Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Christmas Gifts that Bless

Last year I was blessed by a blogger who shared websites where you could buy Christmas gifts that help others. I used many of the links to buy gifts for family members. This year I thought I would share some of my favorites as well as some I have found myself. If you know of one that would be a great addition to my list, please leave a comment with the link.



Compassion International Christmas Catalog

Worldvision Gift Catalog

Gospel for Asia Gift Catalog

Living Hope Ethiopia Jewelry

Feeding the Orphans store

Operation Starfish Etsy store

Holt International Gift Catalog


From Africa to your Heart


147 Million Orphans

Half the Sky Shop to Help

Show Hope Store

African Elders of Portland

Twinkle Stitch

The Fistula Foundation


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Traditions

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I love seeing the leaves change color and feeling the morning air become crisp in preparation for Winter. One of the traditions we have as a family that I look forward to every year is our trip to the pumpkin patch. This year was Sophia's first time. All of us were looking forward to seeing her reaction to all she would see. It's one of those things I dreamed about doing with her when we were waiting to bring her home. I LOVED having our whole family together at one of my favorite places.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

You'll be Blessed

One of the many things I love about the adoption agency we used to adopt Sophia is that they are not just about adoption, they are about preserving families. When a child is brought into care with a Holt program many times they are in need of immediate medical care due to illness or malnutrition. Holt is able to provide that care largely because of their sponsorship program. When you sponsor a child, you are a vital part of finding the best permanent home for that child. First, Holt works to reunite the child with their birth family, then seeks in-country adoption options, and after those options are found to be impossible they then pursue a match to a family internationally.

You may not feel God calling you to adopt but you can be a part of God's call to help the orphan. Holt is holding "Winter Jam" concerts aimed at finding sponsors for children. They need volunteers to help. Not only do you get the blessing of doing something worthwhile; you also get to see NewSong perform and come home with a free CD. Please follow this link, watch the video about child sponsorship, and see if you have the time to help at one of these concerts. You'll be blessed!

Holt Winter Jam 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

One Year is a Big Deal

Our baby girl turned one today. Here is a look at what that one year has been like for her:

*born in Ethiopia
*lovingly placed with an orphanage in the hopes of giving her a safe and happy life
*being affectionately cared for by nannies and other orphanage staff
*meeting and attaching to those nannies as well as other kids in the orphanage
*meeting her new parents
*being moved from the only home she has known to a new care center in Addis
*being taken to a new country with new smells, food, language, and people who don't look familiar.
*learning what it means to have the safety of a mother & father's arms

What amazes me the most about all of this is our daughter is one of the happiest and most joyful people I know. God has truly blessed her with a special heart. I doubt I would be smiling like she has through so many losses and changes. Would you? You know what the best part for me is? I get to be her Mom.

I don't think a day has gone by when I have not thought of her birth mother. Her birth mother has lost so much and given even more in letting us raise her. You see, she is missing the good stuff. When Sophia cries--she reaches for me. How is it that someone like me can be given so much? I love the woman who gave my daughter life. I want my daughter to love her too. Oh, how I pray that God grants Sophia's birth mother peace on such a special day--a day that is bittersweet for one we love so much.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Facebook Deactivated; Life Reconnected

Facebook has been my "frienemy" for four years now. I first started an account when Toby was on a two week business trip to China & Malaysia and I was missing him terribly. Instead of seeking to be filled with what God would have for me, I sought out social interaction through social media. It seemed harmless at first. A fun way to reconnect with people I had lost touch with and stay connected with people I wanted to know better. That's what it was for a while, with a few games thrown in that I had to stop playing because while they were fun and my virtual crops were doing great, my real garden was dying and my family was being put second.

In the course of four years I have seen my social world expand into a false sense of intimacy. Really knowing the heart of my "friends" and sharing my heart with them has been reduced to a status update. I have found myself feeling like I don't need to share my life with others in real time because they have already seen it all on facebook. In the same way, I feel like I know people, but I don't know their hearts. I can easily see what is going on in your life through your facebook, but face-to-face, I'm too busy to say "hello". Is that really the kind of friend I want to be? Is that the kind of friend Jesus would want me to be? The kind of friend He is?

Then there is the issue of how truly addictive it can be. How easy it was for me to go straight to that facebook app whenever I turned on my phone. How simple it has been to be on facebook during a conversation with a friend, my children, my husband. How much time I have spent coming up with status updates that would gather numerous likes and comments. Do I spend that much time and energy trying to please my Lord?

There are things I will miss about facebook. I'll miss the daily scripture postings by my friend Phil, the easy way to communicate with people on a broad scale, the opportunities to step up and help those in need, and the feeling of being part of a group. I won't miss the privacy concerns or the needless drama that arises from time to time.

It has just been a few days since the facebook deactivation. I am hoping that I'll be a better friend, mom, wife, and follower of Christ. I already have more time to spend on all of those things. I'm looking forward to striking up real conversations and maybe even writing an actual letter to a friend.