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 :)
UPDATE ~ Here's the link to Elisabeth's online auction that runs from December 8 to December 15, 8 p.m. CST. Bringing Kohlby Home My friend Elisabeth is hosting an on-line auction on Facebook to help us bring Kohlby home, and it's going live tomorrow, December 8!!! It is with thankful and humble hearts that we ask if you have a unique item you'd be willing to donate for this auction. I know, it's right before Christmas, and everyone is so busy. But our little guy will be without his family this Christmas, and we are willing to work as hard as we can to get him home once we are granted final approval from China. The auction will run for one week, and we can add new items throughout. If you have an item you wish to donate, you may comment or emailme. Also, would you be willing to ship the item to the winning bidder? Maybe you can help us in one of these ways: *prayer (always, always need that!) *donating an item *bidding on items We are so grateful, and we praise God in advance for what He will do through this auction!!! Once the auction goes live, I'll post the link.
So, please don't tell me you're finished shopping! And if you are that together, don't tell me :) But, seriously, if you're like me, you've made your kids stay off the computer this week because you've kept the Amazon tab open! So how about a shot at wrapping up your shopping with a $250 Amazon gift card? We found out today that our dossier is in the final stage before LOA!!! I've gotta admit that my heart is beating a little faster now, even though we're still at least 3 months from travel.
How can you enter the drawing for the gift card?
*Use the PitchInBox in the right sidebar or email me for other options.
*$10 gets you 1 shot *$20 gets you 3 shots *Each blog, FB, IG share gets an additional shot *Runs from December 5 to December 15 Good luck and thank you!!!
Thank you to everyone who gave and shared our Bags for our Boy campaign! We are so thankful for you helping us bring Kohlby home!!! Without further ado, here are the winners~ #1 ~ Kathy Roberts She chose
It's a well known fact that I (and my husband!) can talk adoption all day long, but what do our bio kids have to say about it? You might be able to tell how much they love their siblings by the way they care for them, play with them and communicate with them. But when one of them told me his Comp I instructor allowed him to choose a topic for his paper, and wrote about adoption, it touched my heart. This is significant to me on so many levels. When we started adopting 11 years ago, and had three biological children, ages 6, 7 and 14, one criticism we got was, "You'll ruin your family. You won't be able to pay for your kids' college or buy them a car."
*news flash* My parents didn't pay for my college or buy me a car, and they didn't adopt.
We've got one college graduate, one college freshman and another entering college next year. All three have vehicles, and... you guessed it, we didn't buy those either. They did. Nine adoptions later and we still hear similar arguments. What it boils down to, for us, is... what are we living our lives for? Who are we living for? Adoption isn't for everyone. Adopting doesn't make one family any holier than another. It certainly isn't a way to get into heaven. For Clayton and I, it is a way of living out Christ's love for us by loving others. When He redeemed us 13 years ago we surrendered everything to Him. Willingly. joyfully, completely. It's not always easy, and we constantly have an inner battle with our selfish flesh. But every aspect of adoption, from the paper work, the thorough home studies, the waiting, the faith for provision and the transition has built character in us and our children. Here is Kolton's Comp I paper. As an English student, I will tell you it has a few grammatical errors, and he changed some of the facts ~ (you know, names have been changed to protect the innocent:). But evidently the content and subject superseded the flaws because he got a 100! So, maybe my kids are ruined. And that's not a bad thing!
Little Bundle of Joy
A group of short women wearing the same outfit walk into the room, each one with a little dark haired baby wearing way too much clothing for the temperature in the building. Everyone in the area is sniffling and wiping back tears of joy as the women with the little bundles of silent babies, line up.
There are about 60 million orphaned children in all of Asia. The cause of most of the orphans in China is their one and two child policies. When a family is only allowed to have one child, they are forced to desperately try to conceive a boy so their family name can continue to survive.
So, what happens when a family has a girl? Girls are simply dumped in alleys, left on doorsteps, put in drainage ways, or dropped at bus stops. These cruel means of abandonment are due to the fact that it is illegal to put your own child into an orphanage.
There is hope for these children. On a normal summer morning, my older brother and I, gone, my sister playing in her room, my parents sit silently reading their bibles in the living room. The silence is broken by my mom’s voice, “Have you ever thought of adoption,” she says to my dad. “Yes, I have actually, all week I have been thinking about it,” he replied.
Without them even knowing it, the Lord had stirred both of their hearts for the same cause. “I have been thinking about China and all the orphaned girls there,” my mom says. “I was also thinking of somewhere in Asia,” said my dad.
At that moment they both knew what they were supposed to do. Whenever my mom had spare time after that she spent it on the computer researching international adoption. She poured over detail after detail on every single adoption website. She eventually found blogs from adoptive families which turned out to be a great resource for learning the steps of the international adoption process.
After my mother read many blogs, she found that she needed to talk to an adoption agency, Dillon. Dillon is an international adoption agency out of Tulsa, that my mom got hooked up with to get even more information. She talked to a very nice sounding lady that gave her all the minuscule details that she had so desperately dug for.
My parents decided to travel to Tulsa to meet with this faceless bearer of all good information. Upon arriving at Dillon they walked into the nicely sized building and met a receptionist. The lady at the door sent them back to an office where they met the rather wrong image of the woman my mother had talked to on the phone. The voice on the phone had come from a large statured, red haired, almost burly looking woman. Despite her appearance, she was the nicest woman someone would ever want to meet. The nice sounding lady helped them tremendously and my parents actually left that day with the information of a baby girl.
Many months, fundraisers, sleepless nights, and endless prayers later, my parents and my older brother found themselves in the middle of the densely populated country of China. While in the great country, my family took warm muggy boat rides down ever-flowing rivers with steep jagged limestone walls on each side, reaching up toward the sky.
The giant white people walked through extensive market places that were set up for a much shorter person. The smell of the thick, grungy air followed them everywhere they went, even to the little city in which they were to obtain their baby girl.
My family members arrived with several other families at the building that their guides led them to. Inside the building all the families were instructed to stand in this blank room and wait patiently for what was to come.
Then, out of nowhere, a group of short women wearing the same outfit walk into the room, each one with a little dark haired baby wearing way too much clothing for the temperature in the building. Everyone in the area is sniffling and wiping back tears of joy as the women with the little bundles of silent babies, line up. In that moment, the moment every single one of those families had been waiting so long for, my mom and dad were united with their own chunky little bundle of joy.
Since that awesome point in time my parents have adopted seven more of my wonderful brothers and sisters and are in the process to bring home another. My mom has kept a blog through all the adoptions of my siblings. Through my mother’s blog, and other outreach programs, she has mentored, and encouraged many families through the adoption process. She even helped start an adoption fund grant foundation. From that one single bundle of joy branched countless precious lives saved.
Not one thing on my to-do list included what we've actually been doing the past 15 days.
We were caught off guard.
But we've been sustained by the One who is never taken by surprise.
Two weeks ago I received one of the most frightening phone calls of my life, from this guy...
This is the way he usually is. Silly. Tender. Compassionate. Passionate about his Lord.
Ferociously protective of his family.
His crazy family.
Serious about his corn.
But circumstances we couldn't have anticipated changed everything. Clayton was in an accident that landed him in the hospital 15 days. He's got a long road to recovery, but he will recover, and Lord willing, in time to travel to China for Kohlby and to plant corn next spring! I can't begin to tell you all the blessings that have come from this unexpected change of plans.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
We are so thankful for: ~The Lord's promise to never leave nor forsake us ~The power of prayer ~Our big kids ~Our church family, the body of believers, employers, neighbors, teachers and our entire community ~Prompt response of and great care from EMTs ~Hospital personnel: CNAs, nurses, physicians, surgeons, respiratory, physical and occupational therapists ~Technology ~Medical equipment ~Unfailing love from the Father! When I got the phone call, I literally ran out the door, leaving everything behind, because Allie just happened to be with the kids, so I could do that. Every single day for the past two weeks I've been able to stay in the hospital with my husband because people have rallied around our family caring for Khloie all day and the rest of the littles after school, bringing hot meals to the house every.single.day, stocking our freezer with food, cleaning our house, doing load after load of laundry, and so many things we probably aren't even aware of yet. Kuyler and Caitlin cleared their schedule and came home the first weekend to help. Kolton's been taking care of things on the farm. Kenzie has been transporting kids and taking care of all the evening, nighttime and morning tasks with them. We will get the word this afternoon, Lord willing, that we get to go home tomorrow! One thing's for sure: doing laundry, homework and meals will be much more enjoyable to me now. Nothing like a good dose of perspective ;-)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
My kids love boiled eggs, and they really love Tea Eggs (a common snack in China)! They're like boiled eggs with enough flavor that you don't need to salt them. So it would be a shame if I didn't share the recipe. Here's my revised version. Tea Eggs 6 eggs 5 Tbsp soy sauce 2 tsp salt 2 tsp sugar 2 black tea bags (or 2 Tbsp of black tea leaves) 1 tsp Anise 1 stick cinnamon Several grinds of black peppercorn Place the eggs in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 2 minutes Remove the eggs from the water, and using a knife, tap each egg to slightly crack the shell in several places. Return the eggs to the saucepan of water, and add the rest of the ingredients. Cover and simmer for 3 hours, adding additional water as necessary. I let the eggs sit in the water till it's room temp, and then refrigerate them. Peel, rinse and enjoy!
We are smack in the middle of the journey to bring home our
9th treasure from China.
Although the process has changed since we first adopted 10
years ago, the thing that’s changed the most is ME!
I’m a take-charge kind of gal. Give me a task and I’m on it. Give me stacks of paper work, no sweat. Ask me to sit quietly and wait patiently…fail. But that is changing, ever so slowly.
I have orchestrated fundraisers, tried to make crafty things
(in my severe un-crafty-ness) , held garage sales and whittled our budget to
the bone in order to raise adoption funds.
Usually the entire journey is one fundraiser after another, frantic that
we will fall short of our goal.
We’re still raising funds and working overtime to cover the
expense of the adoption, but this time is different.
Over the past year the Lord has dealt with my heart in so
many ways. First, that He would allow us
to adopt again is incredible. But I am
recognizing His sovereignty. And I’m
learning to abide.
Abiding doesn’t mean I’m sitting on my hands. But I am seeking Him, soaking in His truth,
and instead of plowing my way through things, I’m content to follow Him. I’m learning that as I fix my gaze upon Him,
I am less likely to become distracted.
The adoption process has many milestones, each culminating
hopefully in the homecoming of a child.
In the past I’ve gotten so wrapped up in the destination that I couldn’t
enjoy the journey. And the Lord has so
much to teach me in the journey.
This time I want Him more than I want the things I ask of Him.
My optimistic attitude and faith have served as great companions
in supplying endurance in the most difficult circumstances. Even when my first response is of the flesh,
the Lord always gives me new perspective and changes my heart on the matter.
Sometimes He removes the obstacle, sometimes He walks me
around it, and sometimes He allows me to struggle, chin-deep in the quicksand
of the matter.
No matter His method of leading me, He has never left me to
fend for myself, and He’s always brought me through the fire refined.
During the past five years our family has danced with the flames
of darkness, grief, loss and incessant turmoil.
No matter how upbeat or how great a sense of humor I once had, somewhere
along the way I succumbed to the flames and lost my smile.
I knew from the depths of my soul that the Lord had not left
me and that He had much to teach me. He
brought me face to face with my own sin of selfishness and independence. Yet I couldn’t break the chains of my
flesh. Or rather, I wouldn’t.
Each day brought more chaos, more pressure and required more
action to bring resolution. The burden
to try to keep the wheels of our family of 12 running smoothly are lofty under
normal circumstances, but add the medical needs of five precious children, the
daily in-your-face battles, and I became resentful and bitter. I’d lost my emotions and even forgotten how
Each opportunity the Lord gave
me to trust Him, no matter to what degree I tried at first, I would ultimately
cave to my own need for control.
Please understand that I’m not proud of this, but my prayer
is that the Lord might use my transparency to minister to your heart in the
midst of suffering.
Oh, I continued to put one foot in front of the other. I performed all the necessary duties of a
wife and mom, and I traveled back and
forth to numerous medical visits without a problem, but when it came to the biggest
thing the Lord was using to change my heart, I dug my heels in
every.single.time, which meant about a thousand times a day. Fail.
And yet, His mercies are new each morning. His grace is sufficient, His patience is
unimaginable, His presence is constant, and He is the Source of love.
Each time I shook my finger at the situation was as if I
were looking in a mirror reflecting my own black heart. I was convicted of how the Lord drew me to
Himself and Jesus brought me from death to life. So what was wrong with me? I’m a Christ follower! The Spirit dwells within me. He has given me a new heart. He continues to diminish my desire for the
things of this world and long for Him. I
kept hoping, praying and waiting for Him to change the situation. Otherwise, it would require changing ME, and
apparently I was running from that, unwilling to repent.
To this day I am amazed at His patient
pursuit of me.
The situation is not entirely resolved, but the Lord is
doing an amazing work in my heart. He
has brought me to a place of brokenness and complete dependence upon Him. There is a spring in my step and a smile on
my face. Only by His grace.
The bitterness was hurting my family, and the need for control
was driving me further away from those I love.
The Lord brought me to repentance and complete surrender. I still battle the flesh, but I have an arsenal
of Truth as my first line of defense.
Have you lost your smile?
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and
when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not
be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the
old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a
heart of flesh. Ezekiel 11:19b
We just found out today our dossier was logged in on October 9!
Though we still have several acronyms to go, this is cause for celebration! The next step, LOA, could come in 30 days or 90 days or 150 days... How's that for nailin' it down? One thing we know for certain: the Lord's timing is perfect!!!
We are that family. You know, the family that has a separate cabinet for storing Ramen.
It's ridiculous how much instant MSG my kids consume.
But, it's so handy before a game or after a game. Ah, who am I kidding? We even feed it to them for supper.
Maybe you've already discovered this, but being a bit slow, I've just now figured out that I can make a healthier and tastier version of my people's favorite!
The key is variety.
And making it your own.
In this experiment I just used what I had on hand: Spaghetti noodles, cooked and drained Ringwood Gold cut corn (of course) Chicken base Carrots, chopped Onion, finely chopped Jars with lids
This is the mix, ready to refrigerate or pack in your lunch!
Add boiling water, seal the lid and let sit for 4 minutes. I use chicken and beef base in so many of my recipes to add flavor! *hint* use a low sodium chicken or beef base, or you'll end up with nearly the same thing as you find in the bag or cup of ramen. Homemade Ramen to Go
Chicken or Beef base (low sodium)
Vegetables (shredded carrots, sweet peppers, scallions or onion, corn)
Seasonings (cumin, crushed red pepper)
Noodles (thin spaghetti, rice noodles - the possibilities are endless!)
Dried or diced meat of your choice
In a clean jar, add 1 Tbsp beef or chicken base. Add vegetables and seasoning to your liking, then top with cooked noodles. Refrigerate the jars if you're not using them immediately.
Add boiling water to the top of the noodles, seal the lid and let sit 4 minutes. Stir and enjoy!