Saturday, October 31, 2009

Finding Christmas

Bah hum bug.

I have a confession to make.

I am a scrooge when it comes to Christmas.

Well you see, it’s not that I don’t like Christmas- it’s just that I don’t like how Christmas seems to somehow always get lost.

Just the other day when I ran into Walmart, everywhere I looked were blow up Santas and reindeer that moved. There were stocking as big as the front door and wrapping paper galore. There were lights and wreaths and stockings in every size and color. There were yard signs, candy canes and dancing elves. Down every isle there were signs that Christmas is almost here- and even in this economy, many of us will fall into the trap of thinking we have to ‘having it all’ to make Christmas good.

It gets lost.

It seems that Christmas is no longer about the babe in a manager- because the nativity gets lost in the cookies, the bows, the packages, the tinsel, and the ribbons. Its gets lost in the gifts that are larger that life- the ones that we didn’t need in the first place. The ones we purchase because they were just too good of a deal to pass ( never mind that we have no idea what to do with them anyway). The ones we buy just so that the kids get ‘even’ amounts. The ones we buy just so that our little dumplings have something to open- and you know, get that excited feeling on Christmas morning. It gets lost in the stress of our credit card bill. It gets lost in the stockings and the decorations.

It gets lost when we rob our children of the joy of truly understanding the greatest gift they have ever been given- Christ.

It gets lost.

Soon many children will begin to sit down with their crayons and markers and compile their lists for Santa that are a mile long. They will eagerly present their requests to a man in a big red suit sitting in the middle of the mall. They will smile for their picture and then and sit back, sucking on a candy cane and dreaming of Christmas morning when these treasures will ‘magically appear’…all the while being trained that happiness is found in 'things'.

Please understand- I do not mean to say that gift giving is a bad thing… but it’s when that giving becomes about putting a smile on your child face through another piece of plastic, when giving becomes a financial burden that sends you swirling in a pit of never ending debt, when that giving robs your child of ever being able to grasp the important of the true meaning of Christmas- that I believe we become lost.

I want more than anything for my children to have the very best- and for them to recognize that the very best was giving to them when Jesus came to earth in human form on Christmas day.

I want them to see how that gift changes everything. How in that gift there is true hope- true happiness. I want them to understand that Jesus is enough- all they will ever really need.

I want them to recognize this gift as the ultimate present of all. I want them to do something with that gift- not just tuck it away in the corner of their hearts as the plastic toys will be tucked away in the corners of their rooms.

And I want them to understand that while it might be fun to receive a new toy, an iPod or a shiny new bike- those things are only temporary in this world but that what Jesus has to offer is eternal.

I want them to hear the Christmas story and when they come to the part about there being no room at the Inn- I want them to understand that still today many people do not make room in their lives for the King of Kings.

And I don’t want to just tell them that- and then confuse them by living my life in a completely different way. It can be confusing even to Christian adults when we fall into the pit of trying to ‘create’ the perfect Christmas by giving the best, looking our best, serving the best and wanting the best.


So can you help me out and prevent me from turning into a complete scrooge? What are some of the things your family does to keep the real meaning of Christmas from getting lost?

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Spread the word and help make a difference!

This is just too awesome not to share. Put it on your blogs, put it on Facebook, stamp it on your forehead. Help make a difference.

(The following is from my awesome friend Leslie's blog)

Leslie is a one of a kind type of girl and I absolutely adore her. She has teamed up with the incredible Sarah from Sarah's Coventant Home and boy God was not playing games when He brought these 2 amazing ladies together. Check them out and be inspired. Their hearts will move you and their examples will change you forever...

So, as most of you know, India is a country that is near and dear to my heart. In January, I'll be travelling with a group to Andhra Pradesh to volunteer at Sarah's Covenant Homes. If you haven't met Sarah, then you should! She is one of the most amazing, dynamic, selfless, funny, and giving people I've ever come across. Not only does she have a heart for India, but she has a heart for abandoned children who have special needs.

Currently, Sarah has 44 children and she's taking in 10 new children next week. Can you imagine the cost of parenting 54 kids?? We're trying to raise money to help make things a bit easier on Sarah and her kids.

SCH has only been up and running for about 2 years now. So they're still needing lots of stuff: wheelchairs, strollers, walkers, educational toys, clothes, and school supplies. 11 of us will be travelling to Sarah's in January and we can take 2 suitcases each. Let's fill those babies up!

To help raise money to buy supplies for Sarah's Covenant Homes, we're holding a bake sale and raffle on Saturday, November 14 at a local grocery store. You do not have to be present to win. Which means YOU can buy a ticket and help bring supplies to Sarah and her 54 amazing kids.

Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. If you make a ticket donation (at the ChipIn button on the top right of this blog), we'll enter your name into a drawing where you'll have the chance to win one of the following prizes:

1st Prize: New Wilson NFL Game Ball Autographed by Emmitt Smith (retail value: $350)

2nd Prize: iPod Touch 16 gb Second Generation (retail value: $229)

3rd Prize: Nintendo Wii (retail value: $199.99)

The drawing will be held at 2:00pm on November 14th and all winners will be notified via phone or email by 5:00pm that evening. Prizes will be delivered or mailed out on Monday, November 16.

We hope you'll help us reach our goal of raising $1500 for Sarah's Covenant Homes. To learn more about Sarah, please visit her BLOG. You can also read the profiles of all her kids and learn about sponsorship opportunities by clicking HERE. I'm also going to leave you with a video that we made to help spread awareness of SCH and the wonderful kids that have touched our lives. Enjoy

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What's small and beautiful and brown all over?
Could it be a new baby brother?

Dear Lord, you never stop amazing me at your goodness. Just when I think I have it all figured out I feel your hand upon me and I am once again blown away by your goodness. Father, I am so guilty of spending too much time planning my own life, instead of just sitting back and trusting that you have had the best in mind for me all along. Nothing gives me greater joy other than knowing You have planned every moment of my life before I was even born. None of us know what tomorrow will bring, but without a doubt I know that when YOU are at the center than everything will fall into place just as you had planned. Lord, protect our hearts, and help us to always remember this is about you.

Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Psalm 103:1
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Pass It Forward Adoption Fund

While we still have a long ways to go to raise the full amount for the Pass It Forward Adoption Fund (And I still really need YOUR help) I have decided it is time to announce the family who will one day be given the funds to completely their adoption (and then in return will turn around and raise the money once again to pass onto the next family).

From the very beginning when the Lord started working out the details of the Pass It Forward Adoption Fund He put a very special family in my mind. I prayed more than you could image about this decision- knowing it was a big one. Then, I confirmed that decision with a good Christian friend of mine whom God also put this family in the forefront of her mind.

For several months now I have continued praying over this decision, and then I spoke with the family and they too have been praying. They realize that this will be a gift- and yet at the same time there is a responsibility that comes with it. The responsibility of accepting the gift, finding the child the Lord has in mind for their family- and then also raising the adoption costs for the next family. Therefore the vision of the Pass It Forward Adoption Fund continues on. The reason we started this fund was because we believe that when God blesses us it is so that we can bless others. It is not a open hand close hand deal. It’s a open hand, receive his blessings and then continue to bless others as well.

The Pass It forward Adoption Fund was founded on the vision that those with a heart for adoption will come together, work together and support each other through this amazing journey called adoption. From the many, many emails I have received over the past few months asking for help, emails from individuals telling me about families they know of in need of funds for their adoption- I know without a doubt that we are on the right track. Raising the money for an adoption can be so overwhelming- overwhelming enough that often times it is the sole reason people do not adopt. They see the cost- and it stops them dead in their tracks. And inevitably, a child in need of a family remains an orphan for life. So for those of you who have walked this road of fundraising and saving, and for those of you who have emailed me informing me of a family in need- I challenge YOU to also come along side a family and help them. Get creative, work hard, sacrifice yourself, pray. Ask God what YOU can do to help a deserving family bring a child home. I promise you will not regret it.

I wish I could help EVERY FAMILY- I wish I were Bill Gates (Bill honey, if you happen upon my blog could you please help us out here??) but I am not. You all have no idea how much I truly appreciate all of you who have come along side of me and given. Many of you are adoptive families- many of you are in the adoption process right now. I have had children empty their piggy banks and give, I have had families eat beans and rice for a month and give. I have had people return purchases and people go without- all because they know that together we can make a difference in the life of a child. I am so thankful for each and every one of you. You may never see the full extent of your sacrifice- but God does. He sees and He knows.

The recipients of the Pass It Forward Adoption Fund have a huge passion for orphans. They are a good strong Christian family who we know often sacrifice themselves for others. They are a family who I know has the ability and the desire to continue on the vision of the Pass It Forward Adoption Fund. They are a family who deserved to be blessed. Our prayer is that this fund can continue on and on to help more and more families yet for now, we had to choose just one family- and that family is... (drum roll please) - The Riggs family.

For those of you who know them- you are shaking your head agreeing they are the perfect choice. There are so many reasons why but for now I want to just share a few…

Several years back Michelle and I became friends as we were both adopting from Guatemala through the same agency. I remember being blown away by Michelle’s constant offering of prayer. She truly seemed to care and truly seemed to want to help, even as she herself was adopting. But it didn’t stop there. As our family worked, struggled, and fundraised to bring our daughter Mya home from Guatemala- Michelle and Brent were doing the same thing at the same time for their son Landis. And yet in the mail they sent US a check for $450 to help with our adoption cost. Right there is an example of the kind of people they are. Always putting someone else’s needs before their own.

Secondly, is Abby. A lot of you know Abby because of her leukemia. I know Abby because of her heart. Even at her young age Abby understands that she was adopted and she understands what a family is. But it doesn’t stop there… you see, Abby doesn’t sit around worrying about her cancer or the pain it brings her. Yes she knows she is sick and she knows there is pain involved. But what bothers Abby most is knowing there are kids out there just like her, who are hurting and sometimes sick- but without the love of a family. Without a family to hold them when they cry, a family to tell them that everything is going to be okay. Abby knows that it is through adoption she is able to experience these things for herself today. Because of this it is Abbys greatest wish to adopt a baby brother from Ethiopia. Yet in true Abby fashion- she doesn’t just wish for a brother- she wishes for a bald baby brother so that he will be just like her.

Again, I want to thank you for all that you have given up and given so far- to help one day make this families dream of adopting another child come true. We still have a ways to go but I know together we can make a difference in the life of a child.

I cannot wait to see what God does through YOU!!!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Carving out memories...

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Todays devotion

His Vision, His Way, In His Timing
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman

"Then God said, 'Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about'" (Gen 22:2).

Have you ever wanted something so bad that you would do almost anything to get it? Have you ever gotten so close to fulfilling a dream only to have it disappear right before your eyes? Such was the case for Abraham.

God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. He would have a son. However, Abraham panicked when Sarah aged beyond child bearing years and tried to help God by birthing Ishmael through Sarah's servant, who was not the promised son. Eventually, Isaac was born, who was the promised son.

However, God tells Abraham to sacrifice his only son on an altar to demonstrate his obedience to God. Truly, this is one of the hardest instructions given to one of God's people in all of scripture. It compares only to the Heavenly Father sacrificing His own Son. God intervenes and allows a ram to get caught in the bushes nearby, symbolizing the Lamb of God as a prophetic sign of what is to take place in the future.

God often births a vision in our lives only to allow it to die first before the purest version of the vision is manifested. This has happened several times in my own journey. Oswald Chambers observes, "God's method always seems to be vision first, and then reality, but in between the vision and the reality there is often a deep valley of humiliation. How often has a faithful soul been plunged into a like darkness when after the vision comes the test. When God gives a vision and darkness follows, waiting on God will bring you into accordance with the vision He has given if you await His timing. Otherwise, you try to do away with the supernatural in God's undertakings. Never try to help God fulfill His word."*

When God's vision is finally birthed, nothing will stop it. Our job is to allow God to birth His vision through us His way and in His timing.
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Monday, October 26, 2009

To see life's journey
through the eyes of your heart
is to know that all is happening
exactly as it was meant to be.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

What being in a large family has taught us

This past weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to just sit back and watch my children interact with each other. Sometimes I am just blown away by the wonderful and unique relationships they have with each other. I was able to talk to them a little bit about what being in a large family has taught them and helped them become the kind of people they are.

So often times now-a-days large families are looked down upon. People are under the opinion that each child does not get enough individual attention or just plain 'get enough'.

Enough of what I’d like to ask?

Because if you ask me- we have the best. And together- we have it all.


Being in a large family has taught my children that each one of us is unique and different – and that is okay. Actually, it’s downright wonderful.

Being in a large family has taught my children how to get along and respect all different kinds of people- as in – nationalities, race, sex, etc. However they still know how to remain true to who they are and I love that.

They have learned to be strong in their faith and strong in their confidence- while still being accepting of others who are different than they are.

Being in a large family has taught them to understand that it is okay if they are not the best, the most beautiful, the smartest, the funniest, or the fastest one in the crowd. It's okay to have different strengths and weaknesses. They are not perfect- and they are okay with that.

They have learned how to do things on their own and they know how to relate when in a group.

Being in a large family has taught them how to make friends and build a bond with a complete stranger- and how to be a loyal to that person through the years.

They have learned how to share, and how to accept that what they have been given is enough.

Being in a large family has taught them how to give, how to give in, and how to cheer on someone else, even at their own loss.

They have learned how to work hard for what they want and how to share what they have had to work for.

Being in a large family has taught them that their lives are not their own-or all about their own personal comfort. There are others need to consider- and other people who count just as much as they do.

They know how to work as a team, play like a team, and dream like a team.

Being in a large family has taught them how to communicate and compromise with those around them.

They have learned that different people have different opinions- and that is okay. They realize that even though you don’t necessarily always see eye to eye with someone else- you can still appreciate those differences without being nasty. And when arguments do occur- that it’s okay to disagree with someone else as long as you do it in a respectful manner and give the other person a chance to voice their opinion or concern.

Being in a large family they have learned that life is about relationships- not things. Their relationship with each other, and their relationship with God.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

All aboard the choo choo train...

Kaden absolutely loves trains. This past weekend he had an opportunity to take a ride on a real train and did he ever love it. He also got to get his face painted, along with Aleigha and Mya- as well as meet the train conductor. I loved watching his little face- he was in all his glory for sure. Yet not only did I love seeing the joy in his little face- we also met another large adoptive family and got to sit next to them on the train. They had 9 beautiful children from China, Korea, the US and Ethiopia and they are adding #10 here shortly. It was so cool to meet others who have the same passion we do. God is good. :0)
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

I've got it bad...

Seriously, I have a bad case of blogger block. There is just nothing in there. Nothing to say, nothing to share. Nothing.
Usually I talk to myself all day long, jot down notes of things I want to blog about, dream of blogs in my sleep. I don't know what's wrong with me. Maybe it's the weather.
Sorry guys- hopefully I will be back in full swing with a whole lot of nothingingness to share with you all soon enough. ;0)
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Fabulous Fall

This is so gonna be in my crock pot today.

Caramel Apple Crisp
4 cups sliced, tart apples
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar or substitute
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup caramel syrup
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons melted butter

Toss apples with cornstarch then mix together sugar and cinnamon and stir into apples. Spray the interior of crock pot, add apples, and drizzle with caramel syrup.

Stir together flour, oats, and butter, pack on top of apples, and cook for 3 hours on HIGH. Yummy!

Happy Fall!!

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lifesong for orphans

If you haven't heard of Lifesong for Orphans than trust me- you don't know what you are missing. They are near and dear to my heart and I absolutely love their work and what they stand for. Trust me, these people are the real deal- and they share the same passions you and I do- helping families bring orphans HOME. They offer adoption loans and grants and the best part- they are totally founded on Christian principals. I am actually working towards setting the up the Pass It Forward Adoption Fund to work along side of them- what a privilege.

Right now Lifesong for orphans is partnering with Gobena coffee and 100% of the profits are being reinvested in the lives of orphan children through charity programs.

Yep, I said 100 percent.

That is how these people roll- they are amazing.

So if you are trying to come up with an awesome gift for someone- check them out.

Helping orphans and fantastic coffee- does it get any better than that?

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Birthday boy!!

So much to be thankful for today- this precious little guy of ours turned 3 years old today! Happy Birthday my sweet, amazing Kaden- I love you with my entire heart! The day you walked into our lives changed us in so many ways. We could not be more blessed.

Birthdays at this age are so magical and so much fun. We have a tradition at our house- we sneak into the birthday child's room when they are sleeping and throw balloons all over their floor so when they wake up in the morning that is the first thing they see. The kids love it. :0)

Kaden was so excited this morning when he woke up. He kept yelling "I am THREE!!" So cute! He also requested a Spiderman cake and wanted a Buzz Lightyear outfit and Buzz doll for his birthday. His brothers and sisters surprised him with a big wheel.

Today we will celebrate with friends at the McDonalds play place and tonight we will be having his spiderman cake and of course his favorite meal- hot dogs for dinner.

Life is so sweet- especially when you are THREE. :0)

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I saw this awhile ago at church and then again today on a blog (thanks Kim). I needed this reminder in church that day and I needed it again today. Don't you just love when God meets you right where you are? Things have been a little crazy here lately to say the least. I'm not quite sure what God is doing- and for some reason today it just hit me that I'm okay with that. I can feel Him working and for now- that is all I need.
Last week we accepted a referral of a beautiful little boy from Ethiopia- wanting to believe with our whole hearts he was to be our son. But it wasn't meant to be. I will leave it at that. So, for now- our hearts are sad- and yet hopeful. Hopeful because I know that God is working and so for now I can just be still and know that He is God. Know that He has the answers and know that in His time he will lead us to our child.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Dossier

This is me. My name is Amy and I am working on my dossier.
Can anyone else relate?
I mean really, does it have to be so stressful? I am so afraid I am going to dot an i wrong and it will cause months and months of needless wait and agony. If anyone has any helpful hints in the dossier department please feel free to share. We are using Hope Adoption Agency to bring home and Mr. Amazing (also known as Hudson). Obviously he is more than worth every second of effort going into preparing the dossier- just praying that I am getting it all right- the first time.
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009


its a boy feet
He's one years old, big round eyes, sweet puckered lips and every time I look at his picture I cannot stop myself from smiling (and it's one of those big goofy, I'm so in love, kind of smiles).


Lord, please bring this precious Ethiopian baby of ours home fast!!!

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Abundant blessings

We took the kids this past weekend to pick out their pumpkins. Boy did they have a good time!

There were games and prizes

Look mom- I won!

Of course- they ALL won. Lucky us- gold fish. :0)

"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."
~Genesis 8:22~

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