Thursday, May 24, 2012

Time to Spill the Beans!!!

It's time to shout some really AMAZING AWESOME NEWS from the MOUNTAIN TOPS!!!!

Some of you have gotten a hint of something in the works, others have been waiting so patiently and still others have been downright begging me to know "what is up in Shawville?!?!!"



I love when God surprises me.

And I love even more to share a BIG FUN  SURPRISE when it's time!!

IT IS TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!


So...are you ready to hear???

Okay, I'm stalling now.

{double giggle!}



Yes! We are!!

Really and truly!

               ...this time it will not be for 2 years.


It will be shorter.


That's right.

'Cause this time we have some very important business to attend to.



We have to clear some paperwork with the government so that we can make the adoption final of our son.

Say what?!?!?!?

{triple giggle!!!}

Introducing the 6th Shaw child...

Toby BaoKun Shaw
born August 13, 2010
(mommy's birthday!!)
{quadruple giggle!!!!}

And now you know.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Another cramp in my heart...Alea

I'm short on time...but that's probably EXACTLY what the priest and the Levite said when they passed the bloodied man on the path.

I want to be the Samaritan who stops.

I saw this angel's face tonight in a blog post:

And it stopped my heart.

I read her story, and I felt that familiar cramp in my heart.

Do you know the one?


"Lord, this child needs a family! This child needs Your touch! She needs a MIRACLE!!!"

Then I went upstairs to read to my children their nightly Bible story. Guess what it was?

The Good Samaritan.

If you don't remember, a guy gets sacked, robbed and left for dead. Two people who were EXPECTED to help, walked around him.

They were too busy.

It was the Samaritan (who was the sworn enemy of the man who was so poorly injured) who stopped his life, took the man onto his donkey and paid for his treatment and stay at an inn.

I heard God speak to my heart.


Be her Good Samaritan.

So, because I am in a rush...I beg you to click on the link to read her story. She is in DESPERATE need of a liver transplant in a country where livers do not get donated. (scroll to the bottom where she is listed as in CRITICAL CARE!!)

She needs one NOW. She is going to die without it.


Let's be her voice of hope.

And be able to sit back and watch what glory God does in her precious little young life!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When the Heart Hears

Today, I want to share something personal.

I want to give you my before and after.

No, I'm not talking about pictures of me before I began exercising and healthy eating...
(please feel free to sigh in relief!)

...I'm talking about how I was before--in my heart.

Before I was...


I was full of anxiety.

I hated.

I felt hated by others.

I was consumed with hiding my imperfections from others.

Life felt like I was moving from one argument to the next.

There was a great absence of peace in my heart.

I laughed, but it was often AT other people.

I lied.

I cheated.

I gave no concern for others, unless there was some kind of payback in it for ME.


My life turned on a dime.

I was walking in one direction and spun around to walk in the opposite.

The day stands out in my mind.

I was 15.

What you might ask, would change someone's life so drastically in their teen years that she would never walk away? That her life would go from so enthralled with HERSELF to enthralled with her CREATOR?


It was Jesus. Jesus on the Cross.

That night when I was 15, I saw Jesus on the cross. He was being nailed to it. Each nail was named...and for some reason, each nail was something I personally was guilty of. The soldiers nailed that sinless God-man to the wood and held up each nail first proclaiming, "Hatred!" 

Then the banging of that sin through the flesh of Jesus.

Then the next nail was held up and proclaimed, "Lying!"

Bang. Bang. Bang.

My tears began to flow.

For the first time in my life, after years of my parents taking me to church with them, I began to see something I never had:

Jesus died on the cross for ME.

It was my actual sin that nailed Him there.

And He didn't deserve it.

I distinctly remember my SHOCK.

THAT'S WHAT IT MEANS??? I was truly incredulous.


I had heard that my entire life, but never with my heart.

The heart must hear.

When the heart hears, the heart melts.

My life changed then.

He began a long process of taking me from where I was and changing me into someone He dreamed of.

Romans 8:29 declares that dream:
"For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to be like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters."

God's dream is to make us like Jesus.

And He does that work. Not us.

The beautiful (and so mysterious) gift of His Holy Spirit does that work in us.

I am here to say: it is real.

My life looks NOTHING like it would have had my heart not heard.

I was not about to look like Jesus before!

Here is the Bible's description of love:

Patient. Kind. Not jealous or boastful. Not proud. Not rude. Does not demand her own way. Not irritable. Keeps no record of being wronged. She does not rejoice about injustice but rather when truth wins out. She never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures every circumstance.

And the character of Jesus that the Holy Spirit creates in me daily:

Loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self controlled.

Let me say it folks, THAT is NOT POSSIBLE without GOD!!!!

So, you must be wondering, am I claiming perfection?

Hahahahahahahahahaha!!!! You make me laugh my head off silly!!!

Oh no. 

Sadly, no.

I still lose my patience with my children.

I still catch myself hoping you think I look good...or have done something well.

I am still tempted by old sins. Satan does that you know. He knows where we are weak and loves to hit those old spots.

But God is IN me. (Yeah, that's really weird. And totally wonderful.)

And with God in me, I am controlled by another power. It is not of my own. I don't have to sin. I am FREE.

Free to love.

Free to have joy!

Free to give my life over to whatever God dreams for me!

And friends, that is one AFTER picture that is glorious!

And as I am learning...that picture may surprise even us! Who knows the mind of God? He plans things for us that may surprise (and delight!) us. Those plans have been in place even BEFORE He created the sunshine.


Those plans the Bible calls "good, pleasing and perfect."

I am LOVING the after.

Soon, I'm going to be sharing some "after" pictures of my life that I never saw coming.

And you might join me in the amazement.


"That is what the Scriptures say, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him." ~ I Corinthians 2:9

Monday, May 14, 2012

My little gifts!!

Isn't this so sweet?

I love being surrounded by these dear little gifts!!

Totally head over heels in love with these FIVE CHILDREN the Lord has seen fit to bless me with!!!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Clickety Click! Clicks for Project Hopeful

Our friends at Project Hopeful do so much GOOD.

They not only adopt and love orphans and travel around the world to serve them...


I must admit, before I found out about them I didn't know that HIV was a manageable disease.

IT IS!!!

Project Hopeful also advocates for orphans who are shunned by society because of their positive status.

There long waiting lists of children who are orphans and sadly are


                                                                                                  ...simply because they have HIV.

Did you know that it is easier to manage care for an HIV+ child than a child with diabetes?

I sure didn't.

Did you know that it is completely safe to live with a person who has HIV? That there is ZERO risk of infecting others in normal family life?

Did you know that a child who has HIV and is given a chance at life with the advanced medications available now can grow up and live a normal life? They can marry, give birth all without infecting others?

This is great news!!!

This is what I have learned from my friends at Project Hopeful.

In addition to these, Project Hopeful also has something called FIG accounts. This is where people can join Family In the Gap to help families and orphans who are working toward adoption. People can give to Project Hopeful (tax deductible giving) and have their money be assigned to a particular child!

All these reasons and more are why I love Project Hopeful.

I am asking all my readers and friends to click on over to Cultivate Wines and vote for Project Hopeful to be the winner to receive a grant of $50,000. 

Winning this grant would mean so much to their mission of Educating, Encouraging, and Enabling families and individuals to advocate for and adopt children with HIV/AIDS and other of the most overlooked children for adoption. 

It literally takes seconds to sign in with Facebook and vote for Project Hopeful to win!

 They need a vote from you ONCE per DAY until the end of June. Can you go "click" "click" once a day for a few weeks to help save orphans with HIV? I thought so!! ;)

Go click!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

2nd Annual Cupcake Sale--SUCCESS!

What a perfect day we had!!

 Incredibly adorable cupcake kids were all around...and their cute mommas too!

 The table was festive and the people were amazing...especially the boys! :)

Grocery shoppers added cupcakes to their stashes...

and a little someone tried to make off with a cupcake!

 And another was caught RED HANDED!

How could anyone resist this crew?!
 Special thanks to Chief Supermarket in Wauseon for permitting us to be there!

 The lemonade was thirst quenching and the cupcakes were undeniably delicious!
 See those red raspberry topped cupcakes? They were filled with raspberry too...
BEST CUPCAKE EVER! (thanks, Suzann!)
Friends helped educate the public about the plight of children in Uganda...
 And made funny faces at the camera lady...

Bubbles and proper signage were important for the day's success!

Money was lovingly donated and meticulously counted...
and the grand total was $761.21!!! (note overjoyed DQ in the background!)

All our leftover cupcakes were donated to the homeless in downtown Toledo.

 What a sweet ending to a great project! See you again next year!!

Our online sales are increasing our amount! Check it out! Yippie!!)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Dream Surrender

For years, we had a {homemade} sign that hung in each of our many houses (and yes, trust me, it was a lot of houses!) that said:

Never surrender your dreams

We would pray about whatever decision was on the table and discuss and work through the many sides of it and inevitably one of us would look up at this sign.
We would read it and remind the other of our "dream" and we'd make a decision that went most in line with that dream that we clung to.
It's popular thought, isn't it? 
"Cling to your dreams!"  and "Go after your dreams!" "Chase your dreams!" ????
Well, we have learned something over recent days.
And it's not at all what I was expecting.
God wants us to want HIM. 
Not. A. Dream.
Not even when the dream is FOR HIM.
I have read many biographies of people I hold in highest esteem. Not ONE of them had a 5 year plan and told God what they hoped to achieve. They did not write out their plan of action nor did they decide how they would fund it. 

Not one!!

Rather, they were busy walking with God and He led them to places they had (or had not desired!) and He gave them great ministry right there.

Why are we clinging to this dream?!?!?

God is passionate, wise and all knowing. 
He has plans for each of our lives that Scripture calls "good, pleasing and perfect."
And guess what?
Clinging to the dreams that WE have dreamt for our lives, well, it's not right.
He wants us clinging that desperately to HIM.
(Not to some idea we have for what we would like to do with our time on this planet.)
This is BIG around here.

Serious paradigm shift.
The sign came down about 2 years ago now, but the impact of it's like residue on the side of the shower door. You don't even notice it...until it's cleaning day.

Yesterday was cleaning day.

We went through the great struggle of laying a 20 year dream on the altar to the Lord.

"Lord, we don't want this more than we want You. If You want that for us, then You do it. We are tired of trying to make it happen. We cannot seem to on our own, and now we lay it out for you. It is no longer our dream."

We laid our dream on the altar to the Lord...away it floated from our grasp.

And interestingly...

there was a great BREAKTHROUGH OF JOY!!! We realized that what He is calling us to do at this moment in our lives was never foreseen by us...but He had it planned all along!!

Had we continued to obey the mantra "never surrender your dreams" we would have missed the blessing that God has planned for us. 

This is major. MA-JOR. MA-JOR!!!!

We have not said what our dream was, nor what this new blessing is that we believe God has for us, but let me suffice it to say: we didn't see it coming.


(We will no doubt share this with you when the time is right.)

But even in the first day of obedience unto Him regarding this we have been filled with more joy than what is comprehendible!!

We also have the full confidence that by making this step, we will not circumvent any plans that God may have had for us with our original dream. We KNOW that if He wants to do that TOO--He will! Oh yes He will!!!

At the end of Ephesians 3, Paul prays for the church there in Ephesus. He prays, "...and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..."

Let me tell you friends BOTH are true!! I am testifying to being FILLED to the measure of the fullness of God and confident that He will do immeasurably MORE than all we ask or imagine!!!

I read this morning in Romans 10 and a portion of verse 3 stood off the page to me, "Refusing to accept God's way, they cling to their own way..."

Oh not anymore, Lord.

Now we sit here filled with this new awe of the Lord and in great and mighty anticipation of this new thing.

If all the joy was not confirmation enough, I found this quote late last night and was covered in chills:

Better Than You Can Imagine
"You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deed and your thoughts toward us: none can compare with You! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told." Psalm 40:5
What would you like to be doing in ten years? Perhaps you have a picture in mind of what the perfect future looks like. Interestingly, many people who achieve all their goals find that their success was not as satisfying as they thought it would be.

Yet there are those who've forgotten their own plans in order to pursue God. As David testified in Psalm 40, they discover a life full of purpose and love-abundant in hope and wonder.

Friend, you can imagine great things, but God's plans for you are infinitely better than all of them. So pursue and obey Him. He'll grant your heart's deepest desires and never disappoint you.
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