Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Matt and Jill Ross are an amazing couple, words will fail me as I try and share the honor I feel that God would grant Craig and I the privilege of being their friends. I have never in my life met a man with such a giving heart. Matt time and time again has grand ideas about how to make life better for someone else, but what I admire more is that he acts on them. I was at their home one day sewing with Jill when a mutual friend of our was returning a car she had borrowed from the Ross family. You see the roads were icy and dangerous but this friend HAD to be on them for work reasons. Matt had noticed that her tires were bald on her mini van and he refused to let her leave until he had moved all of her travel baggage into his Volvo and handed her the keys. It was inconvenient for him not to have the Volvo over the next few days but that didn’t matter to him he cared more for her safety. Now I could stop right there and you would know how remarkable he is BUT he lives by the words of his wife “Go big or go home.” While on her trip Matt drove that mini van into town to the local tire shop and had 4 brand new tires put on her car. That is more than an act of kindness it was the act of a servant's heart.
Jill has an incredible job, and it keeps her very active but allows for a flexible schedule. This women gives and gives and gives of herself. In the back of my mind I tried to keep track of all the hours she spent helping us fund raise. We made bows, we made dresses, we made t-shirts, we made onsies, we have face booked, blogged, emailed, fun runned, made purses, cooked, cleaned, made phone calls, written letters and plenty more. Needless to say I lost count of the hours. You might say well, that’s her dedication to you because she's your best friend. NO would be my answer. That’s her dedication to the Lord and the way she uses her time here on earth to not live an ordinary but an extraordinary life with no time wasted!
When they returned home from Ethiopia this couple had a lost heart. So much JOY was sitting in their laps here in the states. Holding little Ellie close to her heart was a bitter sweet reminder of so many lives left untouched back in Africa. So giving up everything but her job, her family, and God she and Matt created No Longer Orphans. Like Dolly Parton before her, she popped her acrylic nails off, rolled up her sleeves, and dove into this lifetime commitment to serving others and creating families.
With out Matt and Jill, Craig and I would not be submitting paperwork this week on S and R. We would have never known them, loved them, held them, fought for them, cried for them or prayed for them. But because of No Longer Orphans, because of the obedience of a lifetime from Matt and Jill to the callings God has placed in their hearts and because of the awareness they have created in me - my life and the life of my family is forever changed. I find it no coincidence that this couple met at the Coast Guard Academy, I know that God had a purpose for moving them time and time again building relationships across this nation and I was not shocked that when I read the words on that TV screen SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE first Christ on the cross hit my mind followed by Matt and Jill Ross.
I try and live my life by those words now SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE…… If I buy these cute new heels is it so that others may live? When I choose an off brand of mac and cheese to save money it’s so that others may live. Wearing hand me downs instead of buying new is so that others may live. When Craig and I see our babies in Ethiopia I know that all the hard work of friends, church, family, No Longer Orphans, and God will be SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE and the beginning of others started with MY KIDS!
Monday, November 22, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Matt and Jill Ross- because of y’all we have had the courage to step out and start this journey and it has been worth every smile, every tear, all the joy and all the stress, all the long hours and in the end the precious moment of first holding S and R will be because of your on going love and Gods hands working together. Thank you for being faithful to the callings God has placed upon you and we are honored to not just now but forever to be part of No Longer Orphans and the support of bringing children to families. I have so much more to say, but y’all are a post of words all by yourself!
Ben Ross- Craig and I adore you. I have never met a boy your age who has such understanding and compassion. You have already made an impact in this world and I can’t wait to watch as God continues to use you. This young man, the son of Matt and Jill, spent this past summer raising a lamb for the fair and near the end of the summer before heading off to be judged on fitting and showing and market felt called to donate the sale of his lamb to Craig and I for the adoption! Tears still come to my eyes as I recall the GIANT smile across his face as he came to report to me that his lamb sold for $1,400 DOLLARS. But it is not because of this we love you so much….Your heart, with your actions puts most adults to shame. You stand on good values and grasp life with an unseen force that pours out of you. I’m honored to know you and watch you grow!
Scott and Lori Ackerman- They are examples of hard work and dedication to the Lord. Every Sunday we are met with a warm greeting, a hug and a hand shake. Always checking in on the adoption process and always excited to hear of the progress, they have no idea the impact they have made on Craig and I and I seem to lack the word to tell them, SO I want them to know that this simple set of words is overflowing with so much more than gratitude….THANK YOU! They are also the finical backing behind Ben and his little lamb Domino :)
Steve and Kelli Katke- From strangers to forever friends in just a year! Y’all have gone above and beyond and I’m so thankful God introduced us. Kelli, I love you and your friendship has been a huge support, I look forward to the day when we get to give as much back to y’all.
Heidi Hawley- You too will one day be in our shoes and I will be with you EVERY STEP OF THE WAY! I love you and know that I never have to cry alone or smile alone because God brought us together.
Lance and Robbi Warwick- YOU TWO ROCK!!! Always giving and never asking in return, just know that when the day arrives that you do ask for help you will have Craig and I there ready and waiting to be of service.
Jake- You have so much in store! Thank you for loving my kids and being a fabulous friend to Craig and I. You are always here to help when we ask and see the things we don’t ask for help with and pitch in on those things too.
Raylene- My mommy! I love you and have always been grateful for your unconditional support, ready and waiting with your magic mommy wand, and ability to see past my short comings and see my full potential as your daughter, a mother and a child of God. I know that you have sacrificed so much and I only hope that when my own children are grown they think as highly of me as I do you. I love you. P.S. Hope your waving that magic mommy wand lots extra right now!!!!!
Last, but not least Andrew Lawrence, my little brother, I look back at pictures of us and delight in the man you have become. I hope that I have in some small way influenced you for the better because you have definitely made an impact on me. You, along with our brothers taught me beyond a shadow of a doubt that blood is thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood. Thank you for your support and amazing generosity even as you prepare to leave on a mission of your own. My prayer is that you might still be home to meet S and R before you depart. I love you, Chester, and Harry so very much and pray for that kind of love and devotion to grow between S, R, Madison, Mallory and Levi. My eyes see us as siblings, my heart knows us to be siblings, and I know that we were meant to be family.
Again, there are plenty of others who deserve thanks and we are grateful to you all.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Where to start?????!!!! Well I guess the first thing is we have accepted a referral for TWO beautiful, beautiful children. Little S is 4.5 years old and in the picture we have of them he has a big bold smile with a protective arm wrapped around Little R his 2.5-year-old sister! I can’t wait to pass court and share with everyone their names and photos!!! Our entire adoption has been a walk of faith and now more than ever we rely on God and His incredible power!
This referral is an entire YEAR earlier than expected and because of that we are very short on funds, with the help of No Longer Orphans we are putting the gas petal to the floor and raising the necessary $16,000 dollars by November 23rd. Why the rush? Well, S and R are court date ready leaving Craig and I to play paperwork catch up. Both brother and sister have what our agency calls a “Special Need” and for medical reasons need to be in the states ASAP. Another reason to move quickly is that when S and R come home it creates a vacancy that will immediately be filled by other children in an orphanage providing them with more nutritious meals, medical care and love. As soon as these children move in our agency will start the paperwork that will allow them to be adopted as well.
There are so many ways that you can help us bring Little S and R home, the first is prayer. Please take a few moments and sit down and pray for us, we need protection for the health and safety of our children, we need financial help making our $16,000 dollar goal and we need an army of love to help battle any obstacles that come up. The second thing you could do is spread the word, please share with everyone our story and invite them to come visit our family here or at Nolongerorphans.blogspot.com. We are filled with the knowledge that JOY is coming and know that we are the ones truly blessed by theses new additions to our family.
TIME LINE: It is looking like we will be dossier ready by Thanksgiving and boy oh boy do we have TONS to be thankful for!!! The next step will be receiving a court date in Ethiopia and preparing to travel. This should happen sometime in January and will be when we get to meet S and R for the first time and experience the overwhelming relief of being able to hold them in our arms. After court we will return home and wait a brutal but necessary 4-12 weeks for all of their travel papers to be ready and with great hope expect to travel back to Ethiopia in February or early March to pick up S and R and bring them home forever!!!
Thank you to all of our family, friends and even strangers who have sacrificed time, energy and money to help us. God is good and I pray for blessings to touch each and every one of you!!
Friday, September 3, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
We did it!!! We published a public goal on Facebook to make $2,000 dollars at our yard sale and we made it!! Just today I sold the last couch and love seat sets and let me say I’m SO happy to see them go!! I have pictures to share but let me fill you in…..
Step One: Craig the kids and I shoveled out the manure and bleached the walls of the horse trailer. I must says this is a proud mommy moment for me! Those kids of mine were awesome and wanted to help, they are just as committed to adopting as Craig and I are. I love that we are doing this as a family.
Step Two: Drive 90 miles one way to fill two trailers FULL of donations from my mom, THANKS MOM!!
Step Three: Get up at 6:30 am to clean out our storage shed and start to fill the trailer again!
Step Four: Room by room clean out our home. Again so touched by my kids generosity giving up some of their most valuable treasures ( most worth nothing but Mommy made sure they fetched a pretty penny at the sale)
Step Five: Un-load the last two trailer loads into my sisters vacant home that is for sale. Thanks Sis! Two bed rooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, front porch and drive way FULL.
Step Six: LOTS and LOTS of set up . Thank goodness Jill showed up! We priced a few items but most of the sale was by donation.
Step Seven: SELL< SELL>SELL! Thank you Lisa for having my kids over, you are a brave women! They would have been so bored and driven the customers CRAZY! I’m so grateful to you and Kirk.
Now this is when it gets really good….. Time and time again we would have people leave with a car load of items from our sale and return with a car load from their home to donate! It was amazing! To my friend Heidi and her husband Jason, thank you so much for the truck load of donations! All of those goodies fetched a great price. But my favorite was a little old lady who came by 5 or 6 time taking arm loads but paying very little. On one of her last trips she came back to the house with three potted plants, she went into her yard and took clippings from plants, potted them, and brought them to us to sell. What thoughtfulness.
Step Eight: Clean up- for which I could not have done without Craig and my brother Chester, with a BIG thank you going to Matt and Jill for taking my kids to Loon Lake for the week.
Now I know all this sounds so sweet and simple but OH MY GOSH did we have trials!! The house had no water, and Mallory had three days of the backdoors, Craig is in harvest so all of his help came after 11:00 pm at night and almost every night we had items stolen even though I slept there. All I can say is it was WORTH it.
Virginia- thank you for looking after me all weekend trying to feed me or give me a break. You a such a blessing.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tonight Mallory, Levi and I had dinner at my mom’s house. When Nana served Mallory her plate of chicken with a gravy sauce, green peas, mushrooms and wild rice, Mallory wanted to know “What kind of chicken is this?” My standard answer “The edible kind.” Mallory responded, “No, like is it the wing or the arm….?”
All I could do was laugh when Nana answered “An arm but I cut all the fingers off!”
The look on Mallory’s face was priceless, what kind of farm girl am I raising; we’ve had chickens on the farm for two years or more! We enjoyed the entertainment Malory provided during dinner. I was thankful to not have to cook tonight after a busy day of loading a horse trailer of yard sale donations Nana gave us to put toward our HUGE adoption fundraiser taking place on August 22nd. I drove 90 miles one way to pick up the fist of at least 3 loads. In just a few weeks Nana is moving to Texas so everything she’s not taking with her she has generously donated to us, Thanks Mom! It was my first time to pull a horse trailer so I was a bit nervous but I made it to Othello safe and sound and not so much as an innocent little bird was harmed along the way. I can’t say the same for a few bugs that met the windshield but all in all I did good.
Monday, August 9, 2010
My poor, poor, husband!! Last night at his parents a wasp stung him in-between the eye and the nose, swelling started right away and when we made it home I provided him with a healthy dose of Benadryl and an ice pack, but by this morning he looked like Will Smith in Hitch!. It is so bad that he is home from work today which is a HUGE deal being harvest and he can’t keep his eye open due to the amount of antihistamine in his system.(He did ask for a straw to suck it down with but I thought that was a bad example for the kids) Around 11:00 I suggested that he come out of our bed room and spend time with the kids and I, he gave me a very concerned look and asked “Will the kids think I look like a monster?” I assured him we love him no matter what sort of alien being he looks like!!! He did come out to the recliner but is sound asleep again, at least he was a good sport about me taking pictures, too bad they don’t truly show just how swollen he is. Thank goodness my hubby has such a good sense of humor.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
What a fun day we had as a family today!! Craig has been in harvest for a couple of weeks now and this last week, four nights of six he didn’t make it home till midnight, so to have the entire day with him was awesome! We shared a BBQ lunch with friends, took the kids to McDonalds for an ice cream cone and then enjoyed the evening with Craig’s parents. His mom Lori made dinner (chicken they butchered this morning) as I gave three of my favorite guys Craig, Levi, and my father in law Bill hair cuts. We made it home in time for a family movie but the truth is Craig and the kids all conked out fast asleep on the couch about half way threw The Land Before Time, I guess the kids are still worn out from their big swim meet on Saturday. The girls competed in two relay races, the back stroke and free style and did GREAT.I hope the pictures I have posted bring the same sime to your face as it did to mine!!
Now when you’re excited Jill is always the girl to call because not only will she join in and catch up to your excitement level she can usually top you and I LOVE this about her. Let me tell you Jill didn’t fail me yesterday. She gave me a solid 20 seconds or so to be on top of the world about finishing our home study before she broke in with the news that gave me the boost to jump over the moon!!! No Longer Orphans was officially up, running and online!!!!
It is amazing to sit back and watch the dream God has for a person unfold before
your very eyes. No Longer Orphans is the direct result of Matt and Jill spending a lifetime choosing to listen to the Lord and because of their faithfulness he planted a thought into their hearts: “Establish a non-profit organization that will choose and sponsor a family through the adoption process”. Always faithful as they have been in the past, they took that thought and the Lord’s guidance and created a plan of action.
As Craig and I entered this adoption process, we did it on faith alone. We have been blessed many times with the support of family and friends; from the kind words of encouragement to the financial help of meeting the overwhelming costs. We have been walking down a long black tunnel with faith guiding us completely, believing that when the Lord was ready he would provide. As we have been making our way through this tunnel we have prayed, and when we pray we always get the same answer….”Keep walking forward, and you will see Me shine in all My glory for you are not alone”.
Craig and I can’t even begin to describe the honor, and love that we feel to have been chosen as the first family supported by No Longer Orphans. We see the light, the tunnel is no longer black because of this beacon of hope and let me tell you, every single step in the darkness has been worth it. We are excited to share with anyone who will listen the amazing adventure this process has been and want you to join us in the journey as we make our way to Ethiopia with the guidance of the Lord, love of friends and family and the support of No Longer Orphans. Thank you God!