Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A MONUMENTAL DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's time for a HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you ready!?!?!?!?!

(drum roll please...)

We are FULLY FUNDED for Toby's adoption!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YES!!!! IT IS TRUE!!!!

Our amazing and incredible God brought in $32,000 in just 9 months time to fund the adoption that was HIS IDEA in the first place!!!


there's more!


Did we get Travel Approval? 


Listen to this amazing story:

My crazy awesome friend Chasity Cole is also adopting. We adopted in Uganda together back in the summer of 2011. She called me last week to let me know that God had performed a miracle and they were fully funded.

She wanted to help me with funding.

So she invented and pulled off a MOST AMAZING auction. (see previous post!!)

Then, today Tuesday February 26, 2013 God brought the rest of our necessary money in and we now share the status, "Fully funded."

I have a sweet friend, Angie Rylands, who is also adopting as well. (go figure!) This family is adopting TWO children at once from China. (VERY EXPENSIVE!) The two children are older boys...the ones who often get overlooked. A 9 year old boy and a boy who is about to age out (almost turning 14.)

Side note: In China, children are allowed to live in orphanages until they are 14. Upon their 14th birthday they are moved along in life. They are put out on to the streets. If they have any kind of special need, this is a death wish. Sexual slavery, drugs, street life awaits. 15% commit suicide. Most have no education or job skills. At age FOURTEEN. This is a desperate situation.

So, anyway...back to the Rylands...they have been raising a CRAZY amount of money to go and bring these boys home. I often thought, "wow, glad that's not MY amount..." And today...they saw God move mountains as well...

...their number went from $30,000 left on December 1st to $17,000 on January 1st to $12,900 on February 1st...and yesterday their need was $7,778 And today...with our full funding we were blessed to be part of polishing off their need and now they join us as:


And this leads us to another family, the Smiths, who are in dire need of funds. They were in China last August adopting and fell in love with this sweet girl who is deaf: 
Guan Ya
They knew that God had her for their family and they worked their tails off to return to China to bring her home. One problem...she ages out on March 8th!! They leave in THREE DAYS to go bring her home before she ages out...so Angie and I thought we would help THEM raise their final funds!! 

God has blessed each of us: Chasity, us, the Rylands...now it's time to bless the Smiths!!

But wait!!!


They are now only $200 odd dollars away from ALSO BEING FULLY FUNDED!!!!!

So I was telling Niki, "We are going to blow that outta the park!" And she said, "Nope! Got someone on it! Go find someone else!!"


So...we now issue out a challenge from ALL of us:


We want you to help us get Jennifer's daughter home!!!

Jennifer has traveled to China multiple times and has ministered to many orphans over her trips. There is one orphanage especially founded for children with Brittle Bone Disease. There is one very special child who has captured Jennifer's heart in a way unlike any other orphan ever has. 

Jesus whispered, "She is yours."

So along with some red tape that none of us can do anything about...Jennifer needs funding to be able to travel to get this sweet child and attend to her medical and spiritual needs.

Now one of the most AMAZING things is that Jennifer is the CEO of the non-profit ministry Into the Field that exists to serve as servants around the corner and around the world. A huge passion is loving orphans home. Once Jennifer's adoption is FULLY FUNDED then monies will be available for other adoptive families in grants! In other words: IT KEEPS ON GIVING!!! TOO COOL!!

So go here and keep the momentum rolling! Donate to her Razoo link on the sidebar! $15,000 is the number to hit! Ready...set...GO!!!

Join with us as we link arms as a body of Christ to help MORE ORPHANS HOME!!! LINK UP!!

(And please pray for each of our families as we go through the amazing process of adding a children into our families! This is delicate heart work and we need TONS of grace, patience and wisdom from God Himself!!)


What an AMAZING AUCTION we had!!!

I hope you had a chance to look around, bid and delight in all the amazing offerings that were part of the donations. I was truly speechless as I saw all the amazing things that people donated.

I would like to THANK the following amazing people and businesses who helped Toby come home:

Mary Kay products from Tori Tinch www.marykay.com/vtinch

Hair bows Chasity Cole www.etsy.com/shop/AllThingsHis

"Got Love" bag Minus 1 Project www.minus1project.blogspot.com

Jennifer Hunt for the Bundles of Bows (sorry, no website)

Awesome clothing and gift certificate Emmy with Vintage Couture at www.vintagecoutureinc.net/emmy

Fabulous Thirty-one bags from Christy Hill at www.mythirtyone.com/CWHill

Helen Lewis collectible cars (sorry, no website)

Handmade necklace from Heather Hansen at www.etsy.com/shop/thehansenfamily

Metal Africa shapes with hearts cut out from Erika and Nate Johnson (sorry, no website)

Leather cuff from Debbie at www.etsy.com/shop/Dentit

Scarves by April Wade with Created New at www.etsy.com/shop/AprilWade

Unique printables by Mandie Joy at www.etsy.com/shop/echoesofmercy

Mother's necklace from Dawn with Funky Fish at www.funkyfishdesigns.com

Ezra necklace from Megan at www.etsy.com/shop/LifeStitchedTogether

Jewelry from Ashlee at www.fivelittlecranes.com

Shirt and blanket from Mary at www.etsy.com/shop/mybabystarfish

Adoption canvas from Laura at Glory Haus at www.gloryhaus.cameoez.com

Lotion from Chrissy at www.lovemybabycakes.com

Squeaky shoes from Connie Johnson at www.k6comehome.blogspot.com

Please VISIT their sites and patronize their amazing businesses!!!! THANK YOU EVERYONE!!! (and the ones who wouldn't let me thank them publicly!!)

We earned well over $1275 in the bids!! Thank you for your generous donations all you who won and gave over and above!

God is good!! And Toby is coming home!!!!!! :) :) :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lifesong Blogging Update #1

So...I've become a Lifesong for Orphans blogger! Basically, I'm going to use my blog occasionally to pass along updates from Lifesong in their efforts to fulfill James 1:27's command to care for orphans. I am so happy to be able to use this platform to speak up for the fatherless!!

Faith. Family. Home. In caring for orphans, our hope is to instill faith, family and a sense of home deep into the hearts of every child we are blessed to serve. Please enjoy this month's Mission Moment highlighting the fruit of God's work through us.

Baptized in the Name of the ONE True God...

In a country where the worship of many gods is commonplace, lives of children are being changed and transformed by the working of Jesus Christ, the ONE true God. Lifesong India provides homes for almost 600 children who are all being exposed to the gospel of our loving, merciful and kind Father God.
Baptism has always been a powerful symbol of Christianity. This symbol is especially notable in this culture because through this outward testimony of faith, children are publicly turning away from false gods to rely only on Jesus! Witness the baptism of the girls from one of our homes below. Learn more about Lifesong India >>
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38 

Building Children's Home in Guatemala

It's exciting to see the progress of our new orphan care initiative in Guatemala. Construction has started on the family homes that will one day invite orphans with special needs into their doors to give faith, family and a future to children in need. Thanks to many of you for your support in this exciting new project!

GUAT Progress
Please continue to pray for safety and wisdom as construction continues. Learn more about Lifesong Guatemala: Village of Hope >>

Read more about Faith, Family & Home...

Orphans in Ukraine Find Forever Families -- Through Adoption with Borders, like-minded families and churches in the USA connect with Christian families in Ukraine who are seeking to adopt.  Read Full Story

Planting Spiritual Seeds in Liberia -- Our aim is to help children develop a personal relationship with the Lord and to keep that relationship growing.  Read Full Story

Mehesh, A Life Changed -- "I don't want to think about what my life would be like if I didn't have the opportunity to live at that home (Chitty Memorial Home in Lifesong India)..." Read full story

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

An AUCTION!!! For Toby!


Like EVER.

Friends who are also in the middle of their own adoption process...

who have become fully funded...

and have said, "I want to help you!"

So this is what they have done...rallied together and gathered items for an auction!! Special thanks to the mastermind behind it all, Chasity!!! And thanks to EVERYONE who has donated items! :)


Woot woot!!!

This lovely auction will begin TOMORROW February 21 and will close Sunday, February 24th at 4 pm CST.

Want a sneak peak?? Auction items can be viewed here!!!

Just got word--SEVEN more items will be listed soon! Yippie!!!


               SHARE the auction link with your networks

                     PRAY for God's blessing on it

                               and BID on items!!!

Spread the word!!!! You! Go! Share! Now! :) :) :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Calling all Foster and Adoptive Moms!

Mark your calendars for September 6th-8th!!

This is a retreat for foster and adoptive moms! It is sponsored by the Abba Fund and my friend Shelly Roberts who wrote the wonderful devotional for adoptive moms, 31 Nuggets of Hope!

Held in SW Illinois, it should be a central place for many moms to meet up!

With the cost for the conference only $199 (and that includes lodging!)...the only question is...

...who will I get to room with?!

If you are planning on going, send me a message and maybe we can be roomies! :)

Spread the word!

Registration opens March 15th!

Check out all the retreat details yourself by visiting the Reaching Hearts with Hope Retreat site!

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Time to Rest (or else!)

It seems unlikely that NOW it would be time to rest.

But it is.

I have been burning the candle at BOTH ENDS for quite some time now.

My body demands that I rest.

Unfortunately, I haven't been the best at heeding the warning signs...

...and so I crash and burn.
(In the form of getting sick.)

This time though, it wasn't a quick 24 hour thing. It's been longer.

(Just TRY to keep me down longer!!! GRRRR)

But that's is EXACTLY what God has been doing. Not allowing me to just bounce back.

Each day I wake up thinking, "A shower will make me feel better!"

I get out feeling the same and realize,

"No, no, a shower just makes you WET!"

Now I am indeed making progress each day, but as a busy mom of almost 6, it's not nearly the speedy recovery I am expecting!

It's slow and demands long naps each day. Long hours of sleep at night.

I do think there is a lesson here.

My husband  put words to it today for me: "We all appreciate what you do, but you MUST TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Stop doing the work of three people!"

I live intensely. It's REALLY hard to figure out how to dial it back!

But I'm learning that I. SIMPLY. MUST.

I must build margins around the edges of my life. Plan in pauses. Stop pushing myself so hard.

A time is coming VERY SOON when I will need to be cocooning with a new child and all outside activities will cease. It will be time to hold, cuddle, weep, and simple be Momma.




We may leave for China in 3 1/2 weeks. 

There is SO MUCH STRESS associated with that above statement! And yet I must not allow myself to get uptight. I must keep on breathing and take it slowly. I need to pace myself and trust God with the finances that are not yet in.

He's got this.

It's my job to trust Him.

And that's the easy part. He's got the hard part. And He can handle it!

So here I sit less than a month out of meeting my newest son. It appears that although there are many things undone, funds un-raised and empty suitcases...that I've got things the way they need to be.

Praying I can stay this way.

Breathe in.  Breathe out. In. Out. In. Out.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Give 1 Save 1/Happy Chinese New Year!

Yep, it's totally the year of the SNAKE!!!

Happy Chinese New Year! This week EVERYTHING in China is shut down. This is like our American Christmas/New Years holidays. That means everything we are waiting on...is at a halt.

So...what a cool thing to be featured on the Give 1 Save 1 blog this week!
This is a blog run by a sweet woman who has a heart of gold and wants to see orphans come home to their families!

The premise is simple: 
Give $1 and help save a child from a life without a family.

That simple dollar goes not only to help a child home to his or her family, but it also frees up a bed in an orphanage for another child to come in off the streets.

Oh the power of a dollar!!

So this week, CHINESE NEW YEAR WEEK, the blog is featuring our family and all dollars collected will help us finish up the gap to bring Toby home.

We have $6,700 left.

So I have a favor to ask...

...in addition to following the link and reading about us and donating a buck, would you also share this blog post with your networks? Tweet it, blog it, put it on your Facebook...and Instagram it!!

The power of this week can potentially bring $1,000 in!!


Here's what you want to paste places:


How can I thank you enough???

Maybe sweet pictures of Toby in our arms will do the trick! ;) (soon, so soon!!!)

Blessings, dear ones!!!

Oh, and Chun Jie Kuai Le! (Happy Chinese New Year!!)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Prayer Alarms!

Passing on a little tip I learned from sweet Aunt Mary...

Use your smart phone as a tool to instigate prayer in your heart.

That's right.

Technology goes spiritual!! 

Here's what I did after her inspiration:

I set alarms on my iPhone for each of my children and my man.

Using their birth dates, I turned them into times--for example: Oliver's birthday is October 22nd, so I set an alarm for 10:22 am with the note, "Pray for Oliver" to pop up on my phone. I chose a fun drumming sound.

This alarm will repeat daily, so each day at 10:22 am I will be reminded whatever I am doing to pray for Oliver. Obviously, I can pray whatever comes to my mind at that moment or for whatever activity he is currently doing or...I may go find him on the weekends and just hold him and pray for him.

This little handy idea has me shooting up a prayer for my most important people everyday AT LEAST ONCE.

(They truly deserve hours and hours of daily prayer, but if they want lunch, then we are going to settle for these little dart prayers! And yes, it is TOTALLY my goal to be praying for all needs while I do other tasks too...but reality is that I GET DISTRACTED EASILY and these little alarms are perfect for me!)

I've done this for each of my children (yes! including Toby!) and also my husband.

And I've also taken our anniversary and created a "pray for our marriage" alarm as well. I must say, that I haven't spent concentrated time praying about us like this. And really, those little one minute prayers  can really add up...as well as have an impact on my heart.

How easy is it to have the alarm go off, pray for our marriage, then send off a little text message about how I adore him and can't wait for him to come home?

It's the little things.

And so, I thank dear Aunt Mary for modeling prayer using technology for me!

Who knows? Maybe my sweet friends who read here will do it too! What might happen in our lives and marriages if we add just little prayers each day?

I know I can't wait to see!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Feet 2 Our Faith--the bracelet!

Wow! What a gift!!

My new friend from Funky Fish Designs has learned about our family and our adoption and just THIS MORNING has created this awesome bracelet to benefit our adoption!!

They are personalized JUST for us!

Feet 2 Our Faith!


There are only a PRECIOUS FEW available...so if you want one: JUMP!

Cost is $25 which includes shipping.

Use the Paypal button to the side (where it says, "Pay for Clay Necklaces") and indicate that this is for the Feet bracelet.

Proceeds help bring the Tobster HOME!!!

Beautiful Things--Our Story

This is the video that God showed me in my mind while driving to an appointment earlier this week. "Beautiful Things" by Gungor came on the radio...and I watched the story of my life go by.

I was filled with joy and sheer awe. Tears were in my eyes and my heart was bursting!

Sometimes when you are living in a story, you don't always see the big picture!

God put this video together in my mind...and I came home and created what I saw. Special thanks to Brian Bagley for our airport homecoming footage!

As you see, Toby is patiently waiting for us to come for him. We are in the final weeks preparing to travel to bring him home! We still have $8,500 yet to raise in order to travel.

We have been graciously blessed by our church, Crossroads of Wauseon and Lifesong for Orphans, with a matching grant! Every amount given up to our grant will be DOUBLED! All money after that amount will come 100% to our adoption account payable for our adoption expenses. 

Will you prayerfully consider a gift to help us finish the task of bringing Toby home?

You can easily give online using the link on our sidebar: Lifesong for Orphans. Please follow the instructions below the picture.

However, if you would like to avoid the 1.9-2.9% Paypal service fee please write a check directly to Lifesong for Orphans. Your gift is tax deductible.  In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor's suggested use. 
Mail checks to:
Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40
202 N. Ford St.
Gridley, IL 61744
Please write: Preference SHAW 3330 in the memo line.

We are forever grateful for the ways others have helped us fulfill what God has called us to do. In the words of Ashley Moreno,"We have been called to help heal, with God's help, a child who has suffered the profound damage of being unwanted and unloved. We are obediently living out the command given in James 1:27 to care for the orphan, clothing the gospel of Christ's redemption in flesh and blood. We are asking the body of Christ to come alongside us prayerfully and financially...to become part of the miracle of what God is doing!" 

Getting so excited!

Early morning hours I wake and think of Toby. 

I think of the funds we have yet to raise.

I think of to do lists like packing, meals, childcare for the others, itineraries and visas.

And although it was maybe NOT the smartest use of wee-morning-hour-wakings...I made a word cloud!

You can make one of your own on the tagxedo site too! Would love to see what you come up with! :)

...Is it naptime yet?

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