a few Christmas gifts for some little one's on your list. We all love Veggie Tales!


Monday, October 17, 2011

The cause of the orphan...

I believe that every generation needs a cause, something to fight for, a ground to lay claim to, a difference to make. Many generations before have fought for things like freedom from religious oppression, women's rights, civil rights and equality. I'd say that the fight rages on for these things even today. I see, in my generation, a terrible apathy towards things and people that don't affect us directly. I'm telling you God is calling us to more than our own little worlds. The cause I believe God has given this generation of believers is the one of the orphan. It's not going to bring us great acclaim to fight for these children. We may be the first generation that doesn't need to storm the streets with picket signs to win our battle.

We've always had orphans, every generation through the history of time has had parentless children living among them. What's different now? The staggering number of orphans, an estimated 147 million children are orphans, today. 5,000 plus will join their number tomorrow. Why should we care? First and foremost, because God cares and He has commanded us to care. How will we win this battle? We will pray and then we will rise up and do something for these children. Whether it be adopt or support a family who is adopting, or give to an orphanage or sponsor a child, we CAN change the world, one child at a time. We don't need to riot, we just need to quietly work toward a common goal...NO more orphans! It starts with you and I choosing to make a difference, declaring ONE LESS orphan at a time.

The enemy wins when we do nothing. The statistics say that when children age out of the system at 16 years old in Eastern Europe, 10-15% commit suicide before their 18th birthday. 60% of the girls turn to prostitution to survive and 70% of boys become hardened criminals. Do the math...147 million will turn into a lot of violence in the next generation, if we don't act with compassion, now.

Some of you are scoffing that I would even suggest that we as the body of Christ could end the orphan crisis, but another statistic says that if 7-8% of all professing Christians adopted, their would be no orphans left in the world. Aside from that number is the fact that with God ALL things are possible.

Will you join us in this cause? Will you be the difference in one child's life? 7-8% of the body of believers...that's not a lot. They are worth it.

"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me." Matthew 18:5

Let's welcome them together,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Forever Family Friday

Sweet Meredith...

It's no secret, we're in love with this little one at the Rhodes' house.

She's too precious for words...

She's turning 5 years old this month!

Will you join us in Celebrating Meredith's 5th birthday?

We have a giveaway going for her over on A Miracle for Meredith.

Will you be a part of Meredith's Miracle and help by giving, sharing, praying and helping to find Meredith's family?

Happy Birthday, Sweet Meredith.
Happy Birthday to You!

Making a wish for Meredith's family to find her.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Preparing to Meet Our Boys

As we book plane tickets and order winter coats that we'll need when we go to meet Samuel and Joseph, I can't help but wonder what God is doing to prepare the way for us. I believe that as children of God, He goes before us into every situation. Even now, He is preparing the hearts of Samuel and Joseph to meet two strangers, who don't speak or look like them. He is whispering to them about family and love and belonging. Most importantly, He is strengthening us and them for the time when we will leave them behind, again. I already feel a little weepy when I think about it. I have to ask that you would each pray for us. Pray that God will give us the grace and mercy we will need for the hardest part of this journey.

Not only does He go before us, but He is our rear-guard, our ever-present help, our constant companion and friend. I may need you to remind me in the up-coming weeks. As I prepare to leave the two most precious gifts that I have been entrusted with to date, Eli and Julianna. As we cross the ocean to meet two new little blessings. Two sons, who need us to come to them. Then, as we leave them behind and journey back home with empty arms for the long months in between the holding. Marty and I will need our family and friends like never before in the waiting. Will you promise to pray? Will you hold us up before the throne of grace and seek God's hand on our behalf? The hand of the one who will hold us together, when we feel the world closing in.

I haven't blogged in a bit, because these things are so heavy on my heart and mind. I'm in my Word and in prayer and communion with God, working on my heart, trying to find that place of peace and comfort that comes from Him. We have been under attack from the enemy. I have had things spoken to me in the past week that don't even bare repeating. Things that have laid me out on my face before the throne of God. He is continuing to reveal His plan and I am determined to live in such a way that brings Him glory.

Please, pray.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Forever Family Friday

It's Friday! YAY! My favorite day of the week, here on our blog! My friend, Brooke, decided this week to be a prayer warrior for baby Ryder from Reece's Rainbow. I thought, I would love to do my part for Ryder, too. We've been praying for him this week and I want to share him with you!

Isn't he cute? He is waiting for someone to bust him out! He's even wearing his stripes while he waits. Ryder was born in February of this year. He's a great age for a family to bring home and get him all those early childhood interventions and therapies that he won't get where he is now. If you want to learn more about this sweet boy, check out his Reece's Rainbow profile. His grant is at $0.00, which always makes me sad. Anyone want to help him out?

Let's share Ryder's picture and pray that a family comes to BUST him out this year!

Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...Do Something!

Hidden in Christ,

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Giveaway Winners!

All winners have been contacted with directions for how to claim their prizes. If you need further instruction, don't hesitate to email/message me. The winners are:

Prize #1 Hope M.
Prize #2 Tiffany C.
Prize #3 Dana S.
Prize #4 Daniell S.
Prize #5 Tonya B.
Prize #6 Gail W.
Prize #7 Rebecca H.
Prize #8 Dana S.
Prize #9 Shanna B.
Prize #10 Shelley B.

Thank you to everyone who gave, shared, donated, prayed, etc. All the winners were drawn by! I hope you all enjoy your prizes! It was nice to be able to give a little back to so many who have supported us along this journey! If you missed it earlier...We're going to meet the boys! We leave November 18th. Please, pray that God will prepare our hearts and theirs.


Travel Dates!!!

The email I found in my inbox this morning from Shelley had those two beautiful words in the memo box: Travel Dates!!! Can you believe it's finally here? We will be leaving to meet our sons on November 18th and will fly back home to Eli and Julie on December 3rd.

I feel like I might explode with excitement!!! I'm going to book tickets as soon as I'm done telling everyone I know that we are going to meet our sons!

Anybody feel like praising God with me?

Pray we get great rates on those tickets. Also, I know I need to announce winners and I promise to do that soon as my feet are back on the ground :)


Sunday, October 2, 2011

(Mostly) Made with Love Giveaway has ended...

Okay! It's going to take me a day or two to organize this drawing, because I need to check and see who earned entries by placing orders, sharing, giving, etc. Please, bear with me and I'll have the winners up by Wednesday at the latest. Hoping for sooner, but we'll see.

Just wanted to let you know I'm working on it :)


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Uncle Roy

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I'm going to share a lot of special people this month, but it seemed most appropriate to start by sharing my Uncle Roy with you. When I was a little girl and my parents would load us (me and my four sisters) in the family station-wagon and drive us five hours to my Grandma's house, one of the things I looked forward to most was seeing my Uncle Roy. Uncle Roy is one of the most fun people I know. He always had time to play and he told us all about how he would be a lawyer when he grew up. Uncle Roy was probably well into his twenty's, but I didn't know he wasn't going to be a lawyer or that he was already a grown-up. I'm writing about Uncle Roy, because he sports that extra special Chromosome. He was the first person I knew and loved with Down Syndrome. He's a large part of the reason we're on this journey, today.
This is Uncle Roy when we visited with him this past December. This picture reminds me of one of my favorite things about Uncle Roy, he's passionate about everything he loves! He loves the Tarheels and the Carolina Panthers and JESUS! I don't know anyone else who shares Jesus with the abandon that Uncle Roy does. He lives to tell people that Jesus loves them and God is Lord! He sits on the front row of his church and worships with everything he has. He just LOVES, plain and simple. He gives the biggest hugs (you have to remind him that you'd like to breath, again, at some point). When we were kids he'd tickle us until we thought we were going to pass out and a grown-up would finally intervene. He's just fun!

Uncle Roy's not as playful as he was when I was a kid, but he still loves kids. He enjoys just hanging out with my kids when we visit and they look forward to seeing him.
 Eli is playing a computer game while Uncle Roy splits his time between watching Eli and watching the ball game.
Here's Julie and Eli getting one of those big hugs. Uncle Roy gave them cards with a little bit of money in them. He knows how to give good gifts. He's generous to a fault and my Grandma (his Mom) has to reign him in sometimes.

Speaking of my Grandma, she is one amazing lady. Without her, our family would have missed the blessing that is Uncle Roy. 50 plus years ago, when Uncle Roy made his entry into our world, the doctor's wanted my Grandma to put him into an institution. They told her he would not live past age 2 (I'm sure he wouldn't have in an institution). She told them she was taking her son home. You see, Uncle Roy is the youngest brother to 7 older brothers and sisters. Grandma knew and shared with the doctor that the best thing for any child was to be loved and they certainly had enough love for Roy. So, she took him home. The entire family loved him, nurtured him and watched him grow into a young man who achieved so much more than those doctor's ever dreamed for him. Uncle Roy graduated high school and worked bagging groceries at the local grocery store for awhile. He reads some and studies his Word and just gives so much to the world by simply being who he is.

What would she have missed? What could we have missed? My heart can't even think about it. People with Down Syndrome are a blessing; a blessing that every family deserves! I couldn't think of a better way to start Down Syndrome Awareness Month, than to share the person who started our family's love of people with Down Syndrome. Uncle Roy will leave a legacy of love when he leaves this world (which will be a long time from now). He will leave that legacy in my sons, Joseph and Samuel, who are coming home because we know the JOY that comes from loving someone with Down Syndrome. Uncle Roy has changed the world and I hate to think how different the world would have been without him...

Thanks for letting me share my heart and my Uncle Roy with you! I hope you were blessed by who he is and by the love we have for him. I enjoyed sharing.

In the words of another young man with down syndrome: "Live Life Big...Love Someone with Down Syndrome!" Your life will never be the same.