Monday, January 31, 2011

One Day - One Lunch

A very small and easy challenge.  One of the blogs I follow advocated for this.  Her 15 year old daughter came up with this plan that on February 3rd for people to go with no lunch and donate what it would have cost them to eat lunch.  She asks that it be donated to
Online donations:

**indicate for the Adami Tulu Preschool.

Mail checks to:

Lifesong for Orphans

PO Box 40

Gridley, IL 61744

For the Adami Tulu Preschool

This 15 year old girl visited this preschool 100 days ago and received a small bowl of soup and a piece of bread for lunch, the only meal these children would receive that day through the feeding program that Lifesong provides in that community. 
Lets help this 15 year old make a difference.  Lets stand with her.  Lets donate with her.  This is such a small sacrifice that it shouldn't even qualify as a sacrifice.  So, on February 3rd, skip lunch and Donate here.

Hodge Podge

Life is CRAZY, but GREAT!!!!!!!  Some days I don't know what direction I am going. Physically and mentally crazy days are my life.  We awake early and I go to bed late.  I  never thought I would be one to let the laundry pile up, but hey, you do what you gotta do.  I have learned, though not fast enough, to "LET IT GO."  I cannot sweep everyday, mop everyday, and love on my kids all at the same time.  That is where I have gone wrong all along.  Little by little I am changing my ways, and I think last week, for me, was a huge revelation. 

1.  We will complete school (we always do this anyways).
2. We will play
3. We will do chores together.

I will no more do everything myself just because it is easier and I can do it better than they.  I have always had them do some things, but they will be doing more now.  We will make it fun, and I will just have to get used to it not being up to my standards like I did it.  They will never learn, if I don't teach, and they do.  It is a proven fact that people learn better by doing than just talking about it or reading about it. 
By changing to this philosophy they will have my attention all day long, even while working around the house.  I will update about the progress of these new rules as I see results, one way or the other.
We had a wonderful weekend.  The weather was incredible.  The kids were completely and totally ecstatic to play OUTSIDE!!!!  Friday they played all afternoon.  Saturday Olivia got to spend some one on one time with Mammaw and went with her to Clarksville to a baby shower, played with some friends, saw Nana, Brittany, and Baby Kaden.  She had a blast.  Logan got to spend the day with Pappaw all day long by himself.  He was LOVIN it!!!  They went to the store, worked outside, and wrestled in the grass.  David and I took Carson and Leia in the stroller and went for a Saturday morning jog.  It was sooo nice.  The kids loved it too.  I got to love on my little Asian Prince and Princess all day.  They were lovin it too.  We took them to get burgers for lunch and they were such quiet little angels.  It was almost as if they were invisible they were so quiet and good.  Makes a Mommy and Daddy so happy!!!
Then yesterday was Grandma's birthday celebration.  Mammaw made a scrumptious lunch and very yummy dessert.  The kids, Daddy, and Pappaw napped while Mammaw and I cooked for our Sunday night get together after church, and then Grandma and I crafted some.  It was one of those Sunday afternoons that was packed full of memories.  The kind that you don't realize as a child are so precious, but later as an adult you are so glad that you have them.
 Logan & Olivia playing with Scarlett
My methodical child is in DEEP thought
 Carson, my radio flyer man
 Playing Chase
 Mom, "I'm getting too big for this bike."
 Some sweet Leia kisses
 Mommy and Leia
Carson & Leia having some play time without Big Bro or Big  Sis
 Learning early about purses
 Mom, "Look at me."
 My little vogue model
 There is my girl.
 Liv, Sunday morning
 Carson, poking his head around the seat
 Our handsome driver
 All Done, ready for DESSERT
 Great Grandma
 Carson ready for dessert, and Logan never finishes so no dessert
 Pappaw, the ice cream scooper
 Mammaw and Olivia
 Grandma and Olivia
 Is He Shrinking???
 David thought he would be the photographer...
Sunday afternoon cooking for our Sunday night get together
Baking Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins and
Cranberry Orange Streusal Muffins

Thursday, January 27, 2011

All Alone

A friend of mine shared this link on facebook today and I wanted to share it with you as well.  My mind thinks about the orphans who are left behind everyday.  People think someone will adopt them, when in the end they age out and will never have anyone.  They are turned to the streets on their own with the clothes that are on their back.  Most of the girls will go into prostitution to make their way in the world and the boys usually get into drug dealing, or they simply starve to death.  To read more from this writer you can follow her blog here and see the post from today.  I did copy todays's post from Amu Eldridge and it is below.  But you can go to her blog to read more heart-wrenching stories from her.

When many people think of an orphanage, I think they often envision babies and toddlers. I used to be one of those people myself. On my many trips to China, however, I began meeting and falling in love with the older children who have grown up in institutions, many who never had any true chance of finding a permanent home. Their faces and stories are in my heart forever now, and sadly many of my memories of these great kids involve tears. Tears from Jenny, who broke down on her 14th birthday when she realized that she had aged out of the adoption system without being chosen. The final realization that she would never know what it meant to have a mom or dad of her own caused her to fall into a deep depression. Tears from Lily, a 17-year-old girl whom I had given my jacket after she admired it. When she refused to accept it initially, I put my hand on her shoulder and said, “But of course you have to take it because you are like family to me.” And it was at that one word, “family,” that this normally stoic young lady broke down and sobbed uncontrollably, as it is the one thing that she longed for.

By far, however, the most emotional moment of my time in China came one night when I was able to meet with a group of older orphaned teens I had watched grow up over a five year period. Every time I would visit their orphanage, I would enjoy getting to know them more. They all seemed so close, such good friends, and they always had smiles for me when I arrived. That night, however, was a night when the kids finally let their guard down. It was a night of real conversation and sharing what it means to grow up as an orphan. Toward the end of the evening we were all in tears. Afterwards, one of the older boys stayed to talk with me privately. I am hesitant to even write of it now as it was such a deeply personal and emotionally raw conversation. I will share, however, that he told me that growing up without a mother or father “hurts more than death.” Children aren’t supposed to raise themselves. They are not supposed to grow up alone, which I know sounds impossible when you are growing up in a crowded orphanage. The reality, though, is that hundreds of thousands of orphaned children feel utterly and completely ALONE. I held this incredible and wonderful teen in my arms as he sobbed about how much he wanted a mom, and I can’t think of it now without great pain.

Why was I given the opportunity to be born into a family who could take care of me, while millions of children are born into situations so sad and filled with hurt that many people don’t even want to hear their stories? I have struggled with that question for years with no answers. But I do know that all of us who have been blessed to know what a family really is should make every effort possible to help those who are orphaned. If not us, then who?

The theme song for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was a song called “You and Me.” It has been sung to me by children in orphanages many times, and it always makes me cry. The words haunt me… especially for the older children who have grown up feeling so alone: “Put your hand in mine. You and me, from one world. We are family.”

How I wish those words were true in every person’s heart. How I wish everyone believed that we need to treat people as family and share our ever shrinking world. What a wonderful place this would be if every adult took the hand of a child in need and didn’t let go. To all of the older orphaned children who have aged out of the possibility of ever finding a family, I send my heartfelt prayers. You are not forgotten. And we will continue doing our very best to help in every way possible.

Amy Eldridge is the Executive Director of Love Without Boundaries.

Love Without Boundaries proudly advocates for adoption but is not an adoption agency. We invite you to contact with questions about a child we have featured and encourage you to contact your local adoption agency for more information about China’s Waiting Child Program.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Others Follow Him


I have been following a blog for a while now. This family is amazing. They have 4 biological children and 5 adopted children and she homeschools, I believe. After I read her post today, I had dejavu. It was amazing. Some of the exact same things she wrote and has experience have happened to us during the past year as well, and I wanted to share with you what she wrote. You can read her blog post here. If you feel as strongly about spreading the Gospel, serving the poor, widows, and orphans, teaching to all nations, and simply doing what God has commanded us, then please drop by her blog and leave her an encouraging word. I know she would love to hear positive words and know that people around the world are praying for her family.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Planning A Reunion

I cannot believe the time has come to plan a His Hands reunion.  This time last year we were waiting for court decrees and this year we are waiting to meet all of our His Hands family that was such a major support line during the wait and even now that we are home.
I am so excited to finally meet our His Hands Family face to face.  We have all spent hours on the phone and facebook and feel like we have known each other a lifetime.  Lord-willing, we will all get to meet in July in Kansas City, MO.  There will babies and children galore, what a glorious sight that will be.  And some are soon to be adding to their families again.  I love it!!!!!
We are hoping that Holly and Trena, both, or at least one will get to come too.  It would be so wonderful for them to see all "their" babies happy and loved.  I know it would melt their hearts to see the joy their efforts brings to so many families.  An adoption has so many ups and downs, and so many emotions.  But, I think this reunion will be nothing but love and happiness.  I want to love on all those babies. 

Another reunion of sorts.........
We finally booked our tickets to return to Costa Rica in May.  It will be so wonderful to see all those that we met when we were there in July.  The people we met at the river have been asking about us and praying for our return.  We found out through, Kathia, our contact in Costa Rica that some of their homes were washed away multiple times during the rainy season.  The land that their homes are squatted on has now been purchased by someone and it not owned by the electric company.  These families do not know what they will do if they are forced to leave or forced to pay for where their homes are squatted.  When it was under ownership of the electric company, they only had to pay for their utilities.  And, even then, they were barely able to survive.  Please pray for these families and that God will see them through the road ahead and whatever they may be faced with.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Adoption Auction

Help TWO orphans come home to their forever family.  This amazing family is opening their home and hearts to not one but TWO orphans from Ethiopia.  I met Jen through Blog World and facebook over a year ago.  At the time they were looking to adopt from Taiwan, and then God redirected their path to Africa.  Amazing!!!  Right now they are logged in and waiting for referrals, I do believe.  I know their dossier is done.  They have currently raised about $2500.00 in funds for their adoption and still need roughly $25,000.00 more to bring their children home.  They have two biological children, a boy and a girl.  They will grow from a family of 4 to a family of 6.
Jen and Trevor will be hosting an online Adoption Auction at the end of January.  She has been posting sneak peaks, and let me tell you I am so excited for it to start.  She has received some amazing items from people.  Check out their blog here.  And support them by adding their Adoption Auction button to your blog. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Costa Rica 2011

It seems like forever since I have talked about Costa Rica.  We still do not know what God has in store for us.  We just continue to daily pray for His guidance with what he wants for our lives.  To the present, our house has not sold and we have only had two couples look at it.  What does this mean? I think David and I ask ourselves this daily.  Does it mean we are to not go anywhere?  We both do not think that is the case, or why at the same time did David and I both come to the same conclusion that we were supposed to serve him in another country alongside the poor???  So, I am constantly reminding myself that is not why it has not sold.  Are we simply not ready for this life change event??  Good definitely be it!  Are we supposed to find some other destination?  Does God want us to be somewhere else other than Costa Rica?  I ask daily, and I still do not know these answers.  All I can do is pray and prepare myself for what He has in store for my life.  For those of you who personally know we....THIS IS SO DIFFICULT.  I like a plan.  I consider myself to be organized.  It is something I am constantly working through.  I want to paint the living room and dining room.  We have lived in this house 4 years and the kids have left some of their marks.  David says, "No, we are selling."  At this point my response is, "We are selling, It is not sold yet."  I say this thinking it may not sell for years and I don't want to put my life on hold.  Just FYI, the compromise if it hasn't sold by May, then I can paint.  A fresh coat of neutral paint can't hurt anyways.  I am earnestly trying.  I am trying to go on living.  I am constantly trying to live today and not think about tomorrow.  And, maybe, that is God's goal for me to live today and not try and live tomorrow before tomorrow even arrives. 
All that said....we are planning a trip to Costa Rica in May.  David has been watching flight prices for months.  He has checked every day from now til next January and the first 2 weeks of May are the cheapest time for us to go.  The rest of the year, the tickets are out of this world expensive...when you are taking 2 children along with you too.  We plan, Lord-willing, to purchase our tickets next week.  We are taking Olivia and Logan along with us this time, and my mother is planning on coming with us as well.  At this point, those are the only definite people I know are traveling with us.  Others are still discussing if they will be able to accompany us. 
I have been in contact with Kathia.  She has been down to the river where we helped and served to the poor there.  She told me last week that several have asked about all of us that were there and have even prayed that we may be able to return.  I loved hearing this.  I cannot wait to see those precious people again.  She and I are going to be in contact with one another until we travel coming up with projects for us to do while we are there.  She is so excited about us coming, and we are super excited about traveling there again.  We are so thankful to her and her husband Jason for all the help they have been to us.  We are hoping to stay in the Atenas area this time and not do near as much traveling as we did last time.  This should free our time so that we are able to accomplish so much more than we did last time.  And, last time was wonderful. 
I need your help.  We want to be able to serve and minister to the needs of even more people this time. There are several ways that you can help us.  You can visit Footprints of Charity and simply make a donation, you can purchase a cookbook or t-shirt from the Footprints of Charity Store, you can visit mine and my mother's store Making Footprints and purchase some our handmade jewelry.  I will be in contact with Kathia about the projects that we are going to be doing while we are there and will let you know if there are tangible items that you may donate as well.  It is harder for us to take these things, because the airlines charge you extra for more bags and they have to go through customs.  If anyone has anything they would like to donate to our yard sale that I will be having at the end of February or beginning of March just get in contact with me here.  If you are donating items for the yard sale, the money from the yard sale will be used for our expenses on the trip and not for our service in Costa Rica (just wanted anyone to know that).  If you have any other fundraising ideas or tips, please share.
I don't know what the future holds for us, but please pray for us and that God will show us the direction we are to go.

Snow Daze

Here are some shots from our Big Snow that we had.  The kids were so excited.  This was the biggest snow that I can remember since I was a child.  We got a whopping 8inches at our house.  It started snowing Sunday and we still have lots of inches in our yard.  Our yard is still covered.  It isn't quite powdery anymore, now it is a bit crunchy. 
Hope you can see how much the kids enjoyed themselves, along with their Daddy.  He tried his hand at some red-neck Snowboarding.  I will say it was quite the little show he gave us and the neighbors.  Hope you are having a wonderful winter and enjoying the beauty and quietness of it.  I am crazy, some would say, but I love winter.  I love the blazing fires, snuggles on the couch, and sipping hot cocoa.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tax Returns and The Orphan

So, it is that time of year.  You either dread tax season because you owe the government money or you look forward to it because the government will be sending you money.  Hopefully, it is the second reason.  I know so many people who have their tax money spent before they even get it.  One might have a vacation planned, a new car they are going to purchase, a shopping trip for lots of new clothes, and the list could go on. 
But, just think that money could bring an orphan to a forever family.  You say, but I need that money.  Do you?  Or do you just want that money?  Do you want to hoard it in the bank or buy things that you don't really need?  I don't know what your story is, only you and God know your heart. 
If you are thinking about adopting, what better time than when you get that tax return.  It is enough to get you started.  God can handle it.  If it is God's will, then the funds will be there when you need them.  I have heard more people say that they would adopt if they had the money, or they don't want to start until they have more money in the bank?  Really?  You are leaving faith behind when you think like that.  I can honestly say when we started the process to adopt from Vietnam, we did not have a dime saved for it.  People told us we would never be able to do it.  We would never be able to raise the thousands of dollars that would be needed.  And I am hear to tell you that not only did God provide the funds once but twice for us.  He funded two adoptions, two orphans, two of my miracles. 
If we had said, we can't start until we have more money in the bank, then I might not have 4 children right now.  You have to Let Go and Let God!!!
Maybe you can't adopt, but you can help someone else bring an orphan home.  We can't change the world, but we can change the world for an orphan and we can do it one at a time.  So, help me spread the word and make it ONE LESS.  I personally know lots of families who are in various stages of the adoption
process, and if you would like to help, please email me at
For those who do not know this, there is a $13,109 tax credit for adoptions.  That is a federal credit, and whatever state you may live in may have a tax credit as well.  Oklahoma, I believe, has a $20,000 credit.  Wow that would pay for an adoption!!  Children From All Nations just launched an Ugandan Adoption program that costs $13,000 plus your travel expenses.  When you take your credits off you have basically brought a child home for almost nothing.  Please, don't let the money stop you from What God has called us to do.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Partying Is Still Not Over

So, Christmas has come and gone, and with that brings more birthdays in our house.  Logan's birthday was last Wednesday and Olivia's is tomorrow.  We had a combo birthday celebration for them on Saturday.  Last Wednesday Mammaw and I took the kids to Chik Fil A, Logan's choice for his day and today we did Olivia's birthday lunch, and she chose the same place.  It is the never ending party season around here.  And poor Carson just can't hardly understand why everyone else is getting more gifts and not him.  I think he is understanding a little more, but we broke down and gave him a little gift so he wouldn't feel totally left out.  That is kind of hard on a toddler to understand. 
We didn't have a kid party this year.  It was quiet, simple, and the kids still had a blast.  And, Mama slacked this year and did not make their cakes.  Hey, what can I say...I needed a break.  They had a blast going top Krogers last week and picking out (what I thought were their cheesy cakes) their cakes.  Logan chose "Cars" and Olivia chose "Barbie." 

You are a boy always on a mission and sometimes, well a lot of the time, have to be redirected on a better one.  You keep Mama and Daddy on our toes pretty much all the time.  But I love you still, and as I always tell you, "I love you to the moon and back and more."  I cannot believe that 4 years ago I was sitting in a hospital trying to keep myself together because you were in the NICU.  I was doing fine until they told me I couldn't hold you and they even discouraged me from touching you.  I sat by your incubator, stared, prayed, and watch over you.  They finally gave in the next day and let me hold you.  You were so tiny.  I am so thankful your stay was short and you finally joined us at home 9 days later.  It was the longest 9 days.  You have your moments of pure innocent sweetness and the other times you are ALL BOY!!  But, we love you still.  God has given me 4 years to be your mother and I pray that I am given many more.  I love you!!

I look at you and wonder where has the time gone.  You have started school this year and are no longer that little baby girl.  It makes me so sad to see those years gone.  I am so thankful you are still as snuggly as you were when you were a baby, because I would be heartbroken if you weren't.  I love the times you randomlly come give me a hug and kiss.  I live on those moments.  You are an amazing big sister and so generous and thoughtful.  You are very much a Daddy's girl too.  You will be 6 tomorrow as much as I wish it weren't so.  You will always be my baby girl to me.  I love you so much and pray you have an amazing Christian life ahead of you.  When I look at pictures of you it sinks in that you are a girl now and not a baby; you are a beautiful little girl.  I pray God blesses me with many more years to be your mother.  I will love you for always, I will love you forever.

Happy Birthday!!!!!!