Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Yes. Indeed.



If you are one who has been been hanging around
our Place since I went to bring Ruby home,
you will appreciate that
I've been making some sweet memories with 
these two, as well as,
 Emma and her Gems...


Yes, indeed.  

And yes, her smile says it all. 



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Her Words vs. The Truth


Today I was reflecting on a phone call I once had.

I'd completely forgotten about it.

The year was 1989. 

 I can even almost picture what I was 
wearing that early spring day at our home 
in Getzville, New York.

Back in the day house phones 
were the way people called each other,
there was no caller ID and the cord
kept you close to the actual phone.

Answering the phone that
day I was unaware of who or what 
the caller would say.
{Thank you Lord for caller-ID now, right?}


Just a few months before 
we had been chosen by a birth mom 
to raise her baby and we couldn't have
been more excited.

This long-prayed for treasure's crib was sitting 
expectantly, next to the dresser which held the neatly
folded baby clothes.  The diaper bag 
standing guard beside it all.  

Abi was five, Tyler just two
and my heart could hardly wait for this 
little one's birth for the joy
of knowing that we had broken 
"society norm" by now adding to 
our family number three.

Only thing is that the bio mom,
at the last second, decided to pick 
the family she had said she wasn't 
going to pick.

She had changed her mind as she labored 
literally days before Christmas.

I remember returning "our" baby's 
clothes to the store and through tears
explaining that the baby we had expected
was unexpectedly no longer coming.

It had been a difficult season and
being someone who is very private, 
I grieved alone.
In public I wore my normal face,
but in private it was different.

And it was during those difficult days
that the phone rang. 

When I heard her voice I thought, 

"How odd, you never call me."

She didn't make chit-chat,
instead she started,

"We've all been talking...."

Isn't it interesting that often "We've all" is spoken
to make it all sound so much more 
incredibly credible.

Never would this person have said, 

"I've been thinking..."

Her words needed to sound believable.
She wanted the words she was about to speak
 to bear weight to my soul and she definitely
wanted to be sure that I obeyed her.

"We've all been talking
and we want you to know that you need
 to give up the idea
of any more children.  Move on with your
life.  You have two.  You definitely have enough."

What struck me was that I had not nor would
I ever have confided anything in this person.
She didn't know me.  Not at all.
She had heard through the grapevine 
that we had a loss through adoption.
I had never, ever told her anything.
Not one thought or feeling.

Yet she thought she knew what was best
for my life and our family 
and she didn't have a problem
telling me so.

How many times in life are we influenced
by someone else's voice rather than 
the already whispered voice of God? 

God had many, many, many years
 before planted in my heart
the dream of a large multi-cultural pile of 
treasures lovingly gathered from around the 
world.

So contrary to what she was telling me!

Oh how it hit me again today!

Suddenly, I remembered that long-forgotten
opinionated voice and before my eyes
flashed all that I would have missed
out on had I decided her words were
more important than the voice of the Lord.

And recalling I shudder to imagine what my life
would look like without

Autumn




Emma



Graham



Liberty




Jubilee




Nehemiah




Isaiah




Elizabeth




Elijah



and sweet, sweet Ruby.



Not to mention the buckets of laughter 
I'd have missed,




tens of thousands of delightful mealtimes,



the comfort of being needed
to work through life's struggles,



scads of unexpected surprises,



and knowing I'm completely surrounded 
by my sweet pile 
who love me, thrive on hanging out with me 
and still think I'm crazy-cool 
[even though I'm really not]


The bottom line:



Truth.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Wait Till You Hear This!!

You are not gonna' believe it!! 

And moms and dads you will want to share this story with 
your children and grandchildren - it's that good! 

So let me back up just a bit in order to paint the picture of exactly 
how many pieces of the puzzle were moved about in order for 
Almighty God to accomplish His miraculous plan.

Seriously, I'm giddy!!

So listen to this....

About a year ago I met a young woman named Kim.  
We have several things in common, 
including we were both part of Hope Kids.  

Pretty cool.

This past Spring this last Spring/Summer Hope Kids 
had a luau.  Kim was there and introduced 
me to her sister, Gina.  Gina is also a Hope Kids mom.  

As many know, God had actually been stirring a 
young woman's heart, since she was just six years old.  He stirred 
and stirred and stirred until that day, over 2 years ago, 
she packed her belongings 
and moved to the other side of the world.  
God fine-tuned the dreams He had planted in her heart 
to the point that she knew His whispers were to open a home 
for Special Needs Gems.  

Hence, The Gem Foundation was founded by her to care for the 
most vulnerable of orphans.  

And at the same time, a world-renowned ministry, with a 
impeccable reputation [named Watoto] had been praying for years 
for a special place to move their special needs treasures to.   
Watoto heard about the young woman who had recently moved
to Uganda to open a home for special needs Gems 
and they began to pursue her.  
They wanted to hear for themselves 
the dreams God had long-planted in her heart.  

After having coffee with her, they contacted her several
times and eventually they questioned,  
"We would like to partner with 
you and gift our special needs little ones to your ministry.
Are you willing?"

They then told her,

"You are the person we have been 
praying for for years!"

One of the precious ones who arrived from Watoto ministries 
was a little guy named Elisha, with a smile that will instantly melt your heart.
Elisha is severely medically fragile.  
A true little love-bug who being quite truthful,
completely stole 
this silver-haired mama's heart the second I laid my eyes on him.

I mean, seriously....
look at him and his dashing smile!
Such personality!
 

One of Elisha's many needs is the feeding peg he has in his belly.  
And believe it or not, Uganda has been unable to get the type of device he needs.
 So Elisha has had to go to Kenya for surgery for it or 
anytime there is a problem with it.

In fact, crazy as it may sound, 
there have been times when Kenya doesn't 
even have one!! 

Recently, Elisha's feeding device came out and Emma had to call Kenya 
to see if they had the device.  They did {which was miraculous}.  
Emma then had to to hire a driver to take the nurse and Elisha to Nairobi.  
They encountered a problem as they drove and were delayed on the 
road even longer.  It was a very tiring few days and all of that 
takes such a toll on Elisha's fragile little being!  

With the lack of being able at times to even get the proper device we had been
asking the Lord for break through with this situation and to please 
make another way!!  Come on now - some thing had to give!!  

Elisha's situation 
is too dangerous {in so many ways} to not be able to have 
his health remedied close to home!   

And wouldn't you know that the God who made 
the entire universe 
and created Elisha was up to something good??  

Oh yes He was!

Something VERY good!

So a few days ago Gina, Kim's sister, who I met at the luau almost a year 
ago messaged me and asked if I would want to take a folding 
wheelchair, an oxygen tank carrier and some medical supplies 
to The Gem Foundation?  I told her I would love to and if we didn't 
get to take it all this trip, it eventually would get there.

Well Gina and I met up at a Hope Kids event and 
she loaded us up with some 'sweet treat medical supplies
for The Gem.

The next day as I was loading my suitcases, I looked at some 
medical supplies and thought, "Hmmm, not sure what that is, 
but there's room so we'll throw it in too."  
I kinda' figure that if God supplied it, it must be needed
or will be needed soon! 

My three enormous bags and two carry-ons flew our way to Africa 
{all by my lonesome again!!} and landed Thursday.  
The long drive back to The Gem was 
filled with such fun.  

After all - 
we're about to have a #gemofawedding !!!

When we reached The Gem, I started dragging all the surprises
out that I know Emma misses....
Pumpkin pancake mix, 
Pumpkin scone mix,
Hazelnut coffee creamer,
 as well as a small jar of 
Frank's Hot Sauce to make Buffalo wings! 

I was still pretty wound up and unzipping my huge duffel bag exclaimed, 
"Oh, I have some medical supplies too!"  I reached in and opening 
the box I showed Emmy. 

 She literally jumped up and ran to me, 




"Oh Mom!  
No way!  
Mom!!  
No way!!  
Oh my gosh!! Mom!!
Seriously!!  I am sure this is the exact device 
that we can't get here for Elisha!  
Mom, this is it!!  
This is what we 
have gone to Nairobi for, but Nairobi said they don't even have 
one right now!  Mom - this is it! I'm sure of it.  
I can't wait till the day nurse arrives in the morning!  
Mom - I just know it - this is it!" 




Emma continued to do a happy dance - squealing with joy!!

And you guessed it, B, the nurse arrived the next morning and 
confirmed this is the EXACT DEVICE Elisha uses.  

The exact one!  

I mean, the exact one!  

Not a hair difference. 

The one and only! 

And Gina sent - 

Not one....

Not two...

But 

THREE...
{Interestingly, three is the number in scripture which means 'completion'}

And to think of all the circumstances the Lord arranged
over the years
to bring a very specific and much needed device to a 
precious little orphan Gem named Elisha. 

Our Gasp-giving God!

All praise and honor to the King of Kings!!
He is a.m.a.z.i.n.g.
and 
let the world know - 
God surely loves the orphan!!!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pretty Stinkin' Pleased With Herself


That little treasure of ours is up to more 
miraculous things!

Check her out!

Her progress continues to be spectacular!

Don't you just love her smile?
Clearly, she is pretty stinkin' pleased with herself
and why shouldn't she be?

Another victory is underway!


As I was taking these pictures, we timed her...
Miss Ruby sat for a full 10 minutes - 
completely unsupported!

In fact she got an itch and was able to
maintain her balance and scratch her
little itch without losing her balance.




There was a very real concern for a long time when Ruby
came first home that Ruby might not ever
even be able to hold up her own head...
remember she has
Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy!

But look at this little chica!


Ruby's life serves as a daily reminder
that Almighty God is always at work
as He is offers Hope to all, 
generously provides Healing and 
astounds even the greatest doubter!
Praise His name!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#gemofawedding

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who have given so generously.

Each shirt, each pair of pants, each sock and each shoe purchased is not taken lightly.

We are overjoyed at your response!

You are officially part of #GemOfAWedding

Just think...it's not every day that a missionary gets married and it's really not every day that a missionary with 23 Gems in her charge is the bride!  

And the rumor is that the Gems are soooo excited!  One thing about Africa - they know how to have a wedding celebration!



The shirts and pants have begun to arrive and will soon be speeding their way to the Gems!!  

I can't wait to post pictures of all the Gems wearing their wedding clothes!

Thank you for all you have done.  

Pray with us as the preparations continue, 
as some head to Africa and 
for those left on the home front.  


Saturday, February 21, 2015

It's A-Comin' and We Need Your Help!

Most girls dream of their wedding day.

Many plan years before they are even close to marrying.

Beautiful Pinterest boards are dedicated to the future big day...
knowing that only one little thing is missing - the groom!



We've had four of our bigs get married - 
each wedding with it's own flavor and style.

and now Miss Emma's big day is approaching!

It is actually 'right around the corner' - March 10th, 2015

Many have asked about her wedding
and here's the details...

She's getting married in Africa.

As she put it, "Mom, I can't get married 
without my kids surrounding me!"

 And so it is that Dw and I will travel 
to be part of the grand celebration as Emma 
unites her heart and life to Josh.  

Lord willing, the live-feed will work well
and our treasures at home can also "attend" from here. 

And in case you missed it, 
I shared Emma and Josh's love story here.

Josh is moving to Africa to join Emma at
which she not only directs and will continue to, 
but God clearly called her
 to it this lifelong work over 15 years ago.
In fact, Josh bought a one-way ticket!

Well as all folks know, 
weddings are big celebrations and Africa
does celebrating with great enthusiasm!

But there is one little thing desperately needed
by this young missionary....

Clothes for her Gems!!


I told Emma, 

"My bloggy friends came through for the 
wedding feast by dressing the street boys.  
Bloggy friends again came through
for snack bags for the street boys.  Bloggy friends then generously donated backpacks to the 
orphans and they also gave joyfully at the 
Gem shower to cloth her Gems last year," 
I continued, "These friends are so amazing, 
and I just know they will dress your Gems 
for the wedding!"


So there you have it.

The need is real.

Emma's heart would be overjoyed to see her Gems
looking fancified and spiffed out for their mama's big day!

Would you be willing to help?

 Emma's request is simple: 
One white button-down short sleeve shirt for each boy
and a black pair of dress pants.
A blush-pink party dress for each girl Gem.

A bloggy friend, Casey, who adores the Gems,
is working away to make bow ties for each!! 
How cool is that??

Here's how you could help...




Perhaps buy Jerom his shirt
or his pants, or both!!



Or a dress for Hannah...



Or very sick, but oh-so-tender-hearted Joey....


Or precious Justine...
{pronounced Justin}



Or how about joyful Collins?
{seriously, this is his constant facial expression}



Or how about little Mattie?


There are 25 Gems total...
each needing clothes for their mama's wedding.


The easiest way for me to figure out how to do this was
to have three "showers" again...

One shower hostess just brought home two treasures,
so she is tending to her littles at the moment...

But the other three are ready, willing and able
to help you shop...

The shower hostesses have the address to ship the
items.  

So ladies {and gentlemen} thank you in advance
for loving the Gems.


I emailed these three sweet orphan-loving friends 
and asked if they were willing to help.  
Without hesitation came back each 
of their replies, "I'm in."  
And I've never even hugged their necks!!

On Valentine's Day I shared my heart
about how I love you guys - and this is a perfect example...
ready to help  in a moment's notice.  

So please email the hostess and 
then shop for a Gem...


Kathryn's shower 
in
Tennessee

Attend by emailing:  
kathrynhallquist@yahoo.com


Robin's shower 
in 
New Jersey

Attend by emailing:
robinljohnstone6@gmail.com


Rebecca's shower
in 
New Mexico

Attend by emailing:  
nickandbec@gmail.com 



Thank you from the bottom of our hearts 
and what joy you will have when you see
the pictures of these precious Gems!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Fun...


Seems to me that every now and then
Fridays out to be a celebration of sorts....

Even a time for a bit of extra joy...

Or perhaps for a few giggles..

So here we are,
sharing some joy, celebration and giggles
 from our home this week to yours...


First for the celebrating....


Nehemiah Judson 
is now officially ours.

Through and through.


Of course, 
we knew it the moment he stepped in our front door.

Overjoyed he's ours.





After court we were able to go to the 
Chinese Cultural Center 
here in Phoenix to celebrate some more...



The architecture is amazing....







As are the ponds and the gardens....






Jubilee was the most thrilled about the 
Chinese artifacts...
she was almost giddy...

[Can you tell how pleased she is?]




It was such a special day...
kinda wishing that we could have a do-over!

And a few minutes ago through peels of laughter,
Elizabeth was calling to us...

"I've gotten stuck guys!! 
Can someone please come help me get out?"

Of course as I came and found her predicament I
began to laugh myself...and before I helped her I just
had to snap a picture.

At the moment I took the pic, 
she was saying, 

"NOOOO pictures mom!
*giggle, giggle, giggle* 
Do not Instagram this!
*giggle, giggle giggle*
Oh Mom - that's just so rude!" 


And technically I am not Instagramming this...




Happy Friday to you and yours...

And if you are able,
please stop by our Place tomorrow.

I have a sweet proposal for you...
that I am quite certain you'll be bummed
if you miss...