Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So that others may live....

I made a decision two years ago this month to shut off our T.V. and limit our family to DVD’s. I liked the fact that we didn’t have a constant distraction and that I was 100% in control of what the kids were watching. I also didn’t mind the fact that we saved $80 dollars a month! The point of my rambling: Well when my kids are around a TV they are stuck like glue and so was the case one evening at my grandparents home a few weeks ago. They were so cute all of them spread out across Poppy’s bed watching cartoons. (Poppy is what Maddie named my Grandmother when she was a baby ) So what’s a mom to do, I went to my Granddaddy’s bed and flipped to a more grown up show. I came across a movie called "The Guardian" staring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. I had seen it before but it had been a while and sure enough I caught it right in the last five minutes. As tears rolled down my cheeks at the very end of the movie the words SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE flashed across the screen. I was struck to my core!!!

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

It's a snowy night here in Colfax so I wanted to get a post out before we loose our internet! The kids are buzzing with excitement between Uncle Chester and Uncle Andrew coming to town tomorrow and the posibility of no school because of the predicted 7 inches of snow. Craig is just as excited (maybe even more so ) He was called into work tonight to plow roads and help keep the drivers safe. I have a yummy cup of hot chocolate and a warm blanket as I take in all the joy that fills our house tonight.

This Thanksgiving we have a lot to be thankful for, you see today was our deadline to raise the needed money to keep little S and R, we came very very close and lack just a bit over $3,000. I'm so happy to share that even though we came up short we still get to keep our babies as long a we quickly raise the remaining funds. We have a lot of ideas but for now we are offering our Africa shirts. They are ADORABLE and so much fun. Sizes start in the infants and work all the way up to adults, we have long or short sleeve and for $25.00 you too can have one! ( I have 3 because YES there that CUTE! ) Jill and I hve spent many hours in what she calls "the Knox sweat shop", where I do all the cutting and she does all the sewing. Twice now the hands on the clock have made it past 2:00 am before we've called it quits. We would love to mail you one and would love it more if you sent us pictures of you wearing it!

For all of our local friends and famlies keep your eyes open for holiday cookie orders as our next fundraising task! I love this one because even the kids can get involved.

Madison, Mallory and Levi are getting SO SO excited for S and R. They pray for them every night and every morning, Maddie has been drawing tons of pictures and writing lots of notes for them and Mallory is getting all her toys ready to share. I love seeing them open their hearts already to there new brother and sister even if they haven't met them yet. We ALL already love S and R and I wish I could share names and photo's with our blog friends, but soon! By our best guess we should head to Ethiopia this Feb to meet the kids and appear in court, we are so pleased that Maddie will be joining us! We send off for her pass port in the morning and she has already started packing her bag. Last night we got on line and learned that it takes only 6 cents to equal one Birr so she is delighted that her $5.00 will become 83 Birr. If you could please take a moment and add our family in your daily prayes we would be so thankful.

Monday, November 15, 2010

a post full of THANK YOU'S!!!!

So much has happened in such a short amount of time!! We feel SO blessed! On Sunday the NO Longer Orphan video was shared during church and the entire congregation prayed for us and this adoption, it was AMAZING! To each and every person who has helped us with thoughts, prayer, time spent, and financial support THANK YOU! Because of this combined effort we are just over ½ way to our goal of $16,000 dollars. Now with seven days to go friends, family and even stranger are working overtime to help come up the next $8,000. GOD IS AMAZING!!!! There are so many people who deserve thanks but I can’t blog about them all but I do want to mention a few.

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

We have a REFFERAL!!!!!

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!!