Thursday, January 22, 2015

I Woke Up...




 Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!  Psalm 106:1

This morning I woke up to ...

*Dishes scattered (not stacked) along every square inch of counter space, because that's the way they were when we left the house yesterday morning for an all-day doctor's appointment, got home just in time for kids' after school snack and left again for church, only to return for all-around bath time and last-minute homework

*Three bathrooms screaming for cleaning

*One load of clean towels on the kitchen table (thank goodness, because the bathroom cabinets are empty)

*At least ten loads of dirty laundry

*Enough crunchies on the floor to make me grit my teeth

*A Bible study to complete

*An unfinished sewing project on the kitchen table (opposite end of the laundry)

*Stacks of paperwork in order of priority on my desk

*A transcript needing final proofreading

*Two phone calls to be returned

*One dental appointment to be made

*One prescription to be picked up

*One birthday to prepare for

Are you right there with me?  I feel better knowing I'm not alone :/

We are conquerors!  Because we woke up...and we got up!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

I used to go to bed with the dishes done and put away, and ditto for the laundry.

I guess that was before I had a preschooler at home, six kids to get on the bus, one to pray off to high school, one to pray off to college, one to pray for in job training, one to pray for in marriage, and one to pray home from China.

So, I got up and praised the Lord.  I ignored all the things I really longed to have done yesterday and went instead to my Bible study.  Because while tidying up the outside does bring some calm to the chaotic inside, cleansing the inside brings the strength to change the outside in due time.

It is in vain that you rise up early
    and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
    for he gives to his beloved sleep.  Psalm 127:2



Lord, help me to put the first things first, without grumbling and complaining.  Help me to keep You first, and give me strength to do what comes next.  May You alone be glorified.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Would You Partner With Us to Bring Kohlby Home and Help Families in Haiti?

Realistically, we are 4 to 6 weeks till travel!!!

We've been praying for a fundraiser that would, first and foremost, honor the Lord, and secondly, that we would be so excited to share that you might want to join us!

Here it is!
Pay-It-Forward Bracelet Fundraiser FAQ

*So, what exactly are you doing?
We're offering the handmade bracelets to you!
*How much are they?
You can choose the amount you wish to give and the number of bracelets you want to receive.
*Why are you calling it Pay-It-Forward?
That's the coolest part! It will cost us a certain amount per bracelet, but if we can reach our $8000 goal, we will give an additional 10% of all proceeds to the Apparent Project.  So your gift is two-fold: it helps bring a former orphan from China home to his family, AND it provides hope to families in Haiti!
*Where can I give?
The "Donate" Button on the sidebar will allow you to choose the $ amount and number of bracelets.


More beautiful bracelets




The mission of the Apparent Project:
"To keep families together... Besides redeeming family situations, the Apparent Project artisan guild is dedicated to redeeming creation and cleaning up Haiti's landscapes through producing unique 'upcycled' artisan goods."

Apparent Project- Beauty Changes Things from Corrigan Clay on Vimeo.


Would you join us?  
And feel free to share this.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Where We Were; Where We Are; Where We Will Be


We've had a crazy couple of months.  In fact, as I reflect on 2014, it's been a pretty wild ride. 

I'm so excited to share where we are now, and where we will be very soon!

We are literally weeks from traveling to bring Kohlby home.  Our Article 5 will be picked up on January 29, and then we'll be awaiting Travel Approval.  TA came in 3 days last time.  While I'm not anticipating that happening again, we know it's possible.

We have seen God's hand in every step of this process, from moving us to say "Yes" to providing the dollars as they were needed.  I know I've said it before, but we didn't have any funds to start the adoption process.  Yet, we knew we were to move forward in faith.  
Trusting.  
Abiding.  
Praising.

He is so faithful to Himself!  Only He could have orchestrated what I'm about to share with you.  Back in June the Lord placed our family on the heart of an adoptive mama (JH), unbeknownst to us.  That mama contacted another adoptive mama (LP), letting her know that we were fundraising our way back to China.  The second mama recommended our family for prospective sponsorship to her friend and business owner (FS).  *I'm sorry for the anonymity, but we have promised not to share names, and these folks know who they are*
We submitted an application for sponsorship, and in July received the call that we were accepted!

There was no specific amount promised, only that the business would send a portion of its proceeds to our agency as they became available.  They sponsor adoption-specific funds, excluding airfare, lodging, meals and costs incurred if the trip were a vacation.

We presumed it would total a 'typical' grant amount of $3000.  Can I just tell you that it has far exceeded that amount, and the Lord has worked beyond our imagination through FS!  They are still sending funds to our agency almost weekly.

Neither we nor this business knew that our boat would be rocked in October when Clayton was involved in an accident that would whittle our budget to a frayed shoestring and distract us from fundraising BUT would cause us to rest in the Lord as we took care of first things first.  

*Update on my hardworking man*  I'm so proud of him for following doctor's orders and taking the necessary time to heal.  He was making an incredible recovery, and appeared he would not need either the skin or bone graft.  Recovery took a bit of a turn Wednesday, and the short story is that we will know Tuesday if additional surgery is needed to remove the hardware which has caused infection.  We would truly appreciate your prayers for healing!

In December another amazing family told us they'd been praying about how to give toward our adoption, and the Lord led them to give the orphanage donation: $5700!

And here's where we are: With weeks till we travel, we've put a pencil to paper and estimated that we are still $8000 short in funds.

For weeks we've been praying for the Lord to show us what our part is in raising the last funds.  For weeks the answer has been "rest."  

Then, a few days ago we felt peace about sharing our need and getting to work.

The next day another adoptive mama shared a fundraiser with me.  The more I read about it, the more it touched my heart.  But that wasn't quite enough to move forward.  

Because we don't just want to receive; we want to give.

And then the Lord revealed exactly what we are to do.  We have chosen the Apparent Project!  whose mission is: 
"To keep families together... Besides redeeming family situations, the Apparent Project artisan guild is dedicated to redeeming creation and cleaning up Haiti's landscapes through producing unique 'upcycled' artisan goods."





Pay-It-Forward Bracelet Fundraiser FAQ

*So, what exactly are you doing?
We're offering the handmade bracelets to you!
*How much are they?
You can choose the amount you wish to give and the number of bracelets you want to receive.
*Why are you calling it Pay-It-Forward?
That's the coolest part! It will cost us a certain amount per bracelet, but if we can reach our $8000 goal, we will give an additional 10% of all proceeds to the Apparent Project.  So your gift is two-fold: it helps bring a former orphan from China home to his family, AND it provides hope to families in Haiti!
*Where can I give?
The PayPal Button in the sidebar will allow you to choose the $ amount and number of bracelets.





We want to praise God for all He has done in our adoption journey, for stretching us and growing our faith, and we want to thank Him in advance for providing all we will need to get our boy home!

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:18

 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Word for 2014 ~ GROWTH

One thing's for certain: we don't have time to get bored!
 In 2014 we experienced growth like never before, both physically and spiritually.
 In 2013 I was blessed to participate in a study of the Book of Hebrews...which would last through the end of 2014.  God so timely brought this study to me, as 2014 was filled with unexpected twists and turns for our family, but we were reminded that He never loses sight of us, is sovereign over ALL, and will give us the strength to run the race with perseverance.  We praise Him for that!

We celebrated many birthdays ~ 13, to be exact ~ starting with Daddy's in January.


In February we had snow, beautiful snow!
 And we celebrated Chinese New year!
(Kennah, Khloie, Kooper, Kasidi, Kayden, Kaeleb, Kinley, Kambry)
 There was prom - which I missed because we had a surgery.


We have so many reasons to celebrate...

We said "Yes" to bringing another treasure home!  Hello, Kohlby Zane!


 In May we celebrated Kolton's high school graduation!  He has completed his first semester of college and starts the second semester next week.  We are so proud of you, son! 


Daddy tried teaching the littles to pull their weight in the farming operation ;-) 
Praise be to God, we had our best sweet corn harvest yet!


 But before that, in June we celebrated...

 Kuyler and Caitlin's wedding!  We are so blessed to have such a darling sister and daughter in our family!
 Kolton and Allie got engaged, and in May 2015 we will add another beautiful daughter and sister to our family!

As a graduation and wedding gift, we took the family on a much-needed retreat with our amazing friends, the Smith family!

And four days later, Kasidi Joy had major surgery, which of course, she took like a rock star!

We had homecoming.

Celebratory steps in the adoption process!  Two months from now we will likely have Kohlby home!


 We've enjoyed LOTS of food!  This mama spends much time in the kitchen...and the laundry room.

 We spent time with cousins on their beautiful new place!


Kolton went on missions to Costa Rica!

One of the unexpected twists this year was when our precious friend (and like a daughter to me), Kaylee was in an accident that left her clinging to life.  The Lord drew us nearer to Himself, to one another and challenged our faith.  Kaylee's parents were an example of prayerfulness and faith.  Praise God, Kaylee has made a full recovery!

And who knew that our family would be challenged as well.  Clayton was in a serious accident that landed us in the hospital 15 days.  He is still at home recovering, but we believe he will make a full recovery as well and will be walking independently when we travel for Kohlby.  This event has left us completely dependent upon the Lord, who is always faithful, has grown our faith and changed our perspective.  Trust me when I say that God is good, all the time!

We have spent much time hunkering down as a family!

We've watched Kenzie play a ton of softball, summer, fall and spring!  She is a senior, after all!


 We are now watching a ton of basketball as well!  Trying to enjoy every second before she graduates!

Celebrating Adoption, the gift of salvation, and God's provision in bringing my friend, Stefanie's, Clementine Joy Home!

14 stockings is such a beautiful sight to me!  I love each and every treasure represented here!

S'long 2014!


As for 2015, I want read (the Bible) diligently, pray fervently, love with abandon and live fearlessly.

In the words of Jonathan Edwards, 
"Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so.
and
Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
and
Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life."

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Soup's On!

Not gonna lie, I love soup!  It's one of the few things I like about winter.  Seriously, give me 80 degrees any day.  But since it's now below 20 degrees, I will survive with soup!

My family prefers the meatier meal-in-a-pot soups, but I love veggies, so I make cabbage soup once a week and reheat a bowl for myself whenever I need a boost.  I love the texture and taste of the veggies, and it's packed with nutrition.  My friend Christina got me hooked on it, and here's my tweaked recipe:

Cabbage Soup
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup celery, diced (I reduced this from the original recipe)
1 cup white onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
3 tsp garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
14 oz basil, oregano, garlic diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large soup pan over medium heat.  Add celery, onion and carrots, and saute until slightly tender.  Stir in garlic.  Pour in chicken broth.  Stir in tomatoes and cabbage.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cooking until cabbage is tender.  Stir in oregano, salt and pepper.  Enjoy!
*Add other veggies and seasonings to your liking!*

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry CHRISTmas

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 ESV

Monday, December 15, 2014

News and More News!

*UPDATE ~ we have a winner!
Again, thank you to everyone who entered and shared this giveaway!  It wouldn't be a success without YOU!  YOU gave 463.50, and paid $250 for the gift card, so we are now $213.50 closer to bringing Kohlby home!!!
Congratulations, Jo Moseley, on winning the gift card!  We are so thankful for you.  It should be in your inbox about NOW!!!

To Him be glory!!!

Before it comes to an end at 6 pm CT tonight, I want to thank everyone who has participated in our $250 Amazon gift card drawing!  There's still time until 6 pm tonight to enter using the PitchInBox in the upper right-hand sidebar of this blog.
*just click on "PitchIn!" in the lower left-hand corner of the widget to enter*
$10 for 1 shot; $20 for 3 shots.
The card will be issued in digital format TONIGHT!

Then our online auction ends at 7 pm CT!
If you haven't had a chance to check it out, you may do so at 
Elisabeth has done a fabulous job of adding items daily, and I am so thankful for her hosting this event for us!  Also, a big thank you to everyone who has graciously donated items, bid and shared our auction.
It wouldn't be a success without YOU!


And finally, the reason we are working hard to raise funds ~
We have LOA!!!!
We received the call Friday, and it was overnighted to us but wouldn't arrive until today so we drove 2 hours to the FedEx hub and signed and returned it Saturday!
We are 2.5 to 3 months from holding Kohlby!!!
There's a lot of Christmas celebration, wedding planning, sweet corn prep and basketball between now and then :) 

We praise YOU, Father!!!


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