Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"There are differences between boys and girls." People told me this all the time when my son was born after our two girls. Oh there are. My little boy spends much of his time crawling around on his knees, wears out the toes of his boots so fast it makes my head spin, and has an energy that never stops. I stop whatever I'm doing just to watch him put away the silver ware, because every time it's a sword fighting battle all the way to the drawer. He follows his daddy around with a million questions, takes our dog with him wherever he goes, and has a friendship with his sisters that makes my heart smile. My sweet son wraps his arms around my neck for no reason at all and declares with a sweetness that I seriously cannot put into words, "I love you TOO much!!" He twirls his fingers in my hair until he falls asleep while I read to him on the couch. Of course, there are moments of exhaustion and trial, but it's an amazing gift of love and I can't imagine my life with him.

Take a moment to think of the sweet children who don't get a chance to express their love in this way, no mother's neck to wrap their arms around. There is no daddy to follow around to answer the million questions that wander through their mind. Right now, we are praying with certainty that there IS a family out there for Mark.

That his Mama is aching to read stories to her sweet boy and watch him play for hours. His daddy might not have ALL the answers for the millions of questions he'll ask over the years, but he'll do his best, and maybe there are sisters and brothers just waiting to share the special bond known only to siblings. Maybe it's your family, maybe it's the family of someone you know. Most of the time I ask for donations and help for his grant. I know I always ask you to share, but today, I'm begging you to share. Mark has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Without treatment it's deadly. BUT 94% of children who are treated appear cured.  I can't say I know what it's like to parent a child with an illness of this magnitude. I can imagine the questions that someone considering adoption is asking... "What about all that time in the hospitals? What about the medical costs? What about my other children? What if he doesn't make it?" I don't have answers, I only know that when we turn to the Lord in our weakness, it's His time to shine. His glory to be revealed. This little boy needs a family that is open to the graces of God and the love of a lifetime. There is NO love like that of a child. Boy or girl. THAT I do know. So, yes, I am asking for your donations if you can help.(Right-hand sidebar, click "donate" - thank you!!) But most of all, today,  I am asking you to share. You know people I don't, who know people you don't, and maybe... your sharing will open the door for his family.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lesson Learned

~But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 19:14

I have four kids, each with very differing personalities. My oldest is very outgoing and never meets a stranger. She frequently strikes up conversation with people in the grocery store, at church, the county fair… you get the idea. She is a natural with people, just like her daddy. Second in line, my six year old, has a super strong will and a way with animals. She enjoys being around people on a more one on one basis and opens up once she gets to know people a little better. The spotlight is not her thing and she never, ever volunteers to get up in front of others for anything.

Saturday night, out of blue, she came into the kitchen and asked me for money. My kids rarely ask for money, so I was a little surprised. I asked her what she needed money for. “I’m raising money for Mark.” she replied. I explained to her that part of fundraising is earning money for our cause.  “I have to go think.” she told me and went to sit in the living room. From the kitchen I could see her sitting there deep in thought. I couldn’t wait to hear what she would come up with.  She surprised me.

“I’m going to sell t-shirts.” 

Off she went to her dresser and found a plain t-shirt and went looking for a permanent marker. No way was I going to stop her, so the t-shirt was sacrificed for a good cause and she set to work. Over the next two hours she drew a picture of Mark and his new family on her shirt, decorated a coffee cup and spoon with lots of paper and tape and found a pair of her favorite tennis shoes (the kind with lights!) that were getting a bit too snug. She put price tags on everything and said she was going to sell them at church the next day. I loved watching her and was amazed by her giving heart. But, honestly, there was a little doubt mixed with fear in the back of my mind. I doubted that she would ask people to buy her stuff. Like I said, she is not the outgoing one in my bunch. And the fear part, well, what if no one bought her stuff. I shoved the negative thoughts away and cheered her on. Sunday morning rolled around and she never said a word about her “merchandise” but she stuffed her bag full and headed out the door, and out of her comfort zone. By the end of the church potluck she had an empty bag and money shoved in every pocket. Each transaction had been initiated by my shy six year old.

When we got home she laid out all the money and we counted it together. $22.01 Y’all there are only around eight families in our church. (Very kind and giving families!) This was a HUGE amount for her to raise. I was so surprised and excited for her!! I hugged her and told her I was so proud of her. She shrugged it off and didn’t make a big deal, “I knew I would get a lot of money.” She wasn’t surprised at all. She just knew. What a sweet lesson I learned from her. Simple faith, extravagant love.  

If you want to join my sweet girl and add to Mark's fund click on the donate button to the right of this post. :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Guess What I Got ...

... in the mail today?? A $50 gift card to Amazon! I can't wait to reseal it in an envelope and mail it again! As soon as Mark, my Angel Tree child, gets to $150 I'm going to give it away!

 If you would like a chance to win it, donate $7 to his grant fund (click on the donate box upper right sidebar) and comment here or on Facebook to let me know you donated.  Every $7 you donate gets you entered twice for the card. And if you share this blog post, I'll give you one entry. Just make sure you comment!!

Just in case this is your first time to visit, Mark is 7 years old and lives in an orphanage. He lives there because he has Down Syndrome. Because in his country different = unlovable. No child deserves to go through life unloved. Last year it was discovered that Mark has leukemia. No treatment, because he's "not worth it". Help me show him he's worth it and help me get him home!! $7 for 7 year old Mark and you are entered!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Angel Tree Fundraising

My family and I are again part of the Reece's Rainbow Christmas Angel Tree. This year we are advocating for "Mark" in Latin America. Because he was born with Down Syndrome he was deemed unworthy by his society and placed in an orphanage. Last year it was also discovered that he suffers from leukemia. He is not currently being treated. In America he would be treated. Period. A family would rally around him and friends would raise money. I am praying that he has a committed family by Christmas time. I am working to raise funds for the family that is called to adopt and bring him home. Please join me in both. If you are able to donate please click on Mark's donate box on the right side of my blog. Please pray and share his picture and story.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Extravagant Love

Little girls can be so... extravagant. I have three in my household and, let me tell you, we have no shortage of fancy and extravagance around here. Just this morning, before heading out to church I straightened two full heads of hair and adorned one fancy flower on the head of a my one year old "hair-less". (And that doesn't even included the attempt made on my own hair.) Then, they had to slip perfectly polished toes into spectacularly sparkled shoes. By the time I shoved my feet into my own boots and double checked my four year old little boy's (yes, we have one!) boots were on the correct feet I was exhausted - and we hadn't even made it out the door!! All this extravagance!! For one "plain Jane" mama, that spends most of my time in jeans and t-shirts it can all be a little overwhelming. What is extravagance, after all? One definition I ran across was, "more than is usual, necessary, or proper." Hmmmm. Occasionally, with all the glitter, ribbons, ruffles and tutus clouding my brain, I would have to agree!

But what about love? What about the one perfect Model of love that set Himself here on earth to show us what it is to love? I am so thankful that He was extravagant in His love. That He loves me, and my children, and you, and each of us "more than is usual, necessary, or proper." So extravagantly, in fact, that He allowed Himself to be crucified for our sin.

In "The Message" Bible 1 Corinthians 13:13  reads "...Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love." The best is love, and we are to love extravagantly. Starting today, I want to learn to follow in the footsteps of my Savior. I wonder what it will involve... allowing some walls to crumble? Being vulnerable? Giving of myself? Giving up myself.  I don't want to over think it, I just want to do it!  Love ~ more than is usual, more than is necessary, and more than is proper! Love. Simply. Extravagantly. Love. The way my Savior loves me.