Our Journey

This blog is a small peek inside our family's first adventure into the world of adoption. We welcome your encouragement & financial support, but most importantly we appreciate your prayer covering as we climb the mountains & wander the valleys of this incredibly crazy, yet exciting journey God is leading our family on. We also ask for your prayer covering over our new children, wherever & whoever they are, that they will sense God's loving presence as He snuggles them for us, & for protection from satan's evil schemes toward each of us. Though we may be on opposite sides of the globe, or just a few miles apart, we trust God has already been preparing all of us for each other as our family grows again. May all the Glory in this journey go to our Heavenly Father, who adopted each of us as His own beloved sons & daughters.

About Us

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


As I was sorting through a box of paper in preparation for repacking it properly for our move, I came across a paper we used to have hanging in our kitchen at the last house for our children, but I hadn't found again since living here. I want to share what's on this paper for two reasons: 1) In case it goes missing again before we get to our new home, and 2) because, darn it, it stinks to be convicted alone! LOL

Obedience + Delay = Disobedience
___ Do I have to be reminded several times before I do a job?
___ Do I say "I will" then take my time before I finally get around to doing it?
___ Do I answer, "I will, but not right now" or "Later"?
___ Do I fail to meet deadlines?

Obedience + Murmuring/Complaining = Disobedience
___ Do I do what I am told, but pout as I do it?
___ Do I complain about the things expected of me?
___ Do I make sure others feel sorry for me as I do the work I've been asked or instructed to do?

Obedience + My Methods = Disobedience
___ Do I do what I am told, but not in the way I am told?
___ If i cannot do the job my own way, do I leave it undone or do it halfheartedly?
___ Am I sneaky about the shortcuts I take because my parents would not approve of them?
___ Do I insist that my parents explain why they want something done in the manner they've specified before I will complete he task?

Obedience + The Desire To Have People Praise Me = Disobedience___ Do I do the things my parents have asked of me just so people will praise me?
___ If no one praises me for what I've done, do I stop doing it or do it halfheartedly?

Obedience + Letter of the Law - Spirit of the Law = Disobedience
___ Do I obey my parents, yet continually look for how close I can come to disobedience without actually being accused of it?
___ Do I tell only a portion of the story so the complete situation is not fully understood by my parents?

"LISTEN to your father's instruction & do not forsake your mother's teaching." (Proverbs 1:8)
"Children, OBEY your parents in the Lord, for this is right." (Ephesians 6:1)
"For even a child is KNOWN by his actions, whether his conduct be pure & right." (Proverbs 20:11)
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
OUCH!!! This is not just applicable to young children under a parent's authority. This applies to us big children under our Heavenly Father's authority.

Reading through this paper when I found it yesterday really convicted me of my "obedience + murmuring/complaining" in moving to the land of tumbleweeds and Texas stars. As obedient as I thought I was, it was still DISOBEDIENCE in God's eyes. 
I think I need to hang this paper up in the new home, not just on the fridge for the sake of the children, but somewhere where I will see it frequently too.

It's all too easy to fall into disobedience when the action and the attitude are not united. I don't want to be found "obeying on the outside, but disobeying on the inside". I want to be in complete obedience.

After that good swift swat on the rear yesterday (and a full night of sleep after too many brief winks), I'm finding myself today beginning to look forward to our new life in Texas.

~ Michelle


Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'd Marry Him Again...

Twenty-three yrs ago today
I walked into a youth group meeting
for homeschooled high schoolers
that I attended every Friday night, 
expecting the same ol' worship and fellowship.

And I went home wondering
if I'd met the young man
who would eventually ask my dad
for my hand in marriage.

He stole my heart that night 
with his blue eyes, his smile, his Coke Cake,
and easy comfortable conversation.

 Over the years, 
he's continued to steal my heart.

He's never given it back.

Nearly four years later,
I became his bride.

Before our 7th Anniversary,
we were blessed with 
6 incredibly beautiful children.

After 19 years of marriage,
even if we had to go through
the same ups and downs of life,
the same disappointments and struggles,
the same celebrations and accomplishments,
the same broken dreams
and the same uncountable blessings...

I'd marry him again.

Rick, thank you for blessing my life
with your smile, your easy conversation,
and your tender unconditional love.
(And so much more!)

And thank you for being my journey's companion.
It's been an unforgettable experience
walking through life by your side,
and I expect this adventure is only going to get
more exciting with each passing year!

I just wanted everyone to know
how blessed I am...
because of you!

I love you!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

What Am I Agreeing To?

As anybody who has ever adopted a child can attest, it is an emotional roller coaster ride. And we're really just getting started. Yikes! Before we can really move forward with the adoption process, we have to complete the move to Texas (another long story but thought the movers were not going to get there before we have to be out of our current house), finish transferring from the temp-to-hire position I am currently in to permanent hire with benefits, (told that is supposed to happen today or Monday. Yay!) and we still need to find a permanent residence to rent or purchase in Texas. Oh, did I mention the movers are coming in 3 days? 

All because my darling wife had the audacity to pray, "God, I'm bored. We need more adventure in our lives." 

Are you happy now, dear? We have adventure in spades!!!

I tease because my wife was right - we had become plump, happy, and dumb Christians, and our faith was stale. Faith is kind of like working out - the more you use it, the stronger it gets. We had become
comfortable. Our faith work out was at a maintenance level; a comfortable plateau. We didn't have a lot of extra but I rarely had to worry about how to pay our regular living expenses anymore, the cars are paid for, we live in a comfortable house in a nice neighborhood with great landlords - what more could we really want? 

And then my wife suggests adoption.

"Hmmm. Adoption. Really? Let me think about it." (Universal husband speak for "I'll give it some time and she'll get over it. She probably just had some bad pizza at lunch.")

And then she shows me some pictures.

"That's nice," I think, "So what?"

But funny thing - I can't get those darn pictures out of my head. And I find myself day dreaming about having two more daughters, and even thinking about the logistics of how to accommodate a wheel chair. "Well, if we widen this doorway and put a ramp at the front steps...." That kind of thing.

And next thing I know I realize, I'm agreeing to this idea and I don't remember making a conscious decision. (Just remember wives, you are the neck that turns the head.)

"So, okay, this is kind of a cool idea. Over the next year or two, we'll save up the money, do the homestudy, etc. It will be a breeze, right?"

Wrong!!!! And now all hell breaks loose, like the Hoover dam breaking and flooding everything beyond it!

First, new job to help provide the additional income and benefits needed to pay for the extra medical costs associated with two children who have special needs.

God - "Oh yeah, by the way, that new job's in Texas, Rick."

Me - "What!?!? Texas?!? You're kidding, right? I gotta lotta friends there, but it's a nice place to visit and then go home."

God - "Nope. Not kidding. Texas it is. Uhhh, West Texas specifically."

Me - "Really?!? There's nothing there, and all my friends are in East Texas! It's a dessert, only no oasis, palm trees, etc. Surely you meant somewhere with some green, right?"

God - "Nope. Texas."

Me - "Oh, Okay." (Can you hear the underwhelming enthusiasm in my voice?)

And now Satan rubs his hands together gleefully and cackles "Let the games begin! This will be fun!"

And the games did begin - delay after delay, wondering what in the world we are doing.

First, we decided to delay the home study since it would have to be done all over again once we got settled in a new state. I bought a car (hadn't needed a second vehicle in about 5 years with me driving truck.) and headed for my new job in Texas. Got here and was promptly moved 4 different times as the company battled with the housing market here to provide us with a place to stay for 3 months. I fulfilled my requirements to move to full time, permanent employ, but because my new company had just been purchased by a larger company, it delayed the process of moving to the list of permanent employees as they sorted through all the new processes and procedures to accomplish this.

I was really digging the new and improved (aka, larger) paychecks and we were actually saving money for a change, thinking about buying a house here in Texas since it is considerably less expensive than renting, and then one by one, every car we own decides it needs some TLC to the tune of almost a thousand dollars or more, each.

"So much for savings, God! Now what? How are we gonna afford a place to live? Where am I gonna put my family?"

God - "Patience, my son. Didn't I tell you I will provide all of your needs according to my riches in glory...? I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Me - "But God, time is running out and I don't see a solution yet! I'm scared!" And though I didn't say it, angry too.

And this is where agreement comes into play. Those little thoughts; seeds planted by the father of lies...

"You're running out of time. There's no way you'll be able to make enough money in time to house your family before they get there." And circumstances seem to agree.

This is about the time that we are told that Aliza is getting ready to be transferred to the "laying rooms" that Michelle described in an earlier post. (I won't describe it here because it makes me want to cry every time I think about it.)

Pressure's on, and time is of the essence. Looming deadlines and no respite in sight. And I began to agree with these whispered ideas, the same way many of us do. "This is taking too long. We'll never make it in time. There's not enough money." Etc., etc., etc.

For any Christian who has ever tried to accomplish a God-breathed vision on their own, they will know exactly what I'm talking about. Because the reality is, God does not give us visions we can accomplish on our own. If He did, we wouldn't really need Him, right?

And the purpose of His visions are to show Himself strong on our behalf, to demonstrate to a lost world that He loves us and desires that
ALL people come to know Him and experience His love. Yet how many times do we find ourselves doubting Him and agreeing with those little lies whispered in our ears by the enemy, who by the way, wants to see us fail!

So last night I was reading a book (completely unrelated to adoption) by a couple of my favorite authors, called "Love and War - Finding the Marriage You've Dreamed of" by John and Stasi Eldredge. In one of the chapters, they talked about this very issue of agreement, and how we essentially exercise negative faith by coming into agreement with lies spoken by the enemy who we frequently ignore or forget even exists. This is not just a physical world with a physical life - it is a spiritual world too, and we are a spiritual people. Do we even recognize the war that rages around us every day in the spiritual dimension?

If you're anything like me, sadly the answer is too often "no". I was really challenged by what they wrote in that chapter ("How to Have a Good Fight"). It made me stop and think about what thoughts I was meditating on and coming into agreement with.

"As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7a.

Wow! I mean, that's powerful stuff. What I think is what I become, so what am I thinking? Am I down on myself? "I'm not good enough. I'll never measure up." Ever had these kinds of thoughts go through your head? I know I have. And what's even scarier is that they are sort of true, which makes them easier to agree with, after all, which one of us really
does measure up; really is good enough, apart from Christ?

But the problem is, it's only half the truth. Yet so often we let these thoughts take root and grow until they produce a whole field full of weeds like doubt, shame, and inadequacy. Oh how many times have I said, "I feel so inadequate."?

The reality is I am inadequate, but that's only half the truth, because as Paul said "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." That is the whole truth - that in myself, I am inadequate, but in God, I can accomplish great and marvelous things because He has invited me to participate with Him in what He's doing, and has granted me His authority to do it in. How awesome is that?!?

So the question becomes, are we taking those thoughts captive and bringing them into submission to the truth of His Word and His will?

Are we standing on the promises or sitting on the doubts and fears?

Are we looking at the outward circumstances and believing what our eyes tell us, or reminding ourselves of the truth of God's Word?

I pray that my Father would help me to stand against the schemes of the devil, to take every thought captive and bring it into submission to the will of God. May I stand on His promise in John 16:33 "
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

~ Rick 

Update: Because both "Olivia" and "Aliza" are no longer available for adoption, we felt it was best to remove the photos we had posted of them from our blog.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mini-Artwork Giveaway!

You all have been so generous the past few days, in your encouraging support, your prayers, and your contributions!! Wow!! Our adoption fund jumped from $200 to $643 in less than 48 hours!! God is so good!!

One of our readers invited us over to their blog, Treasured Pearls, to participate in their 2nd Annual 24 Days of Giving! They are featuring at least adoptive family each day between now and Christmas on their blog. As part of their special Christmas Eve family festivities, they will draw the name of one of those families to receive a very special fund contribution. What a blessing this will be to which ever family's name is drawn from their proverbial hat!!

Then I get an email...

And I cried...

The generosity of "sisters", strangers, and stalkers alike just continues to humble us!! 

Many of you are already familiar with Jane George from Flight Platform Living and know how much she yearns for each and every orphan to receive a family as quickly as possible! Jane heard about our pursuit to bring Olivia and Aliza into our family, and she wanted to be a part in that. She has graciously offered SIX pieces of mini-artwork from her Etsy shop, Art For Hearts, as a fundraiser for our adoption fund!! 

These are from her "Tilly's Treasures Series" and they are simply beautiful.

To enter this giveaway, you can do any of the following, then leave a comment below with a link: 

1) Share about this giveaway on Facebook, then leave a comment below with that link. (1 entry)
2) Share on your blog, then leave a comment below with that link. (1 entry)
3) Click on the Chip In or Paypal Donate Button in the upper right column, and increase the balance in our adoption fund by $10 or more. (Every $10 donation is another entry. - $10 = 1 entry, $20 = 2, $30 = 3, etc. Any donation over $100 will receive an extra entry!!!) And, as always... leave a comment below. (Comments are moderated, and we have chosen not to publish the comments that mention the amount of a contribution, but those names will be included in the final drawing.)

Due to our move from one state to another this month, we will allow this fundraiser to continue indefinitely and will announce an ending date once we know where we will be living and we have web access again. So you have at least until Christmas to enter this giveaway.

When the giveaway ends, we will put all the names (of those who commented below about how they entered) into whatever handy dandy container we can find at the time, and we will have one of our children draw one name at a time. 

The names drawn will be posted on this blog. The first name drawn will have first choice of the 6 mini-artwork pieces, and 2nd name drawn will have their choice of the 5 pieces that remain, and so on. We will give each winner 1 week to respond before we move the other names up the list, and draw another 6th place name.

We want to thank Jane once again for her generous fundraising contribution for Olivia and Aliza !! After you enter this giveaway, please go check out her blog and Etsy Store!!

~ Michelle
Update: Because both "Olivia" and "Aliza" are no longer available for adoption, we felt it was best to remove the photos we had posted of them from our blog.

Book Giveaway Winners!!!

We want to announce the winners to our first giveaway which ran for the whole month of November!!

Both winners will receive a copy of the book

"Adopt Without Debt: 
Creative Ways to Cover The Cost Of Adoption" 
(Revised & Expanded 2nd Edition) 
by Julie Gumm 

So without further delay...

Drumroll please...

And the winners are...

Andrea G. and Abbey H., 
please send us an email with your mailing address so I can get these in the mail to you... before the movers try to pack them in a box instead!! 

Congratulations ladies! We hope these books will help you with your own fundraising efforts. And thanks to everyone who participated in this fundraiser! 

Stay tuned...
There are more fundraisers and giveaways to come!!