Friday, April 30, 2010

Mother's Day Ideas

Since I shared the idea of the very special necklace, I wanted to share some more great ideas in case any of you out there were struggling!  I think Mother's Day should be once a quarter.  I do.  And no apologies!  Anyway... here are some fun things to consider that are my FAVORITES!

Joanna, at does an AMAZING job with the personalized sterling silver stamped disk.  I just got my "Brenda" disk in the mail yesterday and it totally rocks!  You can have yours made with only the disk (how I wear mine), with your child's birthstone, or with the pearl, peridot, and sterling silver beads (represents God, life, and parents)!  She can even wrap it and mail it directly where you need it sent!  This is a GREAT idea for grandmother's on Mother's Day, too, with the grand kid's names... several names can fit on one disk!  $30 with sterling silver chain 

This is my totally favorite magazine right now!  My man brought one home for me a couple weeks ago that some one had left on the airplane (lucky me!).  It is full of  WONDERFUL, SIMPLE, AND YUMMY recipes.  I have made tomato soup twice from a recipe in there and it totally ROCKS!  It tastes so good and clean too!  It has great ideas for healthy and clean living.  Did I mention I love it?  AND...when you give a magazine subscription, the gift gives itself over and over and over again!  My mom gave me two for Christmas and I get that gift each month!  I love it!  Find the magazine here and give a great gift for a YEAR for just $10!!!!!

Along the lines of whole and healthy living, has some super yummy stuff for your face and body!  This way delish body scrub is just $4.25!  Can't you just smell it now!? 

And since that is SO affordable, add the spa facial party kit to that order for just $26.00! 
Her entire site is FULL of wonderful products... check her out!
Now you need some tunes to go with your new bathroom spa and so I give you, "Consumed" by Jesus Culture.  You can listen to it and see it and of course get it at  The passion this group shares every time they worship God in music just moves me to great worship myself!  I love them.  The words are amazing as is their heart for the Lord.  The album album is their newest and is $19.

Last but not least...

These beautiful necklaces are made by women in Uganda from recycled magazines.  Yeah.  And because they have been taught to make these, people buy them and the women are able to feed their children.  Yeah.  Way cool.  I have some strands I got at a fundraiser for "Children's Hope Chest" and I love them.  Every time I wear them, I think of the woman's hands who made them, the child she feeds by making them, I pray, and I am inspired.  You can get some here
for just $18 a strand.

I hope this helped.  Get busy.  It will be here before you know it!
Hugs to you.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Some fun stuff too

My friend, Erica, is a really cool cat and she is offering a free makeover room design on her blog!  Check it out at and have some fun!  Go to the bottom of her page, hit "home" and then you will see the "Giveaway" post.  She is pretty talented and has some great ideas on there too.  The catch is... her giveaway ends tomorrow so you got to go check her out TODAY!    Please also mention in your entry that you were sent to her blog by me!   Have fun and good luck!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Something More Than You and Me

My heart is tugged by so many issues.  And there are... so... many... issues... that need Christian's attention, prayers, and help.  I know I can not save the world.  But I also know that I can get comfy in life and forget about the real reason I am here... why I am given breath each day.  And sadly, it's not so I can just decorate, soak up some sun, plant veggies and flowers, and raise my children (the last being the most important of those listed for sure and very important indeed!), but it is to be a servant of the Lord... to be His hands and feet.  Christ lives in me as a christian and I am supposed to be his vessel.  How often I can get tricked into thinking life is supposed to be cozy, calm, and safe.  This is one of the enemies best tools against the work of the Lord... distraction.

So I am posting about something today that infuriates me, saddens me, and ignites my passions.  And I feel God wants me to share it.  If one person is moved to think about it, pray about it, or move to help fight against it... then the enemy will lose that fight.

Children's Hope Chest is an organization I am just getting familiar with and God has given me a vision of how to bring it to our missions at church.  We'll see what happens there but I want to ask you to read this.  Are you shocked?  Do you know that the Atlanta airport is the number one hub for transporting these girls in the United States?  Can you really grasp how HUGE a problem this is?  Do you know that the percentage of girls who age out of orphanages and fall into this "life"/"death" is very very large?  Now can you commit to praying about it? 

Everytime you think of Abby, think to pray for her, remember she is from an orphanage... and pray for these girls.  Call off the darkness that surrounds these girls and pray for God to send HIS mighty angels to break them free.  Pray that ONE trafficker will be convicted by someone, something, by GOD HIMSELF and stop doing what he is doing.  Pray that ONE girl will be prompted by the Holy Spirit not to fall for the trap placed before her and that she will listen.  Pray that ONE patron will be pricked to the core and let his girl go without harm.  Specific prayer is powerful and so is praying directly against the darkness and evil, in the authority of God himself.

 Want to get/buy a Mother's Day gift that makes a difference in one of these girl's life!?  Click the above link and see what the purchase of this beautiful handmade necklace can do for someone else!

I know this is not a cute post.  There are no cute pictures.  There are no funny phrases.  Just something real and outside ourselves.  Something real that needs us... every one of us!  Please pray.  

Monday, April 26, 2010

In the mail

Our INS application was mailed in today... along with 50 other million documents! (application, homestudy, and copies of every certificate known to man... AND a signed letter stating those copies to be real and true!)  It just racks my brain every time I get ready to mail something like that!  One "t" not crossed or "i" dotted just right and the whole thing gets kicked out, sent back, and you start over!  SOOOO, it was prayed over and we are laying it at the foot of our Lord... it is now in His hands!  Whewww... don't I feel better now.

We had one of the best Sundays ever yesterday.  We treasure Sundays as the Lord's day and family day.

Worship was amazing and the Holy Spirit was on fire.  The message became passionate and people's hearts were touched!  It was so powerful and wonderful.  I was full of joy for hours.

We then went to this great new restaurant, "Fork in the Road", that's owned by the brother of someone at our church... and a fourth of our church was there!  Now that is just fun.

We came home, Don and I holed up in the room for an hour, and talked about a million things while the kids watched a movie.  THIS is going to have to become a new tradition.  It was great to be uninterupted and actually get to talk!

Then the movie was over, the kids all camped outside the door, and so we went off to "Rita's" on the golf cart (with the dog).  The weather was perfect and Rita's is always perfect (Italian ice in way yummified flavors with custard down the middle and on top!)

We then went back home and got ready to head to the tennis courts for some family fun.  Brenda and I scouted out the grounds near our neighborhood tennis courts and found 4 lonley tennis balls left on the outskirts of the fence!  We were very proud.  It was like hunting for Easter eggs!

We hit the tennis courts and played as a family.  Abby and Brenda both are learning to hit the ball.  They were so cute and tried so hard.  When they made contact, there were big smiles.  I love those kind of smiles!Marc just scooted an old ball around and we all tried not to hit him! 

I found myself looking around, on the courts, at our family.  Laughing.  Playing.  Learning.  Loving.  Enjoying the sunshine and enjoying each other.  I walked over and kissed my husband over the net.  When I was a child, this would have been one of my favorite days ever.  As a wife and mommy, it still was!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rain on my window...

It's raining, thunder is rolling, skies are gray, wind is blowing, and birds are feasting at our window.  We are all still in pajamas.  And I just became a hero.  I brought play dough down from the game closet.  I love it when something so simple evokes such joy from little ones!

Daddy comes home today.  I can't wait to hug him, smell him, and hear all about his man trip.  Maybe he'll share pictures with me and I then can share some with you!

Be blessed today.  So much love to you...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Friday

Well, since NOONE has commented on my chipmunk story, I am left to think you are all offended at my attitude toward the cat! HA  Oh well, can't be perfect, I have and continue to SOOOO learn that!  (and I am just kidding)

Don is on a very special trip with his two best friends.  They are in Florida, with his brother, riding the river, catching and frying fish, sleeping under the stars, and exploring underground caves! It's a man trip!  It is a celebration trip for Don's big birthday year this year and I am so glad he is sharing with two men God has placed in his life... and his brother. 

True friendship among men is a very special thing.  Actually, it's a very precious thing among women too.  But men can be guarded and walled off around other men.  They can be unemotional and somewhat detached.  Whenever something is wrong with Abby, these men rally around my husband in a way that has moved me to tears.  We can be driving to the hospital and they will be texting him with prayers, words of encouragment, and simply... brotherly love.  It touches me deeply.  They have man meetings and discuss life things and work things and God things.  They should have a club house!  Wait... actually, they do, it's Starbucks!

Another amazing thing is what they have in common.  All of them have lost their earthly fathers.  Each of them carries that hole... that loss.  But all of them also seek and draw close to their heavenly Father.  All of them cherish and prioritize their families.  All of them are amazing devoted fathers to their children.  All of them are wonderful husbands to the women God has placed in their life.  All of them have little boy hearts.  All of them have large responsibilities.  All of them love the great outdoors.  All of them fly.  And all of them possess great integrity.

I am so happy for them this week/weekend.  And I pray God covers them with His hand, showers them with His presence, and bonds them closer together than ever before! 

Speaking of birthdays, TODAY is my precious sister's birthday.  Oh how I love Cynthia.  She makes me laugh... I love laughing with her.  I love her sense of humor.  I love her little girl heart.  I love her big girl dreams.  I love her smile and I simply adore to hear her laugh.  I love the way Abby loves her.  I love the way she loves my children.  I love the way she loves animals.  I love, love, love her...deeply.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRECIOUS NEENER!  I am so thankful God gave you to me as a sister!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chipmunk Rescue

Hopefully, I do not have to remind you of my PASSIONATE love for animals.  Tuesday was a very traumatic day for a baby chipmunk in my back yard and of course, I had to come to the rescue!
We had just had a WONDERFUL play date at a friend's house.  I walked inside my kitchen and glanced out the window to see the neighbor's cat in our backyard "sitting" in the grass in the sun.  The cat is always in our back yard and so I just thought, "Aw... how sweet" and went on with my business. 

WELL!  Just moments later, as I walked by the kitchen window again, something caught my eye and I flew to the window for a better look.  There was this tiny little thing... crawling, so slowly, away from the cat as it just sat there and watched.  Then it hit me!  "Oh ---- NO!"  I yelled.  Yes.  It was a reference to the bad place.  I then RAN outside and across my yard to see that the little thing was a tiny little baby chipmunk and the FURY boiled inside of me as I envisioned this cat tormenting it in my back yard for who knows how long!  I grabbed the cat by the scruff of the neck and "gently" tossed it over the fence back into it's yard and started yelling for my husband (my hero).  The cat was trying to make his way back into my yard and I was trying to figure out how to get this little baby to safety.  My man came out and helped me keep the cat at bay (and the dog who was now hopping all around the yard thinking it was playtime).  "Get it!" my husband proclaimed, as it started heading right for the fence where it's attacker was waiting on the other side.  The poor thing was sopping wet where the cat had been licking it and had a little scratch under it's left eye.  It was trying so hard to get away.  "What if it bites me?" I yell back.  "It's a baby, it won't bite you!"  So... I gently grabbed it right as it headed into the yard of the killer!

My heart was pounding.  The poor little thing was trembling in my hands and so I pulled it close and started talking to it, soothing it, and petting it.  (probably terrifying it all the more)  I headed to the house... trying to figure out where to put it.  When I got into the kitchen, the girls were all about this precious thing and, of course, wanted to pet it.  I let them pet it's head and I guess it was too much stimulation and so it chomped down on my finger!  What did you say about baby chipmunks not biting!  Man it hurt!  It chomped down... held it for about 4 seconds (seemed like about 20) and then let go.  "AWWWW... it bit me!"  "Get it outside!" replies my man.  Yeah... both hands on the munk... need some help here with the door!  :0)

So my man opens the door to the garage and helps me get the tiny little treasure into a box.  My finger is dripping blood pretty good... Abby is wailing in the kitchen because she thinks I am hurt (I was), and Brenda is wanting to know what's going on and where are we going!  No time for translation here!

Don and I get on the golf cart and head to some woods to let our baby go.  "Can we keep him?" I ask several times.  "No," Don replies.  "Please, can we keep him, he's hurt, he's a baby, he needs us."  "No.  He's wild."

My mind calmed down and I realize he would be very unhappy living in a box or cage.  So I stopped asking.  We found a spot and let him go and the poor thing wobbled off.  We stayed with him for about ten minutes, trying to get him to go into the woods.  He was heading in the direction of a road and so I had to stop him.  I couldn't save him to just have him smashed by a car!  So I was petting him (he was so tired) and telling him he was ok and how precious he was and he buried his little head into some straw... I thought I was going to cry.  I got him turned around and he ran up into the woods.  My precious husband, who was so patient and loving with me through my rescue efforts, was now ready for us to leave.

Back at the house I worried about that thing for hours.  I wasn't even the least bit mad he bit me.  I prayed for him about every five minutes.  Then when it was time to make dinner, I couldn't concentrate and so I piled the kids into the golf cart to go and see if I could see him.  "What if his little home was in our backyard and I drug him off to some random woods and what if he was trying to make his way back!  What if a hawk got him!  What if he wandered into another yard, all weak, and was gotten by someone else's PET!"  It was driving me crazy.

God is SO SWEET!  He knows my heart (He gave it to me) and He gave me the sweetest gift.  We went back to the spot where we left him and there he was, all dried out, MUCH more stable, and digging around for food.  I was so happy I almost cried again.  As we watched him, he saw us and scurried up a little hill.  He was only a tad bit wobbly.... so much better!  So we watched him as long as we could.  The kids ooooeed and awwwed and we said another prayer for his protection through the night and for complete healing.

I was then able to make dinner.  And I said about another ten prayers for him as I went to sleep.  Everytime I pass that spot, I look for him, but he is not there anymore.  I am SURE he has found a new safe place and is almost back to normal.

I have decided the cat can not be in my yard anymore and have vowed to run him off with the water hose anytime I see him there.  So far it's been twice.  This was his second offense in my backyard as I saved a beautiful blue lizard from him just five or six nights before.  He also scares off my birds and we just had our first hummingbird.  I try to make our yard a sanctuary for God's precious creatures and so the cat is going to have to be a cat somewhere else!

Note:  the cat was not harmed when he was "gently" tossed over the fence! :0)

I feel a tad bit bad as I like this cat, and I don't like cats!  I have wrapped this cat in a blanket when it was snowing, fed it when it was way skinny, held it and loved on it (and I don't like cats) and have been amazed that I like it.  AND I know he is just being a cat... as God created him.  BUTTTTTTT- He can't be a cat in my back yard anymore!

I was thinking that night, about all the animals I have rescued... many turtles, several birds, a baby chicken, lizards, bees and wasps (from the screen porch) lots of bugs, and now a chipmunk!  I had a vision of me getting to heaven and getting my little cottage... and there in my back yard, will be all the animals I have loved and rescued... given back to me by my loving Father.  And my dogs will be there too.  It made me smile and feel so much happiness and warmth.  I can't wait to keep adding to my collection!

Note:  My mom pointed out to me that animals very well could be in heaven... The Lord does return on a horse!  I believed it all along.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hello Again

I am SO SORRY for the hassle of having to go private!  It kinda bums me out as my blog has been a ministry tool for years... BUT when your child is hurt and you feel that violation... and are partly responsible... then you do what you have to do!

I am also sorry you have to "log in" now and had to set up a google account but it REALLY MEANS SO MUCH to me that you all care so much about my family and are willing to do that extra step!

Brenda has a teacher... yes, a teacher, who took several posts and twisted them into lies to cause Brenda pain and confusion.  She emailed her a message talking about how crazy we were and how mad we were about certain things.  This is the same person who was talking bad about adoption and people who adopt and was causing Brenda confusion and stress once she went back to Latvia after her first visit. 

But what the enemy intended for pain and confusion, GOD turned into an opportunity of major bonding between us!  After I DRUG out of her why she was crying, I brought her to the computer and read each of the posts with her... so she could see the truth for herself.  The lice story brought her to tears when I read how I felt love for her that very first day and she laid her head on my shoulder and cried and held me... it was very precious.  After we read all the posts, I had a long talk with her about people in her life that have hurt her, lied to her, broken her heart, damaged her trust and then vowed to her that Don and I will never lie to her and that she does not have to worry about us manipulating her.  We talked about how God was in control and has amazing plans for her.  I asked her if she knew about the "bad one" who was opposite of God and she said "yes".  I then explained how the bad one was not pleased that God has amazing and wonderful things planned for her and that he was trying to mess that up.  And she TOTALLY got it!  Praise the Lord... His hand is SO ON HER!  It ended with an agreement that she can not communicate with this teacher right now... and she called me "mom" for the first time. (smiles... big smiles)

Abby continues to do pretty well as we continue to lower her banzel levels.   Her language is still improving despite the increase of topamax.  We are very thankful for that.  Her teacher is out now to have a baby and so we'll see how she adjusts to that absence.  She loves her teacher very much.  I am hoping Abby can get through the rest of the year without behavior affects due to "M's" absence!

Marc is now sleeping in his new "big boy" bed and he LOVES it!  He's been sleeping in it for 4 nights and hasn't gotten up once before morning!  Woo Hoo.  It's a cute bed.  I'll post about it later.

Thank you again for joining me again.  If you have a friend, mother, sister, or someone who might need to see God's presence in the good and the bad... just email me and let me know so I can let them in!

Hugs and much love to you! 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Going Private

My sweet friends,
  Someone has taken posts from my blog, turned them into major lies, and have used them to try and hurt Brenda's heart.  This is the same someone who caused her confusion when she was in Latvia and tried to talk her out of coming to join our family.
  I know this is an attack against the beautiful thing that God is doing in Brenda's life... in all our lives.  But in order to protect her and the rest of the family, my blog will become private next Sunday, April 18th.  You can email me at and I will be happy to share the password with you so you can continue to read if you like.
I have some things to state for clarity.

1.) Brenda is one of the best blessings that could have ever happened to us.  We praise God for her and for the wonderful things He has planned for her.

2.) The lice episode we had with Brenda was and will remain one of the most beautiful moments and memories of my life with her.  I do not think poorly of anyone who has lice as everyone has it at one time or the other.  And I share things like this on my blog so my FRIENDS can see how beautiful God is to take something that someone might think is bad and make it into something so precious.

3.) We are not mad that Brenda's adoption is costing us money and we are not begging for people to help.  We have paid for two past adoptions and can pay for this one.  I will do whatever is needed to do and will sell whatever needs to be sold to pay the money needed to complete this adoption.  Life is more precious than any amount of money.  MANY people have wanted to help, offered help, and have already helped in many ways.  By our FRIENDS helping, it lets them be a part of Brenda's story, God's story, and adoption.  And we also give God the opportunity to provide that money if it is His will.  God says ask.  And we ask.  THIS is a beautiful part of this adoption being shared by MANY of our dear friends who can't adopt themselves.

4.) We think Brenda's foster family are wonderful and loving people.  They have cared for and loved Brenda in such a way that helps her be the amazing person she is today.  We know that Brenda came with no clothes as part of the New Horizons program and NOT because her family would not let her.  We owe them so much love and can not wait to meet them, love on them, and share our personal thanks with them for what they have done for Brenda as well as other children they have fostered.  We share the same heart for children and that is beautiful.   

5.) We do not think that foreigners can only adopt sick children.  We are not having Brenda taken to a doctor to make sure she is not sick like Abby.  Abby being sick has changed our lives in a way for the better more than we could have ever imagined.  We love her passionately whether she is sick of well.  It is part of the adoption process required by LATVIA to have a medical on the child and to have anything that is wrong mentioned in the homestudy.  Brenda could have 100 things wrong with her and we would love her the same! (if not more!)

There will be no more posts until we are private.  Thank you.
Good Morning Today

Today the sun is shining... I love it.  I have two tomato plants full of green tomatoes in the back, rosemary and basil that I have to rub every time I walk by them, and a new addition of lemon thyme... yummy!  Then, as a surprise, we have strawberries growing in the corner of the little garden by the back kitchen window!  And I almost hacked them up!

But beyond the yummy things soaking up the sun... today, hopefully, will be a great day.  We should find out if Brenda is being granted the extra 60 days to stay.  The orphan court met yesterday and so we are hoping to hear very, very, soon as they are 7 hours ahead... it's already 2 p.m. the next day over there!

B continues to do well.  Her english just grows by leaps and bounds each day!  She is reading little chapter books and that is helping her with spelling, vocabulary, and comprehension.  She amazes me.  She has emotional moments here and there but usually we can talk through them and there is growth on the other end.

Abby is doing well.  We have decreased her Banzel from 600 mg twice a day to 200/400 mg.  We have increased her Topamax to 100/125 mg and she is having a seizure about every 5 days on average.  Prayers for her continued healing are so appreciated.  She amazes me with her ability to rebound after such a trauma to her body and mind.  She is back on track at school and the dark weeks of the past are just a faint little spot in her brilliant life book!

Marc is hillarious and keeps us laughing.  His emotional sensitivity still takes much patience but he is good at listening to us reason with him, getting control and waiting through the "drama"... like waiting for his turn with a toy, waiting for the milk to be handed to him, waiting for the door to open to play outside... you know, all the major issues of the day! :0)  Oh to be 2 again!  No thank you.

Love to you all.  I'll update as soon as I hear about the visa extension.  Our homestudy is finished and waiting approval.  Once we get one thing recopied onto letterhead and approval from the agency... we'll be able to mail it to immigration.   Prayers for God to just speedily walk it through that process in mad God fashion is so appreciated... it would be a miracle... and He does that you know!  Happy morning to you!!!

Brenda has been allowed to say until June.  We are rejoicing and so thankful!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Little Get Away Time

Where have you been?  Well, we snuck away for a little dip at the lake.  It was Brenda's first trip there and even though there were some very cold moments, and the water isn't all the way up, and it rained all day one day... she loves it there!  YEAH!

We combined a little work trip with a spring break trip and it was totally nice.  The kids got to spend time in the water and we soaked up some sun.  Tooling around on the boat is always nice, even with hoodies on to keep the chill off!


On one of the days, it was pretty windy and so we went back into a small cove and beached the boat.  Don worked on installing the new stereo and the kids discovered a great big mud hole!  I have NEVER seen Abby play for so long with one thing and be so happy... playing in the sand at the beach is a close second... but this girl was ALL ABOUT SOME MUD!  I loved it.  I sat on the boat for an hour and just watched them play all along the shoreline... it made me all warm inside!

It was really cool to see them all three content doing their own thing too.  Brenda spent most of the time in the water... just walking around and throwing sticks for Dusty to retrieve.

Marc played the rocks the entire time and tried to find some he could eat, of course.

And I already mentioned Abby and the mud.  She squashed the mud, threw the mud, dug out the mud, made mud pies, mud castles, mud villages, and then sat in the mud, slid down the mud, and fell down the mud.  It was GREAT!

B being silly!

Abby and Brenda's relationship is growing.  It is wonderful to see.  I know it will take time together for there to be a bond... but there is a quiet closeness between them that I get little glimpses of and it is really neat to see.  They each have an inner place that seems to be all their own.  They each have a love for me that I can see and feel and yet it is different.  And they are so very different... and yet so similar.  I feel like I am getting to be a part of some great story in their lives and it just touches me in the quiet deep spots of my spirit.

Here is Don's first attempt for a group picture.  Abby was throwing something over the side of the boat and she looks, well, totally frightful really!  So we try again.

Attempt number 2- I've got a death grip on the dog, Marc refuses to look at daddy, and Abby is back at the mudhole (in her mind anyway!).

Attempt number 3- Marc refuses to look and is unhappy I keep "asking" him to, the girls think it's funny, and the dog is gone.

Attempt number 4- Marc is going full throttle with what he does best, Abby is not sure what his deal is, Brenda is falling asleep and I put on my super happy mommy face!

Marc is removed to have his moment alone...

and the picture goes from "group shot" to "me and the girls"!

Yeah for Daddy!
More later, I've got to go make dinner... my twenty minutes are over and Marc is calling my name over and over from the potty!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter