Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Song for You, Sweet Toby

Merry Christmas, sweet boy.

We are coming for you.


Momma and Daddy

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So Much Excitement! Momentum Rocks!


So happy to hear today that we have our

LOG IN DATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was yesterday: November 27, 2012!

This is huge news and means we are logged into the Chinese system and well on our way to bring Toby home!!

And in other news...

"Twenties for Toby"--the awesome brainchild of my friend Alexis--has gone NATIONAL! Instead of the state of California friend Kerry has created an event on Facebook where all states are challenged to be represented! Click here to read about it and join up!


I'm so giddy I can barely stand it!

God is bringing in the finances we didn't have when we said "YES" to adopting this dear little boy in China.

If you remember, we had just finished paying for Zeb's adoption. That. Very. Month.

And God showed us Toby.

It was quite a bit overwhelming! Overwhelming to be sure!

The ticket price to adopt from China is $30,000!!!

We had not a penny.

But God did.

We trusted Him and look at what He has done!!! Click here to see our current total raised! :)

WOW.  Pretty amazing huh?

And now...we have LID!

Toby dude, we are coming!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

BLOWN AWAY by Californians who Love Toby!!

I truly cannot believe it.

We returned home from our Thanksgiving party trot to find a very bulky envelope in the mailbox.

A fellow adoptive mom of a child with AMC (Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita) asked me on Facebook how much money we still needed to bring Toby home.

"Approximately $20,000." I answered her.

"Oh. Wow."

The next thing I know, she's rallied together people in the state of California to help bring Toby home!

Her plug went like this: "My friend Amy is working to bring home an orphan named Toby who has AMC. Her family is only $20 short...times 1,000. I want to show them how many people in California love and care about Toby. My daughter will have an envelope pinned to her shirt and when you see her, place your $20 bill in the envelope for Toby."

She called it, "Twenties for Toby."

When I learned about this campaign I was in tears.

Totally humbled.

But when we got the mail yesterday and opened up this stack of was AWE-inspiring.

Thirty-one Californians care that Toby not sit in that orphanage one SECOND longer than he must!

Hallelujah! God is so incredible!!!!

I want to thank my friend Alexis for this amazing act of love for what God is doing in our family and in Toby's life. Alexis, when I see your son in his casts...I honestly cannot wait to get Toby's AMC treatment started!

What joy it is to know that others care for an orphan sitting in the corner of China who is in desperate need of medical attention. Thank you to each of you---our family salutes the State of California for their wonderful support of bringing Toby home!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jesus Loves the Waiting Children of the World..

For every family who wants to adopt a healthy baby...

there are thousands upon thousands more children who are waiting to be chosen.

In China there is a rule that once a child has their 14th birthday, they may no longer be adopted.

It's OVER.

All hope of having a mom and a dad comes to a screeching halt.

This breaks my heart.

I have learned that children who are 18 (legal ADULTS!) in our American foster care systems still allow themselves to be listed as waiting for adoption because...









Oh this breaks my heart too!

How often have you called your mom on the phone needing some advice?

"How do I cook a turkey, Mom?" "Remind me how to hem a pair of pants again?" 

These children have nobody.

No one who will sit by their bedside and listen to their hopes and dreams at night.

No one will will correct them when they step out of line.

No one who will encourage them when they feel down.

And in China, once the 14th birthday arrives--all hopes are shut off for a family.


That's why I want to introduce you to a few children.

The first is a boy named Matthew.

Matthew is 13 years old and in danger of aging out FAST.

He has only a few months for his family to find him.

Here's what a volunteer said after spending time with this special young man:
Matthew is a bright boy, and tries really hard at school! He currently attends a special education school with some of his friends where I am told he is doing really well. He has two special needs; a skull deformity and dyskinesia of right limbs. He has very limited use of his right arm and hand. However, this does not affect his life greatly. He will never be an Olympic athlete, but he is able to run around and generally play like most kids.

Matthew has waited far too long for a family. He gets on with everyone and has lots of friends! I saw him grow and mature over the year, he truly is growing into a kind and generous young man. On top of that, he is an easy-going, handsome, bright and funny boy who needs a mom and dad of his own. I do not want him to face the future alone..

 Will YOU become Matthew's family? Help us beat the clock and find his family!! Share about him!

The second is a boy named Bo. He is 12 years old.

As you may notice, Bo is missing his left forearm. Otherwise, he is said to be athletic, active and extroverted. I got to see video of him playing in the orphanage yard with other children, giggling and running and...waiting.

Here's a tidbit from his file:
Bo goes to third class at school. Since his reception ability is lagging behind, he studies seriously and hard. He works hard at school, consult when meeting questions, forms good studying habits, the teachers are all like him.
In terms of studying, he always tells himself “I’m not stupid, I just didn’t work hard; although I’m not genius, I will continue to work hard to change my fate”. He is ambitious. He gets along well with others at school and likes to play games with others. He loves to work and help others, left a good impression at school. He is active, naughty and has a ready smile. He comes back to this big family after class and brings his little sisters and brothers to play.

In their eyes, Bo is a big brother, always helps them and takes care of them. In the caretakers’ eyes, he is mature and always tries his best to do things within his power. Once, he cleared up the chairs and did some cleaning in the absence of a teacher, he always wipes desks for teachers which make them moved. They regard him as their closest relatives and love him. He is independent in daily life and has strong power to self care. He cleans his room everyday and washes his clothes frequently. He pays attention to sanitation and always makes his clothes tidy. He is an athletic boy, we hope other children could study from him.

Is Bo your son? Will you helps spread the word for him?

A third is Cassandra. Also a teenager with limited time to become a daughter.

Cassandra is 12 years old. She is blind in her right eye and is listed as having spina bifida and unilateral club feet. She has received surgery for her feet by an American doctor, but more surgery is needed.

She is said to be hard working in her studies and is a talented piano player. She is very open and outgoing with a wonderful, ready smile. She can make friends easily and is said to be very helpful to her friends.

Cassandra is able to move and walk with assistance and has continence.

Will you be her mother or father? Will you help share her story so they will find her?

Watch the following video and see the amazing facts about the world's orphans. See how God moves your heart!

If you would like information on Matthew, Bo or Cassandra I can put you in contact with someone who can help you!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Because Sometimes You Just Need a Laugh!

Oh Tim funny, funny man!!

Just enjoy this little giggle today! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

147 Million Reasons to HOPE!

We are thrilled to announce that we are now fundraising through the amazing company:

That means that every time you purchase ANY product using our link from 147 Million Orphans, you will accomplish two awesome things:

1) Feed a child in a 3rd world nation (you can choose where your dollars go!)

2) Help bring Toby home!!


There are loads of wonderful products available for sale...

From uber cool burn-out shirts like this one (I'm wearing mine today!):

To mugs...

To jewelry that comes from these 3rd world nations...

And much, much more! (In fact, I just got my pair of comfy red sweat pants and LOVE THEM!)

Click this link and hop on over to 147 Million Orphans and shop away! 
* SPECIAL NOTE: We will only receive credit for your purchase if you use this link. Thank you for helping us bring our little boy HOME!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pledge of Purity

This weekend was a very special occasion.



Nope and nope.

This weekend, our daughter made a vow of purity.

In our culture, we must be INTENTIONAL about living a life for Jesus. If we just go with the flow...we will find ourselves seriously compromised or worse.

Believe it or not, this was not our idea.

It was Jensi's.

She has had some wonderful influences from the youth ministry at our church. One such influence was another young woman who had a special ring and pledged to remain pure for her future spouse. This made a profound impact on our daughter who (in true Jensi-style) wouldn't let us rest until we had helped choose the perfect ring for her!

What began as just a simple ring for her grew into a full Bible study for me.

I began to search the Word of God for what He might want her to know as she made this vow for her life.

As the list of Scriptures I wanted to share with her grew longer and longer, I realized that this was not something I could do in a half hour time slot or on the fly. It needed to have our full attention.

As I prayed about how to share these truths from the Bible with Jensi, I got the idea for a retreat. In a perfect world, Jensi and I would have jetted off to some private resort in the mountains and had a mother-daughter weekend complete with skiing, hot chocolate and pedicures. That not being our present reality, we opted to borrow a room at the church on a Saturday morning.

We met for a block of 2 1/2 heavenly uninterrupted hours.

It was a precious time for us to share honestly about our culture, God's plan for us as Christians, marriage, sex, how to live in a godly way and just plain old question and answer.


The following day we held an informal ceremony. She was insistent that both of her parents be present. (I love her initiative!)

We prayed over her...and she prayed too. We prayed for her future mate and for God to do His work in her life. Precious. So very precious.

Then, as her daddy held her ring, she took her vow.

And he slid the ring on her finger.

Shivers came to both of us as we realized the next time a ring goes on that finger...

What a joyful time in life this is! So excited to see how God uses our daughter and what the marvelous plans are that He has in mind for her!

For those of you with children "of age" and would like to do something similar I encourage you to sit your pre-teen or teen down and ask them about it. Would they be interested in something like this? Do they want to take a personal stand for God's ways? Do they want to enter marriage with a clean slate? Would they like to get the most out of what God has planned for them? If so, then I would encourage you both to have a similar study and ceremony.

We found her ring online and there are many dealers of "purity rings" and a simple Google search will show you the many options. It took us several WEEKS to choose the perfect ring for her to wear for the many years that will pass until she marries. (the MANY MANY MANY years that will pass!) ;) She was an active part of the ring selection. And remember, it doesn't have to be an actual purity ring. It could be any ring that is special to them. It doesn't even have to be a ring at all!

This special paper was also available online. Click here for the link to the one we used.

I wrote out the general outline of our study...and I've been asked if I would share it. I am more than happy to...and I pray that others might find it useful in their own pursuit of protecting their children's hearts.

If you haven't already, PRAY for your child's spouse. He or she is more than likely already out and breathing and doing life too. Pray that they are making a similar commitment to the Lord. Pray for their spiritual growth.

 I want to make a special note to you if your children are in their older teen years. I clearly haven't parented beyond age 12 1/2, but I want to remind you that it is NEVER too late to sit with your son or daughter and let them know you are lovingly praying for their future. Perhaps your child has made decisions that you would not approve of, but you can always open the door for conversation and forgiveness. God is not a God who demands perfection! He is abundantly loving and forgiving. You can always encourage your teen to seek purity from this point forward. These truths are still true for them no matter their past. I John 1:9 is a wonderful verse to cling to in such a situation!

The Study:

I wanted to cast a vision for Jensi to see that God has her entire life in His scope. I wanted her to understand this vow is not just about what she won't do but as a step of faith to TRUST what God has planned for her. That said, I do NOT know what He has planned for her. He may not have a spouse for her at all. We discussed this. 

Being that the chances are good that she will marry, we proceeded under that assumption with the caveat that God has that choice to decide if she'll marry or not.

Define purity. (regular dictionary, examples of something not being pure.)
Purity verses: Psalm 86:11, II Cor 7:1 , I Timothy 4:7

God's plan for you:
Jeremiah 29:11, Eph 2:10
Psalm 34:8-10
Ps 121, 139:1-4 You are constantly in God's care, His watch and on His mind
Ps 42:8 Each day God is pouring His love on you
Ps 127:1 

Our culture is not godly.
Romans 1

A spouse is a life gift.
Ecc 4:9-12
Gen 2:20-25

Examples of serving couples in the Bible:
Priscilla and Acquilla (Acts 18 and other places)
Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) clearly a negative example, but how united a couple is 
Abraham and Sarah (Genesis)
Joseph and Mary (Luke and Matthew)

While you wait for your spouse:
Song of Songs 2:7, 3:5, 8:4
Eph 5:2
I Cor 6:12-18
I Cor 6:19-20 
Romans 12:1-2
Only marry a believer 2 Cor 6:14
Concerns of the married I Cor 7 (this is long and very exhaustive. we plowed through it.)

Once married:
Hebrews 13:4
Malachi 2:14-16
Prov 5:15-19

Divorce is not God's plan for you:
Romans 7:2-3
Matt 5:31-32
Mark 10-2, 11-12
Luke 16:18

Reality is that men live shorter lives than women. In this overview of her life, we talked about the fact that she may end up widowed at some point in her life. She is not to "die of a broken heart" but to remember that God has plans for her and to live each day for Him.

I Tim 5:11-14 (younger widows should remarry)
II Cor 5:9--what is our goal? What we do matters.

There is no magic in the format of this...I just spent several days praying for what I should share with her regarding this topic. There are probably tons of great verses I have left out...and there was a TON of discussion that happened around all these verses! I pray that this will help other parents and their children in their own pursuit of purity!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Sharing My Secret...

So often people see me with my children and quip,

"Wow! They are all yours? You must have non-stop energy!"

I must admit that several years ago, I could never be doing what I'm doing now.

I was tired.

A lot.

Daily napping was not a luxury, it was a NECESSITY.

And coffee in the morning? Yes! And it wasn't just for the was to start my body for the day...and keep me going later. I could drink a pot. For reals.

Enter Shakeology.

I was already a Team Beachbody coach before Darin Olien and Isabelle Daikeler invented the formula, so I was curious what Beachbody had created.

I placed my first order.


I began drinking it daily.

Things began to change.

I had energy that was...steady. I didn't have that dip in the afternoon.

No more desperate need to melt into the couch come 1 pm!!

And once I did a 3 day cleanse using broke my addiction to caffeine and I have not been a regular coffee drinker ever since. It's been 3 years!

This summer, I contracted a parasite that trashed my intestines. It took FOREVER to get over. (I think it's done! FINALLY!) During this time, I went multiple times to my doctor who finally said, "Amy, I have no idea what's wrong with you."

I visited a naturalist. He is an Registered Nurse and knew a lot about a lot of things. As I visited with him, I told him I had a bag of my Shakeology in the car, would he like to see it?

He said no.

I brought it in anyway. ;)

When he looked at it, he had a critical look on his face. Then, he melted.



Then, "Wow. I've never seen a product packed full of so many good super foods. You should drink this everyday!"

He later came back to the subject of Shakeology and told me, "100% of the time when people bring their shakes in to me I tell them they are not worth anything. They isolate one or two good foods and then the rest of the shake is full of man made or synthetic fillers that render them useless. But this is the FIRST SHAKE I've ever seen to truly be full of healthy good foods that I would want to drink myself!"

It was pretty amazing, considering he had no connections with me or Beachbody and had never seen the product before.

Tony Horton of P90X fame and a trainer with Beachbody recently made this video about why he likes Shakeology. Tony is a fitness king and a vegan. He is uber careful with all the foods he puts in his body.

Enjoy watching this and now you know...


If you would like to try Shakeology for yourself, Beachbody always has a 30 day money back guarantee. You can even mail back the EMPTY bag within those days and receive a full refund if it doesn't meet your satisfaction.

Here's where you can buy some and have the commission help bring Toby home from China:

Now my secret can become YOURS!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Special Needs...Isn't that...Scary??

As you probably know, it's National Adoption Month.

People like me LOVE this month!! ;)

I've been asked in several different ways about special needs.

And often it comes with a sense of "Wow, you are so brave. I could never do that."

Or a secret rolling of the eyes that we are totally crazy.

Maybe both are true, maybe not.

I want to share this video about understanding the WAITING CHILD with special needs.

I think you'll see...

                                ...they aren't so scary after all.

And if you want to talk about adopting a child with special needs, I would love to chat and when I don't know the answers...I'll go looking for someone to connect you with!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


it was april 8, 1988.

i remember it so vividly.

a boy in my math class wasn't there. i had no idea the day before was the LAST time i would see him.

you see, he killed himself.

carbon monoxide poisoning.

i didn't know him more than an acquaintance. i may have joked with him in class a time or two.

but somehow that life that he so abruptly cut short has impacted me in ways i would have never guessed.

EVERY SINGLE YEAR without fail, i think of him on april 8th.

and i pray for his mother.

i have no idea who she is, but i am 100% sure that she is thinking of her son that day.

i wonder, does she wonder if anyone remembers him?

i do.


*     *     *     *    *
it was early sunday morning october 28, 2012.

i couldn't sleep.

i breezed through Facebook friends' updates on my phone.

then i saw it.

a post that stopped my heart.

another boy in my high school--although now we are 40--is in a very bad, bad place.

he's hurting.

he's calling out for help.

he says a form of goodbye on Facebook.

but thankfully THANKFULLY THANKFULLY people intervene.

they call the police to go check on him.

the police arrive.

they stop him.

he lives.

he posts an apology on Facebook and declares that he knows he will be sad again, but now he knows people care about him.

my heart shatters into a million pieces.

i knew this man. we played in the band together. he knows my name. i know his. we talked at our last high school reunion.


how do we know when others hurt?

how often do we wear masks and quip, "I'm great!" when asked how we are?

my heart is truly broken for this friend of mine.

he is still hurting.

still needing love, genuine care and people to stand in his life and shout:


i've been in communication with my friend each day doing what I know to give him encouragement and hope.

i've been praying fervently for his heart.

for his soul.

for his understanding that HE MATTERS in the grand scheme of things.

please, pray for my friend. you don't need his name, God will know.


*     *     *     *    *

a woman discovers she's pregnant yet AGAIN.

they have no money.

she's working two jobs and still aren't making ends meet.

six kids at home cry.

she wonders what she will do.

how will she carry on?

she decides to look into ending her pregnancy.

it's in her best interest, afterall.

what if...

what if she found someone who was willing to parent her baby?

would she choose to give her baby life?


this time, a life is saved.

thanks to an amazing godly couple who enter the adoption arena wanting a baby...and are open to a child of a different race.

this mom is given hope.

this baby lives.


This happens to be election day when I'm posting this. I absolutely vote for LIFE. But this post is about so much more than the abortion issue. This is about understanding that each life has a story, an impact and a value that is so far beyond what we can comprehend. We have no way to understand the intricate weavings of lives that God creates. We are a people created to be in community with others. We must stand for life. But when we do, we must also stand for adoption. We must care deeply about others. We must really listen when we ask an acquaintance "how are you?" for they might NOT be doing well. We must care, cry and bleed with our fellow man and help them along the road to wholeness. We must work at preserving life on all levels--not just the babies, but the people who have lived their lives and are waiting to die. Every day matters. Every heart created has been made to know his/her Creator. The journey through life allows many experiences. Will we help others find wholeness? Will we stand up for life when it matters? Will we intervene in another's life even when it's uncomfortable and inconvenient for us? Will we give up our own "right" to comfort and take in a life if it means preserving it from abortion? Will we stand for life, in all ways?

Proverbs 3:27
"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act."

Proverbs 31:8
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed."

Ephesians 4:29
"Let no harmful language come from your mouth, only good words that are helpful in meeting the need, words that will benefit those who hear them."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Say NO to the Holidays' Side Effect!!!

It's's approaching...there's no denying...

And you know the drill well.

Christmas shopping lists.

Holiday decorations.


Teacher gifts.

Class parties.

Stocking stuffers.

Christmas parties.

Holiday meals.

Cookie exchanges.

Christmas cards.





New Year's Eve parties.

As you DO ALL THIS PLANNING for the you also plan on gaining weight?!?!

Probably not. That's not a real fun side effect of all that work!

But, be honest, did you end up doing so last year?

Where will you be in early January 2013? Standing in front of a mirror pledging that THIS TIME you'll make a change...only to find yourself later snacking again when you didn't want to?

I want to offer you something to COUNTER ACT THAT SYNDROME!!

Last year, I put out a challenge to join with me in a challenge where we daily encourage one another to live a life of health and balance. See last year's post here.

I lost twenty pounds since I wrote that post!


Another friend in our group lost 91 pounds. Yes, that's for real!

Another lost 10, another 20, another 25 and yet another 70.

We are the serious ones. We have supported one another ALL YEAR LONG. And it has made ALL the difference!!

Yes, this has been our year!! :)

I'm going to open up another group to people who would like to END THEIR TREND of holiday weight gain!

Would you like to kick the extra squish on your tummy/hips in the butt this year?

Would you be willing to join me and a small group of others in a Facebook accountability group?

Would you be willing to post a little something about how your day went each evening?

Would you be willing to say YES to daily exercise through the cold winter months when what is natural is to snuggle down and eat sweets? (You can STILL do this in a controlled way...just AFTER your workout is in! ;))

If this sounds like something you want to do...then drop me a comment here or friend me on Facebook and send me a private message. (You'll find my Facebook badge on the sidebar down near the bottom of this blog.)

We will use Beachbody products as I am a true believer in them and have had nothing but fabulous flying success using them! (And the variety is AWESOME!) Hop on over to my Beachbody page and click "shop" to look through the many different programs available.

Let's enjoy the holidays without the side effect!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's Orphan Sunday...

It's Orphan Sunday...

...and I cannot stay silent.

There are a thousand ways to honor the fatherless in the world...but I'm going to suggest just 


One way to make the biggest difference in the most places around the planet...and specifically in your own heart.

One thing to do that will move heaven.

One thing that you can do while you wash the Sunday dishes.

One thing that you can do to bring hope and healing to the hearts of the millions of orphans around the world today.


That's right, prayer unleashes the power of God. We are commanded to pray about all things...and I suggest that today as a way of honoring the dear children who have no voice and no ability to speak up for themselves.

Using a suggested prayer guide from Katie Davis who works in Uganda with some of the neediest orphans and children in the world, I urge you to not just read this but to PRAY.

-Pray for the children in our world with no parent at all, with one parent, or with absent parents – that they will be comforted by our mighty God and will feel hope today.

-Pray for an 
increased awareness for the needs of vulnerable children in your own community, and for God to reveal to you how you might help.

-Pray that God would inspire His people – both your church and the Church worldwide - to speak up for the fatherless and become active in foster care, adoption, and global orphan care.

-Pray for Amazima’s outreach in Uganda to the vulnerable children we encounter. Pray that we serve well, love generously, and always direct them to Jesus Christ. Pray also for other parachurch ministries that are responding to Christ’s call to serve the widow and the fatherless around the world.

-Seek the Lord and ask whether He might want you to be the family for a child who does not have one.

You never know how your simple obedience in prayer will impact the world! Well, I take that back, you WILL know...but not till the other side of heaven! 

Get your kids involved in praying for orphans! Some of the biggest mountains I've seen moved have been as a result of the powerful, faith-filled prayers of a CHILD! One precious mommy I know prays with her children each morning, "Lord, how can we love on orphans today?" I can tell you that they have seen God move in BIG WAYS.

My prayer is that many who would not have normally prayed for the fatherless of this country and all over the world will be moved to do MORE than they have in the past.

I love when the people of God pray to Him about things on His heart! The results are amazing! (I look at our own Zeb and see how true this is!) 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I Can't Seem to Finis...

I currently have TEN started drafts for this blog.


That seems excessive to me.

I have more than that started in my head of course...and their next step is to make it to my iPhone to do list for "this month." Then I grab a 1/2 second and begin to write...only to be interup...

So you see, I am seriously backlogged.

But I am determined to finish this post about NOT finishing!!

I have valid reasons for my scatteredness, really.

*Health issues in myself, DQ and Zeb (we are battling the leftovers from a stupid parasite that he came home from Uganda with 15 months ago!). This has been going on for me since late July. Just when I think it's over...its back. Poo! (oh yes, pun intended!) 

*My father in law's sudden fall at our house and subsequent emergency brain surgery and 2 weeks hospitalization.

*Brian's spontaneous lung collapsing and subsequent surgery and 10 days hospitalization.

*Zeb's tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy yesterday morning...and what is looking like a not fun recovery.

*Financial stress from all of the above.

*Regular life does not slow down so we can attend to the above!

And so, I have let sitting and blogging go to the wayside.

I miss it. I miss you.

I still am living life as passionate as before...but I don't have the freedom brain cells left to use my venue to express it!

Still aching for orphans who need families.

Still wanting to get overseas to rescue children from brothels.

Still working out daily and eating healthy and challenging others to do the same.

Still having awesome conversations with friends who mean so much to me...and being challenged in my faith by them.

But I cannot seem to find a square inch of space in my day energy to sit and write.

So today, I'm grabbing this moment to simply write about my frustration of not being able to fin...

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