Monday, February 28, 2011

A Day Set Aside For Olga And Celine

Do you know what happens to precious children who are born with Downs Syndrome in Eastern Europe? They are cast off to orphanages.  First it is a baby orphanage and then when they turn between 5 and 6 they are transferred to and institution where they will spend the rest of their lives strapped to a bed and un-adoptable.  Patti, has chosen to set aside today to advocate for the Abell family who is adopting Olga and needs to raise $7000 to submit their dossier.

I have pasted the information to advocate for her today here and I ask you to do the same on your blog or on your facebook:

Dear friends,

So many of you already know this beautiful little face....

Olga turned five last month. She has spent the last five years in an orphanage in Eastern Europe, without the love of a mommy and daddy- simply because she arrived in life exactly as God designed her. One chromosome too many, and her fate was sealed from birth.

Sealed, because in Eastern Europe, babies who are born with Down syndrome are deemed unacceptable at birth. They are discarded as cast-offs of society, and when they turn five they leave the only home they've ever known...

And I wish I could say that for most of these children, leaving that home means going to a place of safety, a place of happiness, a place where they would finally know the love of a family...know what it means to be cuddled or sung to or read to, tucked in at night, prayed for, loved.

Instead, they are taken to a place that most people wouldn't leave their family pet.

A place of living hell, where they will never know the tenderness of a parent, never know the security of being raised in a family, and there they will stay, one ugly, pain-filled day at a time...until they die.

I read a post last December that stayed with me to this day. It was called from baby dolls to bedstraps.

The blog author wrote about Elizabeth, an orphan on Reece's Rainbow who had been transferred to a mental institution, waiting for a family to step forward for her. Her words still haunt me.

I wonder where she thought she was going as they led her out of the orphanage that day. Did she think that maybe it was finally her turn? That they were taking her to her forever Mommy and Daddy?

And when they instead took her inside that dreadful place, when they shaved her head and tied her to a too-small metal crib

when they turned their backs and



when they left her confused, terrified,

in a room where the wails of schizophrenic adults echo through the cold air

what was going through her young mind?

Did she wonder if she was being punished?

How long did she hold out hope that this was only temporary?

That any minute, they would come and take her back to the baby house

to her baby dolls and teddy bear,

to her best friend, Angelina?

Did she long to free her arms from the restraints

to cover her head with her hands to drown out

the scary noises

the scary sights

the scary smells?

That could be my Lily….

It could be your child.

And what if it were?

What if you woke up one morning

and by some hellish, twilight-zone twist of fate

your child wasn’t still tucked into that warm bed down the hall,

what if your child was trapped

across the dark sea

in that nightmare that is

the institution?





Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. Proverbs 24:11

Elizabeth is being rescued today, thanks to the efforts of that blogging mama, and others like her.

Olga is being rescued today, thanks to so many of gave so much and created such a large grant that a family was able to step forward and start the process of adoption.

The Abells have done so much already, towards rescuing Olga. I can't even imagine all the paperwork and prayer and emotion and finances that goes into an international adoption. They have done numerous fundraisers, and will continue to do so until they can bring Olga home.

Through the help of so many, a grant of over $13,000 has been raised for Olga's adoption. That grant is set aside for the final travel costs and fees that it will take to bring Olga home. It will take every penny of that and then some.

Right now the Abells are in need of raising the $7,000 that is needed to submit their dossier for Olga. Without that dossier we don't even know if Olga has been transferred yet. Here in America you just pick up the phone and ask these questions. But here in America we don't tie five year old girls to cribs to keep them from climbing out.

The Abells need to submit that dossier as soon as possible- at the very least to find out if she has been transferred already- because I know an army of prayer warriors who is going to want to know that piece of information as well. And at the very most, it could be able to hold Olga at the baby house until the Abells can rescue her. I wish I could say with certainty that she won't be transferred- truthfully we just don't know that.

Olga has been so heavy on my heart for months- friends, I want you to know that I DO trust that God has a plan here.

I prayed like crazy for a way to help the Abells. I truly believe that there is a network of people who love Olga here in blogland...a net that is woven by God and is stretching out across this blessed country we live in, and even beyond to generous hearts in other nations. I really cannot express enough how thankful I am to be a small part of what God has already done for Olga, Peter and Kareen. But I don't think our job is done.

Olga needs us.

I don't want her to spend one more forsaken day in that place than she has to.

We're not doing a giveaway here today. I don't even think we need to do one- I know so many just have a heart to help and to give, and prizes were never the real reason we all gave anyway.

So I'm just asking- for one day- for you to do whatever you could to help Olga. Whether that's $10 or $20 or even a hundred...if you are able to help raise this money for the dossier, please do so HERE... This is the Abell's chip-in. 

This is the link for the Family Sponsorship Page on Reece's Rainbow...every single dollar goes to the Abell's adoption fund, and every single dollar will help.

We're calling this A Day to Save Olga, because there are about 17 of us blogging mamas and one blogging grandpa who have set aside this day to blog, post on Facebook, pray, give and spread the word to SAVE OLGA.

Will you help us?

I know you will:)

One last request.  Celine also needs a family.

She needs someone to step forward and start the process of adopting her.  She currently has a grant available to any family wanting to step forward to adopt her.  Will you be her forever family?  Will you pray for Olga and Celine?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gardening Season Will Be Upon Us Soon

What will you be planting in your garden this year?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stepping Out and Being Bold

I am going to step out and advocate for a precious little girl who needs a family soon.  Her name is Celine and she is five years old.  She lives in St. Petersburg, Russia.  She has downs syndrome.  I found her through Reeces Rainbow website and she currently has a grant available toward her adoption.  However, in order for her to come home, she needs a lot more money given to her grant fund.  The Lord has been laying her on my husband and my heart lately.  We want to adopt her, however, we do not even have the funds to begin the home study or to pay the agency fees.  She needs a miracle.  Very soon, she will be transferred to an institution in which she can no longer be adopted.  We serve a Big God who is in the mountain-moving business and I know that if He wants her to have a family, He can move these mountains to bring her home.  Would you prayerfully consider giving to her grant fund through Reece's Rainbow?  I have put her picture and a link to her page on the side of my blog.

Getting Personal- For Women Only

Do you ever struggle with cramps, heavy bleeding, irregular periods, or moodiness?  If you do, I have a solution that really works.  It is called red raspberry leaf tea.  This morning, I woke up feeling very crampy so I made a pot of red raspberry leaf and spearmint leaf tea and I feel a TON better.  My two favorite herbs for menstrual problems are red raspberry leaf and spearmint leaf and they are available from Bulk Herb Store.  Plus, if you order from them from my link on my blog I get credit.

Here is how I make my tea:  I use a coffee filter and spoon 1 teaspoon per cup of dried herb to be used into the filter.  Usually, I mix different herbs.  This morning I used half spearmint and half red raspberry leaf.  Then I add a cup of water for each teaspoon of herb used.  I choose to use our coffee pot because my husband has not been it and I am not a coffee drinker.  If someone in your home is a coffee drinker this can also be made using a little stainless steel tea diffuser and adding hot water, letting it simmer to desired darkness and then removing the diffuser.

I could not just leave this post with no pictures, so I had to include our happenings today.  The sun is shining and it is a beautiful day outside today.  Yesterday, we also went to the library and my children are loving reading their finds.  Plus, I found a few great recipes yesterday that we are making today.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's Official

Today was day five of Aaron being sick and struggling with fevers that would spike to 104.5, lethargy, stomach aches, and not really eating.  I decided that it was time to call the doctor and see what in the world was going around.  They told me the flu and strep throat.  I said, "well, he doesn't have strep cause he is complaining of his stomach hurting and not his throat."  They also told me that the flu was lasting a full 7 to 10 days with some patients experiencing post flu symptoms for up to 2 weeks after the 10 days.  So, I decided to just call the doctors office back and schedule an appointment and boy am I glad that I did!  The doctor was also suprised at the results.  She thought for sure that he had the flu.  He has strep throat!  So, she gave him a big shot and hopefully he is now on the road to recovery.  She also advised me to throw away all of our toothbrushes after 24 hours and get new ones.  Tonight my husband was complaining of a sore throat.  This time we will not be waiting 5 days.   Tonight Aaron did go to bed with a high fever and chills.  I hate using Motrin, but that is when I do use it.  Thank you for the prayers for Aaron and I am so thankful that we went to the doctor and he got a shot.  Hopefully the road to recovery for him is just around the corner and his appetite will return.  Five days of not really eating is not a good thing.

These two pictures were taken today just after bringing Aaron home from the doctor.  He is smiling because he had just finished a sucker from the doctor's office.  This was the first smile I had seen in five days.  Emily insisted that she get a picture too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Please Pray For My Sweet Little Aaron

Aaron has been sick now for four days.  He has been running a fever, sleeping most of the time, and has no interest in food.  He says his stomach does not feel well.  I have been making sure that he is staying hydrated.

This is a picture of Aaron at AWANA taken several months ago.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

When You Have To Stay Home From Church

There will be time when sickness may come to you or to one of your children and you have to miss a Lord's Day service.  What do we do on those days to still set it aside as a Sabboth to the Lord?  We want to hear from the Lord and we are sad when we must miss, but there are many things that we can still do to make it a joyous day.  We live in a day of internet access in which the opportunity to hear good, solid, Biblical preaching is available.  I suggest to use this time to listen to a sermon online, spend an extended time reading your Bible if you can, listening to music that focuses our mind on Christ and what He has accomplished for those who are in Him, serving your sick child and loving on him or her, reading books that focus our mind on Christ.  Set this day aside and be intentional to make it special even when you cannot be together with other Christians.  It is only one day a week that we really get to do this and we ought to look forward to being with God's people and hearing from the Lord.

I say all of this today because I was looking forward with great anticipation to hearing my husbands sermon from Colossians this morning on the Colossian hymn: Colossians 1: For by Him and through Him and to Him are all things..."  Our son has had a fever and a stomach ache for the past 3 days and I was really hoping that this morning he would be better.  However, last night the fever was just getting the best of him and he was up a lot.  He is just laying around, drinking water a little at a time, and going to the bathroom.  My energetic little boy is just sick.  It is my duty to serve him and love him through all of this and I wouldn't do anything different.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Counsel From The Cross

This week-end I had the wonderful privilege to attend a conference with our secretary from church.  She invited and paid for me to go and hear a recorded conference of Elyse Fitzpatrick speak on Counsel From the Cross.  Wow!!!  I was brought to the cross this week-end and I wanted to share with you some of my notes from her speaking.  I know this is not the same as attending the conference, but I do hope that it encourages someone today.  Plus, I would highly encourage anyone to purchase a copy of her book, Counsel From the Cross or Because He Loves Me.

     "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children" (Ephesians 5:1)

- When we see this verse, our thoughts are often focused on the imperative (command) to be imitators of God.  We either try to keep this command and fall into self-righteousness (pride) or into despair.
- Often when we read verses like these they become as "white noise" to us.
- Our christianity becomes what we should do instead of what God has done for us in Christ.

- Christ is wonderful and I am in Him!!!
- Are we beloved children or begrudging slaves?  We are beloved children as the verse in Ephesians tells us.
- God is pleased with Christ!!!
- We can tell if we are a Pharisee if we judge others and expect them to hold to the law that we don't even hold to.
- Christ is making us into His image.  I am an image-bearer of Christ.
- I am sinful and flawed, yet I am beloved and welcome!!!

- God loves me with the same intensity as He love the Son.
- Christ became man for me so that I could be beloved by the Father.
- We are beloved children, not houseguests, foster children, or slaves.
- The law crushes us and brings us to Christ.  It is our schoolmaster.

- We see Christ in the Word preached and that is why it is important to be present in the Lord's Day services each week.  Lean forward and engage yourself in the preached Word of God.  It is Christ speaking to us.
- Don't shift aside from the hope of the gospel.
- When we don't witness to others it is because we are not in love with Christ.  When we are in love with someone, we speak often of them and it is no problem because they just flow into our every conversation.
- Only the gospel can transform us!

- When we don't pray it is because we are not really sure what God thinks of us.
- Jesus is the wrath-bearer.
- We see God's glory in the means of grace that He has given us: preaching of the Word, baptism, and the Lord's Supper.
- The Lord's Supper is Christ's hospitality to me.  His blood cleanses me and His body was broken for me.
- Don't ever move past the gospel or think it too elementary!!!

These we only my notes from the first night of the conference.  I want to put my notes from today on here also, but will have to do so on another day.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Home Schooling And Housekeeping

A few years ago, I was all classical education minded and nothing else.  I was convinced that if I was to educate our children at home then we needed to use the classical approach because in my mind that was the best.  Years went by and more children came into our lives.  Life suddenly got busier and schooling was taking the majority of my day.  By the time it was time for housework, I was tired.  I was also either pregnant or nursing a baby during this time.  Let's just say, I started looking at other options and reading all the different styles of homeschooling and was impressed with the Charlotte Mason learning style.  My children loved to read and I loved reading to them.  We were all about living books.  During this time of questioning our philosophy of education, the Lord humbled me and taught me that it wasn't really about what style a person used to teach their children at home.  It was about attitude and creating a love for learning.  I was trying to impress and create a smart child with lots of rigorous work and ended up creating a dislike for most of our schooling.  So, I tried several different things and finally ended up landing on Sunlight.  It has been the best thing for our family.  We all love reading and some days it hardly feels as if we are really doing school.  The flexibility of the schedules is also what persuaded us.  We had the option of choosing either a four day schedule or a five day schedule.  We chose the four day schedule and love every minute of it.  This also makes it easier to balance housekeeping.  Our reading time usually takes no more than about 2 hours.  Most of the rest of their schooling is independent work with the exception of spelling and grammar.  For those two subjects we use Sequential Spelling and First Language Lessons and these both are so very easy.

Today, we were able to finish our schooling by lunch time for the most part and then make bagels, granola bars, practice sewing, and clean house, and cook dinner.  Not all days are like today.  Some days are still a struggle, but for the most part there is now a routine that we are satisfied with.  If you are unhappy with your curriculum, I suggest that you look around and find one that will best fit your schedule and your families likes.  One thing that I have learned is that it is not always about what learning style you chose or what curriculum you land with.  You have to go with what works for your family.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Story Of Don and I:Part 2

Don went back to life planning his dad's funeral and I went back to life working as a summer camp counselor in Missouri.  He regularly wrote letters and I wrote back all summer.  He even came to visit me one time during the summer.  Our relationship continued to blossom.  When my job ended, I went back to school for the semester and so did he.  Once back in school, he asked me to marry him.  I said no because I wanted my family's approval first and I did not think that they would be ready.  Our relationship still grew stronger in spite of the fact that I was just not ready for marriage yet.   We both ended up not finishing the semester.  He was not ready emotionally due to his dad's death and I did not have the finances.  We both headed back to our hometowns.  Just before we departed, he asked me to elope with him and I still said no.  We both went back to work in our hometowns and planned on getting married in June.

About February, Don had had enough of being without me and he, in desperation, called me one last time and asked me to marry him now.  I said yes and that I thought Valentines Day would be a great time.  So, I traveled to Indiana and asked his pastor to perform the wedding on the 14th.  He said that he could not do that, but could perform the wedding on the 15th.  We took the plunge and had a tiny little wedding on February 15, 1996.  His family attended the wedding.  We had a total of 14 people attend our wedding.  Also, he drove us both to the church building and walked me down the isle.  It was a very non-traditional wedding, but worked great for us!  We are each others best friends and the years just keep getting better.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

15 Years

Today Don and I got the privilege to celebrate our 15 year wedding anniversary.  We chose to take a hike in the Palo Duro Canyon with our children.  It was a beautiful day for a hike.  Just a week ago it was -6 with a wind chill of -20 and today it was in the 70's.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Story Of Don and I:Part 1

The year was 1995, the month was March, we were in the same Bible history class and we also ate lunch at the same time in the school cafeteria, he noticed me!  He asked others about me and I did the same thing about him.  Who can turn down a handsome red headed man who was studying to be a preacher?  Not me!  The reason I even went to Bible college was to meet and marry a soon to be preacher.    He began walking over to my table where I was eating lunch and asked me to go to the bank with him.  In my mind, I was thinking, "sure, I need a ride anyway across town because I need to get a birthday gift for my sister."  It was his first semester at Bible college and my second.  I knew the town and he did not.  I said, "yes".  We hit it off from the very beginning!  After that time, we went out again on an official date- to Lambert's: Home of the Thrown Roll and then later to Andy's Frozen Custard.  I will never forget that date.  He did not feel well but did not want to cancel for fear that he would disappoint me.  Even though the did not feel well, we still had a great time getting to know one another.

We continued to date each other the rest of the semester.  Then I went off to camp to work as a summer camp counselor and he back home.  However, just before I left for camp, I spent a week with him getting to know his family in Indiana.  This week proved to be a life changing week.  His dad had a scheduled open heart surgery.  He made it through the surgery and then we went out to eat breakfast with a pastor friend.  While eating breakfast, we get a call telling us to come immediately because his dad was not looking good.  By the time we made it to the hospital, we were called into a small room with a chaplain.  We knew something was majorly wrong.  Then the chaplain told us something no one wanted to hear.  Don's dad had died during recovery.  He bled out.  The tears started flowing from everyone and everyone was in total shock.  I drove the family home that day and then they began planning his funeral.  My job was getting ready to start for the summer and I needed to fly out to get there on time.  So, Don drove me to the airport and said his goodbyes to me and then headed back home to help his mom and plan his Dad's funeral.  I wanted to be there for him in his pain...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Free Audio Book- Adopted For Life by Russell Moore

Who likes free?  I do!  If you head on over to Christian you can sign up to receive a free audio book every month.  A few of the selections that I have obtained for free have been C.K. Chesterton books, John Piper books, Jerry Bridges books, and this month a book by Russell Moore, Adopted For Life.  If you have not had a chance to read this book, I highly recommend it!  It will be a life changing book and change the way you think about adoption.  This book is for EVERYONE!  It is about adoption and the theology of adoption in Christ for the believer.  It is a book that is hard to put down and will leave you walking away rejoicing over your adoption in Christ and ready to do something for the field of orphans all over this world.  Then when you are done, I encourage you to head on over to Reece's Rainbow website and pray and advocate for these dear children who are created in the image of God and who need someone to be their voice and their parents.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gods and Generals, Liberty's Kids, and Ken Burns Civil War

This year in school, the oldest is learning about American History and the other children are learning about Ancient History.  In lieu of studying American History, we chose to watch a movie about the civil war today, Gods and Generals,  and ALL the kids sat glued to the television with lots of discussion afterwards.  Don loves anything about the civil war and has also been watching a great documentary called, Ken Burns on the Civil War.  If you get a chance to watch either of these, I highly recommend them.  Another great television resource on American History has been Liberty's Kids.  Do you have any favorite books or movies that you have been able to enjoy as a family that are about American History?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bagel Making Fun

A few days ago my friend, Celee, posted a recipe for bagels on her blog.  I decided to give it a try today and literally could not stop making them with the many varieties that my brain could think of.    Our children now officially know how to make bagels.  They each got to make a batch on their own.  We made honey whole wheat, honey oatmeal, pumpkin spice (made with butternut squash), multi-grain (white flour, oatmeal, and cornmeal), and cranberry with walnuts.  We also thought of chocolate.  I suggest that you head on over to Celee's blog and find the master recipe and then when you are done go on over to The Fresh Loaf to perfect your skill at bagel making.  I plan on making bagels that are bigger next time.  Who knew that making bagels could be so easy and so fun?  Now all my children have a fantastic skill that they can carry on with them throughout life.  Another plus is that whenever I don't want to cook breakfast in the morning, I can just ask them to make some bagels.  The best of both worlds.  What skill have you been passing on lately?  Please share.  I love new ideas.

Then at the end of the afternoon, you just tucker out.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm Back To Blogger

The break has been long but I never really got over the learning curve with WordPress and I cannot continue to justify spending $10 a month for a domain that I have not been posting on frequently enough.

Life around here has changed a lot since I was last blogging on Blogger.  My husband accepted a new job back in September and we moved cross-country in September.  I now live in the same town as most of my family.  This was completely a work of the Lord.  My husband is now pastoring a church in Texas.  We also recently bought a house.  Again, a work totally of the Lord!  I am planning on sharing this story soon.  No new additions to our household.  Our cat that we did have in NY is now with my husband's parents in Indiana.  I made the switch to SonLight curriculum back in September and am not looking back.  I LOVE every minute of it!  Thanks to encouragement from my other blogger friend, Celee, I am now doing the 90 day Bible reading plan (a little behind, but at least I am staying with it).  Also, the Lord has been working on my heart in other areas for sometime that I hope to be able to share with you all soon.  For now, it just feels great to be back on Blogger.