Friday, May 27, 2011

Whatever your NOW is...that's God's answer!

There are so many times I want to blog, but don't have much to say...or I'm bubbling with excitement, or crushed, torn in disappointment. Today, I just thought I'd take a snapshot of life at this moment:

"All done!" "All done!" "ALL DONE!!" DQ screams at me from the kitchen. Time to put her down for a nap with Fluffernutter, the elephant. "Book!" "Book!" She demands before sleeping.

"Can I play Angry Birds on your phone for a while, Mommy?" sweet Anneli asks. Yes. Of course.

"Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!!!" Oliver drives yet another tractor through the house, completely consumed in his own world.

Missing Jensi today. She's on a little overnight with the grandparents Thomas. A great thing for them and her. Precious times.

I sit and read and cry about the families who have lost EVERYTHING in Joplin and another family who didn't just lose her possessions but her children--ripped from her arms--in Oklahoma City from deadly tornadoes. I wonder why we have not had our turn in such devastation.

I upload an order of baby announcements and kill a spider crawling across my desk.

I move the laundry, clean the kitchen, peer at the fish.

I listen to the excited chatter of A and O who tell me about the baby birds who flew from much-watched the nest today! (Oh, Lord keep the day far from me when THEY fly and make my nest empty!)

Get a phone call from our Congressman's office who has been checking on the status of our USCIS application. Good news: they will have it approved a month before what they had told me!

Love messages come in on my phone from Brian at work.

I scan and email our Ugandan lawyer yet another piece of paperwork.

I finally get a shower, due to a late day workout after snuggling with the 3 kids in bed for "too long" (there is no such thing you know!) I didn't get my workout in early as I like to. But it was a good trade!! :)

I check in on my Beachbody coaching business. 7 new coaches added! Awesome! I love this team!

Got an email from a yet another broken hearted mom suffering after the stillbirth of her two sons. Oh God, give me the comfort You've given me to pass on to her. Give me your words!

Fold some laundry.

I listen to a little more of The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom as I fix my face and hair for the day and pray for the people God has laid on my heart.

I think about where I was 2 years ago right now: in a hospital, awaiting the birth of our final child. I was SURE it was going to be little Halsten, our boy. After all that movement just like Oliver and Oskar, SURELY he was on his way!! The child even went breech during labor!! But I was due for a great surprise tomorrow morning...

And I wonder about a prayer that I have so faithfully prayed for years on end now: "Lord, use us overseas." Yet we are here. Ohio. Buckeyes, Mennonite people, endless soybean fields. I love Ohio, my family is here. Don't get me wrong, but I am called to a far away land. But He has me here.

My mother in law told me one time, "whatever your NOW is...that's God's answer to your prayer from before." I didn't particularly like hearing this, but I can see she was right. I may have an idea for my life, but God knows me better, knows the plans He has for me (Jeremiah 29:11) and knows what I need to be ready to do it.

I may not be living in a remote village, speaking a foreign tongue or spending my days with the precious people of a different culture, but I do have purpose here. And interestingly, it's the same purpose: live my life unto God, share what I am given with others and love deeply. There is great joy in that, no matter where I am!

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If you want to read about and pray for the family mentioned above, go here to their Facebook prayer page or watch this video in tribute to their sons who were ripped from their mama's arms and died in the tornado just 3 days ago. I wonder if YOU wonder, why NOT me? Are you ready to have it all be over? Have you made peace with God? I would love to talk with you about this if you like...or you can go here to learn more about what Jesus did on your behalf.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Please meet...Godfrey!! (A giveaway!)

As I have been in the Ugandan cyber adoption world, going on 6 months now, I have heard soooooooooooooo many wonderful and amazing things about
  a man named Godfrey.
I have lost count of the amount of people who sing this man's praises. Truly, not one word has been anything but glowing praise for this brother in the Lord!
Godfrey, his wife Tina and their family (including foster children!)
Now I have yet to meet this man in the flesh, but we have "met" in spirit.  This is a man greatly filled with God's Spirit! He is a loving husband and father and takes in orphans into his home without batting an eyelash. We were in a situation once, with a referral we lost to another family, when Godfrey told me on the phone, "Just come and get him out of the orphanage, I will keep him here with me until your paperwork is ready." He's just that kind of man. You need it, he gives it. He'd even do more than give you the shirt off his back! (yes, that's a link! Click it!)

Two non profit organizations: Sixty Feet and Awaka have loved and employed him as a driver. He generously and selflessly helps out the international adoption community. He is truly a brother in Christ! 

And now, Godfrey needs OUR help. See that sweet baby girl in his wife's arms? Her name is Elizabeth and she needs medical care that is only available in the United States. A
lready in one week's time, friends of Godfrey near and far have supplied his family with enough money to purchase plane tickets, visas and passports to deliver them to America. 
Sweet baby Elizabeth
The next item of need is a doctor and hospital who will treat baby Elizabeth for free. If you are an American reading this, you know how that NEVER happens here!! Yet do roadblocks stop our God? Ha! NO WAY! Please join us in praying for the perfect doctors and hospital situation to be worked out entirely on their behalf. (There are good leads!)

That leaves the financial needs of their family while they are in the States. This current need is what is being fundraised currently on the Awaka website. For a simple $5 entry, you can have your name in the hat for a gorgeous print of this adoption painting by Melissa Carter entitled, "The Messenger." 

You can read all the details about this gorgeous work of art here, including what the artist says went through her mind as she painted it! (It's so cool!)

And there's more! That $5 donation will also enter you to win this cool coffee table book about Kampala, the capital city of Uganda:

I'll encourage you to scoot on over to the Awaka blog to discover the third item up for the giveaway! You can make a donation if you like to help out Godfrey's family there too.

Let's come together to support Godfrey, his wife Tina and their daughter Elizabeth in their hour of need! Bless you!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Become part of our family puzzle!

Hey everyone!! We have a brand new way for you to become part of our family story!!

See this lovely guy?

Ohhhh! I love him so!

We have this glorious lion who will one day hang in our future children's bedroom in a double-sided glass frame. The front will be so he can see out and watch over my kids (hee hee) and the back will be so we can turn it over and show our children how ALL OF YOU became a part of our story to bring them home!

You can "buy" a piece of the lion puzzle for $10 each. For each $10 you donate, we will write your name (or the name of someone you choose--one of your children perhaps?) on the back of a puzzle piece. If you give $100, we will write your name(s) over ten pieces. As pieces are purchased, we will begin to fit them together. I will periodically post pictures of our puzzle so you can see how we are progressing. You can watch him come together--just like you will be helping to bring our family together! Isn't this such a cool idea?!!! Yes! But no, it wasn't mine!! ;)

So, how many people/pieces do we need to "sponsor" in order for this king of the jungle to be complete?

750! A TALL order, right? Well guess what? SO IS ADOPTION!!! And our great and mighty God specializes in things that are WAY too big for us. I have story after story to prove it. Someday over a nice cup of java, I'd love to share with you and hear your God stories too! :)

To be clear, when you give to our puzzle project it is a donation that will directly benefit two children who are currently orphaned in Uganda and are destined to become our Shaw children. All monies will be used solely for our adoption costs. They are not tax deductible.

If you are feeling that you want to make a donation toward our adoption but you would like it to be tax deductible, you can do that too! Our church has graciously set up an account called "One Less Orphan." All donations are received through the church and are then divided among the families who are currently embarking on the adoption journey.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU in advance for your help in bringing our family together!!! You are a CRITICAL part of our family puzzle!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

God has no Plan B

Oh dear friends, what a truth this is!! We so often say that we'll just move to "Plan B," which is totally fine when you are human--but something altogether different when you consider our mighty God! In a wonderful post my friend, Chasity, has highlighted this beautiful truth. I would love it if you'd go over here and read it. Then we can all be on the same page!

Aren't those Scriptural examples wonderful? I have often contemplated the timing of the birth of Jesus. From Mary's perspective, things were not pretty. She was a full 9 months pregnant and was NOT comfortable. (I promise.) Then the news, "A census. Go to your home towns so we can count you." What in the world?!?! You HAVE to be kidding. Travel?! NOW!?!?!? But they did. And she was NOT comfortable. (I promise.) But she went. They and many, many other people flooded into the small town, something it was not prepared to handle. And then, the last thing she expected: all the inns were full. I wonder, did she panic?
What!?! You can't be serious, Jo! There's no room for us? But...but...I'm going to have this baby....I've been breathing through these gripping contractions all day. (Oh that donkey's spine did NOT help!) There has to be a mistake! Ask them again!! ....What?! We can stay in their stable???? Didn't God say that this was His Son? What has gone wrong? Surely God's Son would not be born on the fly, under such pressures and in a barn! Could He???
But yes. YES. YES!! This crazy, stress-filled moment is EXACTLY how God planned the presentation of His beloved Son into the world. It was not only NOT Plan was not Plan A either. It was simply "the Plan" because it was God's and it came to pass.

Now for people like us, who are experiencing some tremendous ups and downs in our adoption, or for you in your personal situation, this is really good news.

The sweet little boy I fell in love with back in March? We committed to adopt him. Little did we know another family was given his file. Poof! Gone from our lives.

The set of twins we prayed so hard for, believing and committing to adopt? They also vanished from our lives after a family member emerged. Another broken heart and dashed hopes.

Up and down goes the roller coaster of adoption. Each story is unique, and there are many stories I am leaving out here for the sake of privacy. But it is absolutely so comforting to think that we are walking along the path we are because it's part of THE PLAN. Not plan b. This is not happening because the first try, second try, third try, fourth try and fifth tries did not work out. Nope, this is all part of finding our children and bringing them into our family.

I ask you to please pray for us. Pray that we would take joy in this journey. (Most journeys you expect to move...this is a rather still slow moving journey!) Not too unlike a very pregnant Mary teetering on the spine of a donkey, this journey is laborious and wrought with emotion. However unlike pregnancy, there is no known ending date. We need patience, long-suffering and to remember to enjoy the journey. No matter how hard that donkey spine may feel.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A broken blog no more!! YAY!!!

So I am so tickled to tell you that because of my awesome friend Colleen, I had a brainstorm in the middle of the night that I tried this morning and now our blog is back to normal!!!

You might like to visit Colleen, she's a fellow adoptive momma from Uganda who happens to run Wild Olive Tees with her two good friends! She's got a fun blog about her Ugly Couch. And she supports Sixty Feet too. She's a real like-minded momma! :)

So if anyone is curious how to NOT have their blog break like mine did...don't fiddle with the HTML codes of your widgets!!!

Yay!!! So, now you can click away, comment away and navigate around as normal!! Hip hip hooray!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So Excited!!!I

I am SO EXCITED to announce things to you but I cannot yet...and it's killing me!!

I just thought that if I say


then at least we can suffer 

together! ;)

(that's muffled screaming!)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cupcakes for Uganda!

We had a wonderful time selling cupcakes for the imprisoned children in Uganda. We were blessed to be able to host our sale outside of the Chief grocery store in our hometown. So many wonderful and generous patrons of the store were willing to learn about and eat cupcakes in honor of the children 8,000 miles away!

The flyer we passed out to all who bought cupcakes!

Although they will never know about us, we have the joy of impacting the children who live at M! These precious ones who remain locked away simply because they were street children or abandoned there by their distraught parents.

By the time our sale ended, we raised $253!! We rejoice that in our small efforts of baking and selling that we can make life a little more hopeful for these children in Uganda!

All of the money we raised will be sent to the non-profit organization known as Sixty Feet. You can visit their website by going to: (Due to the fact our blog is not working I am writing out the address! Hopefully SOON we'll get it figured out!) None of the money collected is for our personal adoption.

I hope that next year we can have another sale and see the great progress in the remand homes in Uganda. These cupcake sales were held nationwide and the current total American kids raised is $42,447!! And we get to add ours to that too! Isn't it incredible what our kids can accomplish?  Nobody said you have to be a grown up to make an impact!!

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