Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Four Times Better--A Fundraising Update

I should know by now to expect great things from the Lord--and I do!

I set a goal of $300 to buy school supplies for Trees of Glory.

Well, God went ahead and quadrupled it--in less than 24 hours.

That's right, our fundraising goal has been hit four times over and we are now at

We are overjoyed by the response and praising God.

If you had planned on donating and just haven't gotten around to it yet, please feel free to still do so.  Even though we met our goal, there are always more needs to meet than resources when we visit Ethiopia.  
Maybe there is already an even bigger need at Trees of Glory that God is preparing us for.
Rest assured, we will bless the socks of the kids and staff at Trees of Glory with these funds and get them all set up for a great school year.  Every dollar truly makes a difference!

Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Thank you to all who have so generously given!

Monday, July 30, 2012


I leave in 4 days for Ethiopia and aside from meeting our new son for the first time, I am most excited about being able to visit my friends at Trees of Glory and the Children's HopeChest staff.  It is always a highlight of my trip to take the two hour drive into the rolling hills of the countryside to the Trees of Glory care point that is now serving about 150 orphaned and vulnerable children.  It is where our sponsor child Meseret receives biblical discipleship, nutrition, education and medical medical care.

Me and Meseret May 2011
I'm working to arrange a trip to Trees of Glory and I want to be able to shower them with school supplies and books for the new school year.  I'm limited on luggage space this time--even more than usually--because I am still not supposed to lift heavy items due to my surgery in March.  I usually cram every last pound allowed into my suitcase, but this time I have to pack a little lighter.

So here's where you all come in....I need your help to do a super speedy 4 day fundraising campaign to raise a goal of $300 to purchase school supplies and books for the kids at Trees of Glory.
the school room at Trees of Glory

more of the students that will benefit from this fundraiser

There are two options to help out.  

Cash donations are always welcome and can be given via the "donate" button 
at the top left hand side of my blog.

I also have 30 Ethiopian "love" bracelets that I brought home from my last trip to help raise funds for the Trees of Glory Well Project (fully funded and up and running thanks to so many generous donors--can' wait to see that in person!)

I'm offering these again for a $10 donation.  Every single penny goes to Trees of Glory and will help buy school supplies for the upcoming school year or provide for any other immediate need they may have while I'm there.

Just click on the "buy now" button to purchase one of these beautifully handcrafted Ethiopian bracelets.
I have 16 red bracelets.

I have 14 black bracelets.
When you order, please note that you'll have to select the color that you would like and provide your address for shipping.  A $3 shipping fee will be added to the $10 donation at check out.  If you'd like to order more than one bracelet, you have to go in separately to place each order (sorry--just not that tech savvy).  I can ship up to 3 bracelets to the same address for one shipping fee.  I will refund the additional shipping fees via pay pal if you do order more than one bracelet to the same address.  If you are local, I will refund the $3 shipping fee as well.

If I can get all 30 bracelets sold, we will reach the $300 goal just like that.

I'll be shipping bracelets after I return home and will post when I ship, but look for them to arrive on or around August 17th.

As always, please spread the word via email, facebook and blogs so that we can reach as many people over the next few days as possible.

I look forward to sharing pictures of my trip to Trees of Glory with you all.

If you ever wonder if this whole sponsorship thing really makes a difference, take a look at this video that I made from Nick's Children's HopeChest mission trip to Ethiopia in September 2010. Nearly all the children in this video are being cared for through sponsorship programs coordinated by Children's HopeChest.

Take note of the boy at the end of the video holding the yellow flowers. This is him now with Nick's mom Judy. Nick met him on his mission trip and the next summer Judy was matched with him as his sponsor. 

We've seen the difference sponsorship makes and it is an honor to be able to play a small part in helping these kids have a brighter future.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ethiopia Bound

Praise the Lord for granting us a true miracle--WE HAVE A COURT DATE!!!
August 8th I'll stand before a judge in Ethiopia and we're praying we will officially become parents for the 7th time on that day!!

Sometimes when I say "seven kids" out loud it really sounds like a lot of kids.
But, mostly it sounds just right--our seven from heaven--can't get much luckier than that.

Today I got to go shopping with my mom for all the things I'll need to take care of my little guy for the few days that I'm there for court.  I threw myself a little shower at Target--I had forgotten how fun picking out baby stuff was.

I can't wait to cuddle our sweet boy up, give him a bath (nothing better than a clean baby swaddled up in a hooded towel) and take tons of pictures and video (hope he doesn't mind the mama paparazzi). 

Check out the little onesie--couldn't pass that one up!

The excitement is building as I get ready to meet our little boy in just 1 week!  I feel unbelievably blessed that God has given us one more baby to love.  I'm going to savor every last minute (and Nick has told me this is most certainly the last, so I had better savor it up ;-)

The whole family is bursting to welcome this sweet little one to the family.

I'm hoping to be able to buy school supplies while I'm there for the beginning of their school year.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.  Psalm 34:4

I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.  Psalm 86:12

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tons of Summer Fun

The boys stayed with Nick's parents for 10 days--a family first for anyone to be away that long with out mom and dad.  They had so much fun playing in the river--they said it was freezing.

They took a train ride through the mountains.

brotherly love

And spent their days in a LEGO paradise.

They also went boating and swimming and visited relatives.

Goofing off in the city.
  While the boys were away, my aunt took me and the girls and my mom and cousin on a ONCE IN A LIFE TIME trip to the American Girl Store in St. Louis.  She allowed each of my girls and her granddaughter to pick out ANY American Girl doll in the whole store!  So, so generous and I was sure to tell the girls what an amazing gift they had received (and how ONCE in a lifetime this experience would be).  They were just so excited and loved every minute of it. 

the girls with Aunt Debbie and the dolls they picked out

Not only did the girls get dolls, they also had a lovely lunch in the American Girl Bistro.

 The dolls got to "eat" with us as well.

My mom got to experience it all with us.

Rahel got to see a real horse on my cousin-in-laws real farm--acres and acres of crops , horses and cows!


Meron and Brody were great friends.

The girls even got a tractor ride.

Two amazing trips filled with lots of great family memories.

And as I mentioned last post, we acquired a big white bus this summer.

With plenty of room for everyone--including our newest addition--and even a friend or two!

So, that's the past two weeks in picture.  Now I'm all caught up!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Earnestly I Seek Thee

Been on a bit of a blog break, but a lot has happened since my last post--I'll have some picture posts coming up soon.

Over the past couple of weeks, we've officially joined the big white bus club and are now proud owners of a 12 passenger van.  I absolutely love it!

The girls and I took a trip to Illinois and the boys toured around South Carolina with Nick's parents--LOTS of fun!

We're preparing to start school on Monday (the kids can't wait).  I really can't wait.  While I enjoy summertime fun, I really am a big fan of the routine that our school schedule brings.

And, perhaps the biggest news--WE WERE SUBMITTED TO COURT ON THE 13TH!!!

Being submitted is a miracle in itself.  What had been taking at least 12 weeks lately (usually more) took only 10.5 weeks for us!  We know that is a huge answer to prayer and we are praising God for that.

But, submission to court is only half the battle.  WE NEED A COURT DATE.  And we need it very soon if we're going to squeeze in before courts close.

I'm praying for this, trusting completely that God is able and also wrestling with not getting my hopes up in case we don't happen to get a date.  We are a little concerned (and when I say we, I mean me--Nick is totally cool about the whole thing and not, how do you say sitting-on-the-edge-of-his-seat-checking-emails-repeatedly-like-a-crazy-lady like I am, which would be weird anyway because he's a guy).  Several families have been given dates that were submitted when we were, so we are hoping that there aren't any complications with our case and we will be assigned a date any day (like tomorrow would be nice :-)

So, we are in limbo.  Maybe we'll be traveling to meet our boy in a couple of weeks, maybe a couple of months.  Either way, I know it will happen and God already has it all planned out. Why I even waste my time worrying about it is beyond me--human I guess.  

I'm really trying to put my hope in the Lord, not a court date.  I've had this song playing all day to remind me that my life is not my own and seeking the Lord is my priority.  In trouble or triumph we are to praise and bring glory the One who is always good. 

Friday, July 13, 2012


So my last post on provisions prompted this post on answers.   The fact that we are even adopting again is a big answer to prayer.  This journey to our boy has been filled with answered prayer and God has even blessed me with a special group of friends to share those answers with.

I've mentioned before that I have been so blessed to have "met" five other moms who are all adopting from Ethiopia (one is a local friend and four I have never actually met, but feel like I have and hope to one day).  We are all waiting for our babies to come home and every morning since the beginning of May, we've prayed for each other and our babies at 7:30.  We have prayed especially that God would grant us all court dates before the courts close for the rainy season.

God has done some amazing things through this group so far and we are all trusting him to continue to move in our cases.  So far, one family has been to court (at just the right time) and passed, favorable test results have been received, two more families were submitted to court this week--one already got a court date assigned (and it is before the rainy season closures) and God has given us all peace that surpasses all understanding along with a bond between us that could only be from him.

And the lessons we are learning--they are many.

nothing is impossible for God
“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

delight yourself in the Lord
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

pray with thanksgiving
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

wait patiently
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret….Psalm 37:7

wait expectantly
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3

do not be discouraged
....This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.
 2 Chronicle 20:15

have faith--and do not waver
"Amen, I say to you, if you have faith and do not waver, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' it will be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive." Matthew 21: 18-22

pray with confidence
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

the Lord answers prayers
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
 Psalm 40:1

All of these verses have been given to me or one of the moms praying in our group.  I love it when scripture speaks directly to us.  We are praying with thanksgiving, confidence and faith that God would bless us and the other families still waiting with a court date before the rainy season and that we would all pass and have our babies home with us very soon.

I say again:

For nothing is impossible with God!

Monday, July 9, 2012


The past 3 weeks, we've had a guest speaker at church that has preached on the parable of the sower. It's a very well known parable-one even my kids recognize, but I've learned a few new things this time around and even experienced some of what I've learned in the past few days.

This week, we learned about the thorny soil--the soil that chokes out growth with the thorn of "worry" and the thorn "seeking after riches." This was the first time I'd ever really paid attention to what the two thorns actually were.

Worry--something we all deal with from time to time. On the worry scale, I'd say I've drifted down a few notches over the years--maybe a 2 or 3 depending on the situation. Our adoptions especially have shown me over and over that worry has no place in following God. We've seen time and again that when we do what He asks of us, He takes care of the details and really, it's just so much easier to trust the Lord's plans than to worry about our own.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes worry rears it's ugly head, but then I'm reminded of the three, going on four, little children in our home that are miraculously here because of God's provisions--even when it looked impossible.

We've had friends email out of now where to see if we could use a couple extra car seats and a crib mattress--yes and yes (we gave away all of our baby stuff after Colton out grew it). We've already been given bottles and pacifiers, diaper bags and baby boy clothes--all just given to us, without our asking or the givers even knowing we needed them. God is preparing our home for our baby just as Philippians 4:19 says:

   And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 

 Nick's parents have blessed us with their gifts of carpentry and organization. His dad has built pretty much everything that is wood at our house (the playground, the girls' beds, the boys' toy box and dresser, our school room shelves a storage building--yes, we are spoiled).  He is currently working on our pool deck.  His mom has offered to come down and organize/weed out toys and kid stuff when she comes again for a visit (we have a zillion legos and choking hazards that we need to get stored properly before we have a baby again).

Just this weekend, we experienced God's grace through my parents. We stopped by after church and my mom made us lunch and then they offered to take us all to the movies. Talk about provision--God provided not only for our basic need of food, but also for a special trip to the movies (definitely few and far between with a family of 8 and an adoption in process). Maybe that doesn't sound like a big deal, but to have just heard a message about not worrying and trusting God to provide, it stood out to me.

Then, this morning, we had a $213 donations on our fundraising site http://www.acharityproject.com/f/7forour7th from an anonymous donor!  Anonymous people--someone who doesn't even know us and was prompted to give so our baby can come home. We've now raised almost $7400 on that site and I haven't even advertised it in over a month! 

 God just keeps providing.

And so, with my whole heart I believe this verse below:

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:31-33 

 May I never forget God's faithfulness and may we always strive to seek first the kingdom of God.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What I've Learned

I lost a dear friend on Friday after her courageous fight with cancer ended.  

Gina was just 33 years old--same as me.  She leaves behind her husband (married 10 years--same as me) and three precious children-a boy, a girl and a baby boy (same as me--before our Ethiopian children joined the clan :-)  She graduated from Florida State University School of Nursing in 2001-same as me and worked in the neonatal intensive care unit after college-same as me.

Most importantly though, she loved Jesus--same as me!

I had to dig deep to find a picture of us together.  This one is 6 years old--she was expecting her first child as we awaited the birth of Caroline.

Our lives took many similar turns and I am so thankful that God crossed our paths on this earth and that we will once again cross paths in heaven. 

 Through her life and especially during the past 21 months that she fought to live, she taught me and so many others countless lessons.

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind.
2. Love your spouse deeply.
3. Love your children and enjoy every little detail and moment.
4. Love your neighbor/friend as yourself.
5. Life is short--have some fun!
6. Laughter is often the best medicine.
7. Take time to catch up with old friends.
 8. Take time to make new ones.
9. Smile often.
10. Pray continually.
11. Always have hope.
12.  Take what life gives you and make the most of it.
13. Don't take people or time for granted.
14. There's always room for chili cheese fries.
15. and for goodness sake, take updated pictures with your friends :-)

Gina never lost her faith in God and was always ready to share how the Lord sustained her throughout this trial life had thrown her.  

May we all have a joyful spirit, steadfast faith and the hope of Jesus that she embraced and may Christ's love abide in us as it did in her so that those that we meet will be as blessed as those who met Gina.

In loving memory of my friend
Gina DeMarr McReynolds
safe at home 6/29/12