Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chikin Winnur!!!

With 761 entries in the giveaway, and $700 raised, this was a VERY successful giveaway!

Before I announce the winner, I just want to say that I was VERY tempted to enter my own giveaway!  I love Chick-fil-A, and the great employees at my local Chick-fil-A know when I walk in that I want a #4 with pepper jack cheese and a sweet tea.  I LOVE the Spicy Chicken Sandwich!  So, consider yourself lucky, lucky that I didn't rig my own giveaway!


 Congratulations, Debbie!!!  I will be in touch!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hoarders: Pickett Edition

Anyone who knows me knows that there is only one time during the year when my house looks ready for an episode of Hoarders: the time leading up to Bargain Fair.  It's a HUGE indoor sale of items donated by the active and sustaining members of a local charitable organization, as well as people in the community.  As the Chair of Bargain Fair last year, it meant that for part of last summer and fall, my family room was full of donated items.  We felt like we added 500 sq. ft. to our house after Bargain Fair was over and the family room was ours again!

I don't keep things around that we don't use.  All my kids' clothes are passed along to a friend whose kids are girl-boy-girl, just like mine.  If it doesn't go into my Bargain Fair bin, it goes to a local thrift store.  So when I got an email from the women who organize a large kids' consignment sale twice a year, asking if I'd like to consign, I didn't have much. 

All it took was one facebook post to my friends, asking for gently used toys, clothes, and gear, and I have 3 van loads of things to get priced for the sale!  I no longer have a family room, and my husband is ready to call Hoarders!  I have so much that I've invited people to come shop a pre-sale in my home so that everything will fit in 2 vans. 

See all those clothes?  There are 2 more loads in the laundry room to be washed!

We have more big stuff, too, that we really hope to sell before the sale!

(It's even migrating to the living room!)

We are shown time and time again how blessed we are, and we thank God for giving us such wonderful friends to go through life with.  To Tonya, Jessica, Mindy, Shelby, and Brandi, thank you for going through life with me, and for cleaning out your homes to help us bring our daughter home!

And now I can't wait for March 5, when I'll be done pricing everything, and when all this stuff heads to the consignment sale!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Update on Fees

I just got a call from our placing agency that the foreign agency needs the first installment of their fees, to cover the upfront legal expenses for the adoption.  Which means our fundraising goal has gone from $3,370 to $5,182.

I don't know how I missed that we'd pay the foreign fees in three installments instead of two, I don't know why we went from expecting to receive about $8000 next week to receiving a few hundred dollars.  I just don't know.  But I do know that my God has shown time and time again that He has everything under control, that His timing is perfect, even when we can't understand His reasons.

Today, Scott and I are "approach[ing] God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)  Will you join us there?  Will you pray for continued provision?  After receiving a donation from a dear friend today, she sent a message to me, that I ask you to consider for yourselves: "Because God said so."

I'm not good at asking for money.  I'm just not.  I got a job when I was 15 because I didn't want to ask my parents for money to go shopping.  I don't like making Christmas and birthday lists, because I feel like others will think I'm expecting to receive everything on the list.  But friends, I am humbling myself and asking you to listen and see if "God said so."


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ready to Start the Homestudy

Scott and I have worked on our Homestudy History for the past couple of weeks, and we're finally ready to send everything in to the Homestudy Agency.  BUT WE CAN'T.

Because along with our autobiographies, references, fingerprints, monthly budget, and education credits, we have to send a check for $3,200 to cover the homestudy and post-adoption follow-up reports.  We have to send four different checks for four different background checks that total $170.

So, we need $3,370, less than half of what we needed to send to the placing agency last month, but still a significant chunk of our adoption budget.  Will you pray with us that God will provide the money we need to be able to start our homestudy?

Please don't forget that we've got our Chick-fil-A Giveaway going on right now, and the winner will receive FREE CHICK-FIL-A FOR A YEAR!  Even sharing the fundraiser earns an entry into the giveaway, so please tell your friends!


Monday, February 20, 2012


I've been praying about how to write this post, to find the words that will reach whoever God has intended to read what has been weighing on my heart.  I am writing this post through tears, my heart feeling as if it is breaking into a million pieces just thinking about what I'm going to ask you to imagine.  Because I first had to imagine it. 

I need for you to visualize with me.  Imagine a child who has, for years, watched as Mamas and Papas have come, taking other children to this wonderful place called America.  Imagine, at first, the hopeful anticipation that she must feel, thinking she could be next.  And more Mamas and Papas come, and more children are chosen.  Imagine the hope slowly turning to doubt, as she begins to wonder if there is anyone out there who wants her.

Imagine that she has run out of time to be chosen, and her fate has been sealed.  She now has a file with "Unadoptable" stamped on it.  She gets into the car, and is driven to an unfamiliar place.  After leaving her familiar caregivers, friends, bed, and toys, she walks through the front doors, into a large, bare-walled, cold, hard building.  She is led down a dark hallway to a room with a dozen or more women.

She is stripped of her clothes, put in dingy rags.  Her hair is shaved off.  If she wasn't scared before, looking around the dark room with no windows, seeing all the empty shells of women, rocking, pacing, she is terrified now.

She cries, she tries to leave.  After trying to keep her confined and quiet long enough, the workers put her in a crib in another room and tie her down.  She will lay there for hours.  Coming from a loving place where she was well cared for, she does not understand, she is confused.  She eventually urinates on herself, and a long time passes before anyone comes to clean up the mess.  Day after day, now confined to one of the many cribs.  The smell of body odor, urine, and feces is overwhelming.

Eventually, she stops crying.  She stops feeling.  She becomes another empty shell, rocking, pacing.

As you have read this, I imagine there was a faceless girl in your mind.  I am asking you to give this girl a face.  Your daughter's.  Your grand-daughter's.  Your niece's.  If you have a son, imagine this is his story.

Can you do it?  Can you think about it being your child?  Fresh tears are running down my face, imagining my Ayden, my little girl who first made me a Mama, being given that fate.

We have a terrible disease here in the United States.  We are indifferent.  We don't stop to actually accept that these children are not just statistics, not just a picture.  They are real children, with only one wish.  To have a family.  A Mama and Papa.  And that one wish is slipping away with each passing day.

Bernadette's time is slipping away.  This November, her file will be stamped "Unadoptable", and she will live out that fate.  Unless. 

God has put Bernadette on the hearts of so many women I know.  We can't get her out of our minds.  Her family is out there, maybe they don't know it yet.  I'm not asking you to be her family (although I'd love for someone who reads this to realize she is their daughter).  I'm asking you to help me find her family.  Help her family find her.

There is a giveaway going on right now for a Kindle Fire at my friend Mandy's blog to help raise Bernadette's grant fund.  Because Bernadette must be found by November, the time to fundraise will be very limited, so a large grant fund will be so helpful to her family.  All donations through the ChipIn go straight to her grant fund, so they're tax-deductible. 

So, as Mandy says, Pray, Adopt, Advocate, Support...DO SOMETHING!

Follow You

Sometimes I can sing along with a song without really focusing on the meaning behind the words.  But sometimes the words of a song resonate with me, and express so much better what I want to say.  Here is my prayer..

You lived among the least of these
The weary and the weak
And it would be a tragedy for me to turn away.

All my needs you have supplied.
When I was dead you gave me life.
How could I not give it away so freely?

And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
Follow you into the World.

Use my hands, use my feet
To make your kingdom come
Through the corners of the earth
Until your work is done
'Cause Faith without works is dead
And on the cross your blood was she'd
So how could I not give it away so freely?

And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God.
Follow you into the World.

"Follow You" by Brandon Heath

Oh God, use my hands and feet for Your glory.  Give me the words to say what needs to be said.  I am following You, to meet the needs of the poor and the needy.  To bring one home, and advocate for the rest.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

'Eat Mor Chikin' Giveaway


As you near the NC/VA state line, heading toward Martinsville, there's a billboard that reads "You'll Love the Pace" (If you're not local, and not a NASCAR fan, you can hear the cars racing around the Martinsville Speedway from my house!).  With two giveaways going at once, beginning to work on our homestudy, and making sure all the money is heading to the right agency at the right time, the pace around here was fast and furious! 

Our first two giveaways are finished, the winners are drawn, and we're not slowing down!  If you're a fan of the best waffle fries EVER, you'll love this giveaway!  Mmm... waffle fries!

We have received a donation for  
*Fifty-two meal coupons (entree, fries, and drink) so you can get your "chikin" fix! ($365 value)

Just look at this, and tell me it doesn't make your mouth water...

Here's how to enter:
Just click on the ChipIn to enter online, or leave a comment if you'd like to mail in/hand deliver your entry, and I'll email you!

$5 = 3 entries
$10 = 7 entries
$20 = 20 entries
$40 = 50 entries

The more you give, the better your chances of winning!  You can also get 1 entry per day for sharing on facebook or your blog, so post here when you share!   
Donations received by 8:00 p.m. on February 29 will be entered in the giveaway, and we'll draw the winner that night! (I love leap years!)

This fundraiser is not tax-deductible, as we will personally receive all contributions and apply them to our homestudy fees.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

And the Winners Are...

I want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for your support with our adoption.  I tried to keep up with thanking everyone who donated, and about halfway through my responses, I realized I had been replying to Paypal instead of the donor many, many times.  So, if I missed you, I apologize, and we are truly thankful for your donation!

We raised $3,534 in our Vacation Giveaway, and had a total of 1,157 entries, between donations and friends sharing online!  That is HUGE!!!

We raised $1,090 in our YMCA Giveaway, which includes the matching challenge donation, and had a total of 457 entries!

All entries were logged in order of donation (or share) received, to make sure we had no control over the outcome.  Thanks to, a web-based random number generator, I didn't have to write out 1,614 names and put them in a gigantic hat!

So now, for what you've all been waiting for!

The winner of the 6-Night Vacation in Pigeon Forge, TN is... #110


The winner of the One-Year YMCA Membership is... #158


Congratulations to both winners!!! And again, a 
to everyone who gave!  Thank you for your continued prayers, and for making the decision to walk alongside us on this journey!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Last Call for Entries!

We began our vacation giveaway on January 17, and we began our YMCA giveaway on January 26.  We are just TWO DAYS away from closing both ChipIns, and the winners will be drawn ON VALENTINE'S DAY!

As of this post, there are 1,004 entries into the Pigeon Forge, TN vacation, and there are 457 entries into the YMCA One-Year Membership giveaway!

We are SO EXCITED to make two people happy on Valentine's Day, and I'm so glad that I'm not responsible for drawing the winner!  The entries are listed on spreadsheets in order of donation received, and will be choosing the winners (just making sure everything is fair!).

So, here's the last call for entries, along with a reminder about what's up for grabs! (And I even figured out how to make a slideshow!  Look under the ChipIn!)

Six Nights in Pigeon Forge, TN
3 bedroom, 4 bathroom cabin, Sleeps 8
10 Minutes from everything in Pigeon Forge

$10 donation = 3 entries
$20 donation = 8 entries
$50 donation = 20 entries
$100 donation = 50 entries

One-Year Membership to the Martinsville/Collinsville, VA  YMCA
Two facilities for the price of one!
Indoor/Outdoor Pools

$5 donation = 3 entries
$10 donation = 7 entries
$20 donation = 20 entries

Time's almost up for you to win BIG!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Long, Slow Week

Last week, we were caught up in the whirlwind of excitement, watching God move our financial mountain, taking a certified check for $7,225 to the placing agency, and getting started on our homestudy packet.

This week, the pace and the mood is much more slow and serious.  My grandfather, who was battling brain cancer, after battling lung cancer, died early Monday morning.  On top of that, some personal things just seem to keep dragging out, and feeling like I'm waiting on everyone and everything is hard.  

This has been a week of spiritual attack, not the in-your-face heavy attacks, but the quiet, barely noticeable attacks that, over the course of the week, have made us weary.

Tomorrow is my grandfather's family and military service.  He has already been cremated and the ashes have been buried, and I am so looking forward to the military service, watching two active U.S. Marines fold and present the flag, and being there for the 21-gun salute.  I've been asked to photograph the military service, which I am extremely honored to do, and I pray I can do the service justice with my photos.

Will you just pray for me, my family, that the weariness of this week will be lifted.  Pray for my children, who are scared and trying to understand that the man they watched slowly fade (and last saw on Sunday), who was weak from battle, worn down by the fight, is gone.  Pray that we'll receive the answers we've been waiting for, that provision for our homestudy fees will come quickly. 

Goodnight, friends, and thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Writing Our Autobiographies... Any Questions?

We made it through the rush of fundraising for our placing agency fees, and now we've moved on to the education requirements and working on our homestudy packet.  All of this means I get to bore you by describing each of the requirements for both!

Or not.  We do have to write autobiographies, so I'll be going back through my life history to detail my childhood, jobs, religious information, and who I am now.  So, while I write this very uninteresting report, I'm taking questions. 

What do you want to know?  About me, about Scott, about our kids, homeschooling, why we chose international special needs adoption, anything!

And please don't forget about our TWO GIVEAWAYS!!!  6 nights in a beautiful 3-bedroom cabin in Pigeon Forge, TN!


a One-Year Membership to the Martinsville and Collinsville, VA YMCAs!  

Just use the ChipIn buttons on the top right of the page!  Both giveaways are running through February 13, with winners being drawn on Valentine's Day! 

So, ask away, share, donate, PRAY FOR US!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Made to Crave, and a Reminder!

I had the pleasure of doing a Women's Study with several ladies from my church, and because I know several of you are working on those New Year's Resolutions, I thought I'd share these books with you! 

Lysa TerKeurst, the President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, and an adoptive mother, wrote the Made to Crave book and workbook.  She asks you to dig deep and look at whether you are looking to food or to God to satisfy your deepest desires, and points to Scripture that reveals the spiritual battle women have had with food since Eve in the Garden of Eden.  One of my favorite statements from Lysa TerKeurst in this book is that it's not a "How-To" book, it's a "Want To" book.  We've all read the how-to books, we just lacked the "want to" to make it happen!

I have 6 books and 3 workbooks, and they're $10 apiece.  Let me know if you want one or both!

Don't forget about our TWO GIVEAWAYS going on now!  Six nights in a cabin in Pigeon Forge, TN and a One-Year Membership to the Martinsville and Collinsville, VA YMCA!  Both giveaways are running through February 13, with winners being drawn on Valentine's Day!  Use the ChipIn buttons on the sidebar to enter!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

For the King and His Glory

"Coincidence is God performing a miracle while maintaining his anonymity."

One of my favorite quotes was written by a man named Bill Irwin, who thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail.  2,180 miles of varying terrain, through thick forests and open balds, down into valleys and over high ridges. 

That's a tremendous feat for anyone, but especially so for Mr. Irwin.  He is blind.  No white blazes to guide him, no way of knowing for sure that he was still on the trail.  When a blind person hikes alone (and Mr. Irwin is not the only blind hiker) and can't tell if they're on the right path, they stop and wait for help to come.

We've started our own journey completely blind, not knowing where the trail would lead us or from where our provision would come.  We only knew that if we weren't sure about the next step, we would wait for help to come.

Help Came!!!  I am hand-delivering a certified check for $7,225 to our agency at 4:00.  Scott and I did not do this.  We did not make this happen.  I promise, I'm not that influential.  I'm not a salesperson, I'm not in the marketing business.  And if you know my husband, you know he isn't either.  

This past week was completely, undeniably, perfectly the work of my God, who says "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." (Matthew 21:22)  We do not believe in coincidences.  We believe in miracles. We do not believe it was a coincidence that our paperwork made it into the right hands and had a signature in four working days in our daughter's country. 

Had we been given more time to fundraise, we could claim the glory for raising the money we needed.  We didn't have that extra time, so God receives ALL the glory for making this happen.  I cannot thank you all enough for allowing God to use your gifts for His glory, to help us reach our daughter on the other side of the world.