Friday, September 30, 2016

Chasing Time

I've been chasing time but can't seem to catch it. It just slips through my fingers like sand in an hourglass.  August is our crazy month.  A whole host of homeschooling families, co-ops and schools wait until the last minute to get their books for the year.  Between non-stop phone calls, an e-mail box that fills as fast as we can empty it and orders that need to be filled, we hardly have time to breathe.

Rob is under the gun writing the second book in our newest series. It is supposed to be finished in January.  He writes 10 plus hours a day with me trying to scratch out time to edit behind him.

But that is just a small part of busy. 

School started for the little boys in August and with that teaching duties. This year I am there teaching history three afternoons a week.  Add being a mom, cooking, laundry and cleaning a house which has become the last thing on the to do list. 

September brought with it more teaching duties.  At the homeschooling co-op I teach six classes every Monday.... my hourglass shattered a few weeks ago.

It's too many hats and I haven't been wearing any of them well.

Last week I had a convention in South Carolina.

It was a different convention.  The kind where you aren't working every single minute. The kind where your hotel room is right on the beach and you can sit in the early morning and watch the sun wake up over the ocean. The kind where you get an entire afternoon to go down to the water and swim.  The kind where you can sit on the beach and read.  The kind where you can take a break from the one little boy who has drained every ounce of energy from your body. The kind where you can sit and relax and pray and allow the Lord to whisper peace into your tired soul. The kind where you have with you a dear friend who not only is helping you work the convention but giving you space to rest. The kind where you come to the end of the few days away ready to go back home again. 

Back into the arms of my husband who loves me best of all. Back to my family who I love with all my being.

We are in an intense season in our lives.

Some days we love it. We love writing, teaching and parenting our former lost boys. Other days we wish we could back up time to when Rob was building houses and I was homeschooling, babysitting and selling junk on e-bay to make money. It was much simpler then.

But not really.

I don't really want to go back.

I do love writing. I love our business. I love our little boys. I love all that they have brought into our lives. Even the hard.  Even the exhausting.

I just sometimes need to take a break.

And sometimes I need to be reminded that my hard is nothing compared to the hard of others.

This week the Blooms had it confirmed to them that their Daisy who is across the ocean waiting for them will not be moved to where Lee and Violet live. This is what they have been counting on for the entire adoption.  With all three kiddos in the same institute, they don't have to pay for the extra orphanage fees.  Unfortunately, Daisy is too far away from Lee and Violet for her process to be lumped together with them.  Thus, she has to have a separate adoption process. 

Amos is already in a different region.  They were already going to pay extra for him.

What do they do?

Leave Daisy behind?

Leave Amos?

Leave Lee and/or Violet?


Or fight like mad to raise the extra funds to get all four?

They were 8,000 short before finding out this news.

Now they are 17,000.00 short.

That's hard.  That's exhausting.

My hard and exhausting doesn't even compare to that hard and exhausting.

I wish I had a big fat check I could write to them to take that hard and exhausting off the table.

All I can do is yell. And pray. And pray some more.

If there is a donor or two or ten or twenty out there who is realizing that their giving this year is way off from what they have been making... this family....

They are worth the investment.

Four children.

Every single one of them desperately needing to get out.

I know that many many of you dug deep in July to help me raise close to $12,000 dollars for the Blooms. 

I'm asking again.

Just read a few of these blogposts to understand why I care so much.  Go HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE.

The Bloom's Reece's Rainbow account is HERE where you can donate.

Their blog is HERE.

One of the things you will notice on their blog is that the vast majority of the blog is NOT DEDICATED to fundraising. Seriously? When you are short on funds... shouldn't you be writing post after post begging for money?

Go read their blog. Yes a few of the posts lay out their need.  But the vast majority of the posts are dedicated to advocating for the Least of These.  Just read through the blogposts and you will get a tiny glimpse into where the Blooms put their focus.  They care from the deepest part of their being for the children languishing in cribs and institutes across Eastern Europe and Asia.  It's why I am here in Virginia yelling alongside of them.  I love their hearts.

I love their passion.

Not many are out there yelling for crib-bound mental-institute-bound babes. 

Not many are willing to go rescue FOUR who are all destined to spend the rest of their existence locked away in mental institutes.

They are.

I know I am not the only tired and weary mama, business owner, teacher, cook, writer and/or housekeeper out there. I know that there are many of us who are trying to catch time and losing the race.

Can we stop racing for a few minutes and pray for the Blooms? Can we stop racing and see if there is anything we can do to help ease their financial strain? Can we stop racing and join voices with them in shouting for the Least of These?


Pray wherever you are.

Thank you!

And now back to chasing time....

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Battered Suitcase Battered Lives

They are alone.
Out in the world with their battered suitcases.
Yesterday they were given their walking papers.  The gates that had contained them for so many years were flung open and they were escorted out.
These were not criminals.  They were not freed from behind bars.
They are orphans.
Just 15 or 16 or 17 years old.
Immature. Untrained.  Most of them completely lacking in knowing how to make good choices. Experts in manipulation, lying, cheating and stealing. Experts in surviving on the inside. 
They have few options.
Some will wander back to the families that abandoned them to the system.  Some will enter trade schools that are woefully ill-equipped to do more than just teach them a job that they are too often ill-prepared to master. Many will be swallowed up into the dark world of trafficking and slavery. Others will turn to drugs for solace. Many will steal to survive. Most of those will find themselves back behind gates that are locked forever. Some will seek escape through suicide.
Only a few survive. Only a few.
That is the realty.
Of the hundreds of orphans who were let out on the streets yesterday with their battered suitcases, the vast majority will shipwreck.  They will be battered by the waves of life and crash and burn on the shore.
There are some who work around the clock to rescue these battered kids.
There are ministries who do whatever they can to support them, train them, equip them to survive in the outside world.
These are a few ministries. There are more.
But the flood of battered suitcases coming out of those orphanages is overwhelming.
There are so many.
And not enough.
It's not enough, church.
It's not enough.
Please find a way to get involved.
Educate yourself. Educate your church.
Give to a ministry that is actively involved in orphan care. 
Get involved. Go. Minister.
Find a place at your table.
Yesterday in the van, while we were waiting for their favorite Papa in the whole world to come out of the mechanics shop, my two little boys and I talked about those battered suitcases. We remembered the orphans. We discussed the world they left behind.
Yesterday I rejoiced that two little boys in my world are safe and secure in our family.
Today I grieve the hundreds. I grieve the thousands.
I grieve the battered suitcases. I grieve the battered lives.
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
    uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 82:3-4

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Back from Italy

I gave them my camera.
I told them to take lots and lots and lots of pictures!!
And they did... they took lots of pictures of buildings...
and statutes...
And famous Domes...

And inside churches....
And outside churches....

and stuff in museums....
Beautiful pictures. Wonderful pictures.....
Pictures full of stories they will tell and many that are definitely going in our books.
But not ONE... NOT ONE PICTURE OF THEM.... Not one picture of Ben or Elijah or Rob in the entire lot!!
Insert banging head against the wall!!
These two are happy though because Papa brought them some cool shirts that they wore to school today!
At least I know how to take pictures of PEOPLE!!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Today is YOUR Day!

12 years old.
Happy Birthday, Aaron!
We had to celebrate on Sunday before the big boys left for Italy.
You didn't care.
Cake. Presents.
 A special double birthday celebration with your cousin at a local restaurant.

Celebrating early was fine with you.

But today is really your day.
 Happy Birthday, sweet boy.
I love you to the moon and back!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Italy, Italy!

He's been scruffy man ever since he agreed to be Reuben in the Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat musical.
24 years married and he never had a beard until now. 

Yes. I thought it was cute.
Yes. I'm glad to have my smooth-faced husband back now that the show is over.
But I didn't get to enjoy his clean-shaven face for long.
Right after we took these pictures...
These three hit the road.
Little boys were a bit sad about their leaving..
So was I...

This morning they landed in Italy for a 9 day fast blitz across the country. Their welcome to Italy was a cab driver who promised them a smooth ride from airport to hotel.  Smooth except that he drove like the Mafia was chasing him and then he dropped them off on the wrong street.  Poor jet-lagged, car-sick men had to walk the streets of Italy trying to find their hotel! 
Considering where they are and what they get to do for the next 9 days... I only feel a TINY bit sorry for them!
Little boys and I are going to enjoy easy dinners, lots of Olympics and the start of the school year....

Friday, August 5, 2016

Friday Family and Missing Winners

I love this little girl.  Rob and I fell in love with her when she was first listed on RR. She's a tiny little warrior with a condition that means she isn't going to have a long life. That's a HUGE STRIKE against her in the adoption world. I mean - who is crazy enough to raise the ransom to adopt a child knowing that her life expectancy is short. Knowing that they are going to love and then lose.  Who does that?? 
How about a family who understands her condition in a very intimate and personal way because they have two children of their own who share the same diagnosis??  How about THAT kind of family
I wish I could do another giveaway on here.
I wish I had another whole round of prizes and I wish we all had deep deep pockets because this little girl's family isn't just adopting her but two others and all three children are in three separate regions which makes the road even harder for them. 
One of those children is aging out. Thankfully they have all they need to adopt him.

One of those children is blind and is heading for the mental institute at the end of the summer because she failed the 4 year old test. Blind children do not get to ever pass that test.  Ever.
They do NOT have the money to adopt her. 
And Elizabeth. They do NOT have the money to adopt her.
They need 22,000 to adopt both girls.
Right now they are focused on raising the ransom for Elizabeth.  Then they will work on raising the ransom for Beth.
How in the world can they leave Beth behind???
I wish I had cattle on a thousand hills.
I wish.
I know I have asked and begged and pleaded for you to help the Blooms. And you were AMAZING.  And you helped raise the ransom for OTTO and that was amazing.  P.S. HE STILL NEEDS A FAMILY!!
But I can't just ignore this family because if they can't raise the ransom then they will have to leave a babe behind.  Three children in three different regions is a big mountain to climb.
So I am sharing them today. If your pockets have anything in them, two little girls will be eternally grateful!  Neither of them want to be left behind.



 9.  PICK A FAMILY - Value $50.00 Juliette Bullock
 10.  PICK A CHILD - Value $50.00 Shannon Wilde
20.  CROSS LAP QUILT - Value $70.00 Kara Wolf
21.   BAIT AND TACKLE PILLOW - Value $15.00 Anastasia Ramsey
23.   DESSERT HEAVEN PILLOW - Value $15.00 Errin Mills
25.   ROAD WORKERS PILLOW - Value $15.00 Heidi Stoll
26.   HANDMADE AFGHAN - Value $60.00 Stori Wann
27.   NEW - THIRTY ONE BAG - Value $28 Heidi Stoll 


36.   CHILD'S PURSE - Value $10.00 Kalee Magnani
 39.   PINK BRACELET FROM UGANDA- Value $7.00  Angeline VanHalle
 41.   DELICATE PEACH NECKLACE FROM UGANDA- Value $10.00  Stori Wann
 42.   COLORFUL DOUBLE NECKLACE FROM UGANDA- Value $15.00  Joel Durham
 43.   SILVER EARRINGS FROM UGANDA- Value $5.00  Karen Strong
 44.   HANGING BEADS NECKLACE FROM UGANDA- Value $15.00  Rebecca Adams
 53. STORY OF THE WORLD AUDIOBOOK - Volume 4 - Value $25.00 Angie Robshaw

WINNERS NEED TO E-MAIL ME your name and address at - Put the item you won IN THE SUBJECT LINE of the e-mail. 
Make sure to put the item won in the subject line.  If you won multiple items... Send me an e-mail for each item!!  Don't forget name and address in the e-mail!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Did YOU Win??

This is it.... the winner's list...
Of course the REAL winners are the 5 children who this benefitted.
All numbers were drawn using Random.Org. Prizes were distributed in order from #1-#53

WINNERS NEED TO E-MAIL ME your name and address at - Put the item you won IN THE SUBJECT LINE of the e-mail. 
Make sure to put the item won in the subject line.  If you won multiple items... Send me an e-mail for each item!!  Don't forget name and address in the e-mail!!

 Value $836.00
Missy Voigts
  2.  AMAZON GIFT CARD- Value $300.00 Darla Messenger
3.  NEW NINJA MEGA KITCHEN SYSTEM - Value $230.00 Carol Hill Miller
4.  A NEW AMAZON ECHO - Value $180.00 Blythe Toyaards
 5.  A WORKING TRAIN TRACK - Value $120.00+ Naomi Herr
 6.  NEW AMAZON FIRE - KID'S EDITION - Value $99.00 Andrea Gariepy
 7.  AMAZON GIFT CARD- Value $25.00 Frankie Miller
8.  AMAZON GIFT CARD- Value $25.00 Colleen Lin

 9.  PICK A FAMILY - Value $50.00 Juliette Bullock
 10.  PICK A CHILD - Value $50.00 Shannon Wilde
 11.  PICK A CHILD OR FAMILY - Value $30.00 Ben H. 
 12.  TGI FRIDAY GIFT CARD- Value $50.00 Yvonne Opp
 13.  TARGET GIFT CARD - Value $15.00 Ben H.
 14.  NEW LOVE CROSSES BORDERS SIGN - Value $189.00 Becki Little
 15.  NEW FLOWER POWER LAP QUILT - Value $70.00 Amanda Lemons-McQuinn
 16.  LOVE, HOPE PEACE LAP QUILT - Value $70.00  Yvonne Opp
 17.  SPRING IS IN THE AIR LAP QUILT - Value $70.00 Colleen Lin
 18.  SCRIPTURE LAP QUILT - Value $70.00  Beth Whiteley
 19.  PURPLE SONG BIRD LAP QUILT - Value $70.00 Katie Opitz
20.  CROSS LAP QUILT - Value $70.00 Kara Wolf
21.   BAIT AND TACKLE PILLOW - Value $15.00 Anastasia Ramsey
22.   MATH IS FOR LOVERS PILLOW - Value $15.00 Tammy Enberg
23.   DESSERT HEAVEN PILLOW - Value $15.00 Errin Mills
24.   RAINING CATS AND DOGS PILLOW - Value $15.00 Julie Ensor
25.   ROAD WORKERS PILLOW - Value $15.00 Heidi Stoll
26.   HANDMADE AFGHAN - Value $60.00 Stori Wann
27.   NEW - THIRTY ONE BAG - Value $28 Heidi Stoll 
 28.   AMERICAN EAGLE PURSE - Value $25.00  Stephanie Swanson
29.   COACH CLUTCH PURSE - Value $45.00 Elaine Hardwick
30.   EXPRESS PURSE - Value $30.00 Paula Dolin
31.   BANANA REPUBLIC PURSE - Value $40.00 Christa Zellar
32.   HANDMADE MEMORY BOX - Value $10.00 Susanna Musser
   35.   NEW TODDLER CROCHETED HAT - Value $10.00 Paula Dolin
36.   CHILD'S PURSE - Value $10.00 Kalee Magnani
 37.   NEW EARRINGS- Value $10.00 Julie Ensor
38.   YELLOW BRACELET FROM UGANDA- Value $7.00  Eric H.
 39.   PINK BRACELET FROM UGANDA- Value $7.00  Angeline VanHalle
 40.   MULTICOLORED BRACELET FROM UGANDA- Value $10.00  Carolyn Johnson
 41.   DELICATE PEACH NECKLACE FROM UGANDA- Value $10.00  Stori Wann
 42.   COLORFUL DOUBLE NECKLACE FROM UGANDA- Value $15.00  Joel Durham
 43.   SILVER EARRINGS FROM UGANDA- Value $5.00  Karen Strong
 44.   HANGING BEADS NECKLACE FROM UGANDA- Value $15.00  Rebecca Adams
 45.   PINK DOUBLE NECKLACE FROM UGANDA- Value $10.00 Britta McCarthy
47. WHITE UKRAINE SHIRT - Value $10.00 Leah Hardwick
 48. "LITTLE RED HEN" SOAP - Value $10.00 Holly Huntley

49.  RAINBOW RESOURCE GIFT CARD - Value $75.00 Christa Zellar
50. BIBLIOPLAN BUNDLE - Value $150.00 - $200.00 Rene Runner
51. BIBLIOPLAN: REMEMBER THE DAYS, MEDIEVAL DAYS: BOOK TWO - History for Junior Readers - Value $49.95 Taylor Tots
  52. STORY OF THE WORLD AUDIOBOOK - Volume 3 - Value $25.00 Susanna Musser
 53. STORY OF THE WORLD AUDIOBOOK - Volume 4 - Value $25.00 Angie Robshaw

WINNERS NEED TO E-MAIL ME your name and address at - Put the item you won IN THE SUBJECT LINE of the e-mail. 
Make sure to put the item won in the subject line.  If you won multiple items... Send me an e-mail for each item!!  Don't forget name and address in the e-mail!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Blown Away!

I'm am sitting here this morning blown away by God.
When we decided to do this giveaway I wrestled with how to pray. Otto started with NOTHING in his grant account when I first blogged about him.  The Blooms needed over 23,000 dollars to fund their adoption.
I'm a bit on the wimpy side when it comes faith stuff.  I never want to limit God but I also am terrified to come out and state outright what I am begging Him to do. I never even posted on the blog what I was hoping and praying this giveaway would do.
I'm a coward that way.
Want to know what I was praying and hoping for??

I wanted Otto to reach $1,000 in his grant account.  That was my BIG prayer.  That was my FAITH-STRETCHING PRAYER!
Did you see his  grant account????????
That's well over four times my prayer!!! 
My BIGGER prayer for Otto is that a family would FIND HIM.  God hasn't answered that prayer yet, so I am staying in front of the throne and begging the Lord because Otto may look big in the pictures but he is just a teeny tiny little boy who needs tender loving care.  
Those who know him and have held him say he weighs about 20 lbs.  Twenty pounds.  He's 9 years old this year and weighs 20 lbs.  Please Please Please Mama step up!!
My prayer for the Blooms was BIG.  It was truly a Faith-Stretching prayer.  They needed over 23,000 to be fully funded and so raising $1,000 in their grant account was not going to come close to touching that need.
So I prayed big. 
I asked the Lord for $10,000 for the Blooms.
I wanted our little Giveaway to move in hearts enough so that they would have their financial burden eased by $10,000.00.
I honestly didn't think we would reach $10,000.
I figured that between the Blooms AND Otto we MAY POSSIBLY get to $10,000 but just that much to the Blooms alone.... HUGE prayer of faith.
Oh me of little faith!!!
I don't know how many of you APOLOGIZED for your little gifts. Are you serious?? Your gifts - whether 5, 50 or 1,000 are NOT little.  They are beautiful offerings before the Lord and He took them and He did BIG THINGS with them.
Thank you to each of you. And thank you to those who gave and didn't tell me.  Thank you!
Tammy, Karen, Lesley, Brianne, Lin, Emilie, Nicole, Danielle, Rebecca, Amanda, Jamie, Holly, Naomi, Stephanie, Keshia, Leah, Tammy, Lorene, Anne, Jaime, Dana, Elaine, Kara, Anonymous, Anastasia, Teresa, Mary, Becki, Cyndi, Blythe, Carolyn, Casey, Osborn, Kim, Peter, Deb, Mary, Karen, Kim, Lindsay, Joseph, Stephanie, Clint, Stephanie, Beth, Eric, Ben, Seana, Chris, Bethany, Stori, Lisa, Frankie, Rob, Jennifer, Amber, Beth, Missy, Teresa, Alicia, Rachel, Brian, Victoria, Erika, Gene, Carolyn, Michelle, Audrey, Susan, Lexii, Julia, Regan, David, Stef, Delisa, Keely, Mrs. Post, Amy, Amy, Heidi, Errin, Paula, Aaron, Jennifer, Angie, Darla, Jenny, Yvonne, Andrea, Debby, Christa, Christina, Susanna, Colleen, Christopher, Stefanie, Daniel, Robert, Juliette, Holly, Alicia, Kim, Cassie, Laura Anne, Molly, Kristina, Tammie, Tonia, Carol, Jenny, Michelle, Judith, Renee, Susanna, Ron, Vivian, Hanna, Luba, Leah, Beth Ann, Jeannie, Joel, Dawn, Kaitlyn, Gretchen, Amanda, Ann, Britta, Angeline, Pam, Anne, Christiana, Dana, Trish, Annette, Kathy, Erika, Sharon, Nicole, Debbie, Julie, Carla, Tracy, Kameron, Jenika, Mark, Lea Ann, Katie, Taylor, Lisa, Adrienne, Ronnie, Rene, Tammie, Lucille, Staci, Amanda, Julie, Karen, Kalee, Tiffany, Annette, Molly, Amanda, Trisha, Shannon, Sherri, Micheala, Karla, Beth, Martha, Jessica, Colleen, Sarah, Cayla, Mary
The coolest part is that God used 5 shadow children who have been hidden away all their lives in institutes across the ocean - He used them to break hearts.  Each person who donated and each person who prayed and each person who shared - their hearts were touched by these 5 shadow children.
I cry just typing that.
I lose my words when I consider how much He loves these 5 lost babes. Their cries in their cribs do not fall on deaf ears. He has raised up a family for 4 of them. He tenderly watches over the one who waits. He is well aware of the plight of the orphans around this world and He is moving and stirring hearts to hear their cries.  Whether you can adopt, pray, give, share - everyone can take part. 
Otto. Violet, Amos, Lee, Daisy
They would thank you if they could.
I'm thanking you for them.
I will be drawing names later today and will announce winners tomorrow so stay tuned.....
If you didn't have a chance to give...
The Blooms still need $11,484.00 to be fully funded.
Every 5.00 matters. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Watch Me, Mama!

We live in a pool-less country so unless we go to a nearby gated community to swim at their pool or lake or go down to the river, we are left to our own devices on hot summer days.  A recent trip to Sam's Club with two little boys in tow found them drooling over a cheap pool.  They begged. Please, Mama.  Please! 

They were pleading so hard people in the store were watching me to see what I was going to do.
I caved.

I bought them a cheap, vacuum-needed blow-up pool.

They were overjoyed.

We set it up next under my office window so I could easily work and watch them at play.

It's cheap.  It has three sections and after the first day the first section refuses to retain air for more than an hour or so.

They don't care.

It's a pool. It's fun.

And did I say it was right under my office window?

Right under my window so that every few minutes they are yelling for me to look.  Mama!!  Mom!  MOM!!! Open the window, Mama! See what we can do!!

Every few minutes I get the inconvenience privilege of stopping my work to watch two very silly boys show me their antics.

Mama!! Watch Me!!

Watch me!!

I watch. I laugh. I close the window. I try to get some work done until they call again. And again.  And again. Open the window. Watch me, Mama. Watch me.

Watch me! Notice me.

Nothing they show me isn't something I haven't already seen a thousand times before but it doesn't matter.  It really doesn't matter. They want to be seen and I cannot ignore their pleas.

It's a universal cry. Children from the beginning of time have been begging their parents to watch them.

Watch me!

See me!

Take pleasure in what I do. 

There are five Shadow Children in this Giveaway who are wasting away in institutes across the ocean with the cry of their heart unmet.  They have been overlooked for so long. They have no one to watch them and take delight in their silly antics.

Thankfully, for four of these children, those cries will be heard soon.  Amos. Daisy. Lee. Violet.

Soon they will be showing off to two people who will never tire of watching them do their tricks over and over and over again. It's what you do as parents. It's what they need.

One little boy has yet to find a family who loves him best of all. One little boy is crying in his heart to be noticed.  Watched. Seen.  Right now his cries are falling on deaf ears. 

Does anyone out there SEE Otto??
 We have one day left. 

This Giveaway ends on Monday night.

If you are putting it off until the last minute.... IT'S TIME TO GIVE!!!


Raised so far: $12,266.00

Bloom Family - $8,207.00
They need 15,576.00 more to be fully funded.
Otto - $4,059.00

To see the full giveaway CLICK HERE..