Sunday, December 20, 2009


Eleven years ago today at 5pm in a 100+ year old historic little church just outside our Nation's Capital I wed my sweetheart. It was a beautiful, crisp, December day (thankfully without all of this crazy snow we have today!!).

Each year for our annversary I get an engraved pewter or silver-plated ornament with the date and what anniversary we are celebrating. It is a neat tradition and so special to hang them all on the tree each year and then add the new one.

Eleventh anniversary ornament

First anniversary ornament

The girlies have a sleepover at a friend's house tonight so Paul and I can go out (and come home!) alone :)

Happy eleventh anniversary, babe!!


Thursday, December 17, 2009


Yep... I found it. I just love how God cares about the little things that matter to us. Not only did I find it once, buy actually twice- and it's still impossible to find.

I still hadn't received another "back in stock" message, but decided to check the company webstore. It was available (what??) so I quickly added it to my cart and checked out. As soon as I was done it was back to being listed as backordered. And on what day did I find it- (Monday) the last day for shipping to get it here by the 24th. I was still nervous that the order might not be processed or it might not arrive in time, but I felt pretty good. The next morning I had a Dr. appt on the otherside of town by the big box toy store. I decide to check just in case. Guess what- the delivery truck had just unloaded two and I got one. Perefct timing the sales clerk said. People have been after that pyramid for the past month. Boy, do I know! So now I have one in my closet. I'll return it should the other arrive in time. It's a silly thing, but I'm giddy that I'll have the present I wanted to give under the tree for my girlies and it was so much fun seeing how He provided.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Hunt is ON

I do usually enjoy the thrill of the chase when it comes to Christmas gifts. A few years ago when B@rbie was one of 12 dancing princesses that the girlies completely loved (it is a great movie for girlies) I had a blast hunting down all 12 dolls. I searched every store for almost a month and was still short Ashlyn. Three of the 12 were next to impossible to find. I was so lucky to get two of them, but I was still one short. I ended up connecting with a woman on one of the mommy chat boards I was then active on that worked as a stocker in a toy store for extra seasonal money. She volunteered to look as she unpacked the boxes for me. That dear woman found the impossibly hard to find doll, bought it for me and then I paid her and she shipped it in time for Christmas. That same doll was so in demand that it was selling for $80+ on eB@y- and she knew it and still picked it up for me for $12.99.

I haven't been that crazy since, but it's still fun to search for the perfect gift I know they will love. This year I thought I had it easy. Their lists are very vague, so I have picked the specifics. It was supposed to be easy. None of the craziness this year... or so I thought.

The girlies have become enthralled with Playmobil. My brother had a bunch of boy sets (cowboys and Indians mainly) that they play with when we visit Nana and Grandpa's house. So they requested Playmobil. Back in October at conference time it was suggested that we engage Pip in more non fiction reading. After a library trip to the non-fiction section, she decided to learn all about ancient Egypt. I loved learning about Egypt as a child, and my mom had saved tons of neat books she had purchased for me and my brothers over the years. So how cool was it to discover that Playmobil made an ancient Egypt collection!! I looked at it in stores a few times. Read reviews on line (glowing- the best set ever made). That would be the big gift from the big guy, if you know what I mean. Ready to make the purchase back in mid November, I was shocked to find it sold out, everywhere. I have been on the waiting list (first in line- Whoo Hoo) for the Pyramid set at a local specialty toy store. They ordered 4 back in late October. I got on the list right before Thanksgiving. If they get one in, it's mine (oops- the girlies) but they have no idea if their order will be filled. I was able to get a few of the side sets (the Sphinx and the Pharaoh's temple, an extra Pharaoh and an Egyptian family) from playmobil dot com before they all sold out too. I'm on email alert directly from the company and I was hopeful for a moment. This morning I awoke to an email from overnight that they were back in stock and available for direct order. I logged in and added to my cart for a few seconds before it was again back ordered. Darn!! Still hopeful that the store will get it in for me before Christmas.

I can't wait for years of fun, should we be able to get our hands on the darn thing. At least I'm not hunting for one of those impossible to find hamsters that are all the rage.

Anything you are searching for???


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Princess snow angels

Can you tell the girly girls wished all of this rain had been some snow??

Pip remarked at breakfast this morning "Look, the princess is making a snow angel" as she swooshed her princess gummy vitamin back and forth in the pile of powdered sugar on her breakfast waffle plate.

(note- picture was recreated by Tea. Pip ate her princess before I had a chance to take a picture)

Reminds me of the time when they were 1 and 2 1/2 and Pip climbed on the cat food container in the pantry to get the 5 pound bag of sugar out which she dumped all over the kitchen floor. She then had her partner in crime lay down with her in the newly white floor and make snow angels in the kitchen. And I was only in the laundry room 2 minutes to switch loads!! Wish I had taken a picture, but I was so freaked out that at the time I didn't appreciate what "out of the box" thinking had taken place. I just saw sugar e v e r y w h e r e. Oh what fun that mess was to clean up! If they have to make snow angels in sugar, I much prefer the vitamin on the plate variety!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ralph is back


Ralph. He's our elf. He came out last night to rejoin our family. Have you ever seen The Elf on the Shelf? I came across the gift set last year at a book store. It's a book and this elf figure dude. You get to name your family elf. We chose Ralph. It's my standard "funny" name. (Apologies to anybody named Ralph, but it's a name that just cracks me up and makes me giggle.) The cute story says something to the effect that Santa needs elf helpers to check on all the kids so our elf watches the girls each day and reports back to Santa each night and reappears in a different place in our home in the morning. They LOVE finding him each morning and it helps make getting up go much easier (we are NOT morning people). The story also says he can't be touched, and tells Santa of good deeds as well as mishaps. A gentle reminder when they start to bicker that Ralph is watching or a word of praise for a job well done noted that Ralph will be sure to let Santa know boosts behavior. It's a cleverly written story and since the girly girls still solidly believe in Santa, Ralph works for us.

Now I just have to make sure that I remember to find a new hiding space for him each night before I go to bed.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mmmmmmm Mmmmmm Good!

I really intended to post this earlier than the day before Thanksgiving but never got around to it. I wanted to share a favorite, simple, kid pleaser recipe that graces our Thanksgiving table every year. They are a southern delight, and are served hot from the oven at a tavern in Colonial Williamsburg. I'll be baking a batch today....

Sweet Potato Muffins

Christiana Campbell’s Tavern
Sweet Potato Muffins
(6 dozen)
1⁄2 cup butter
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1⁄4 cups sweet potatoes, baked and mashed
1 cup milk
1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 cup raisins, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease 1 1⁄2-inch (mini) muffin tins. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. Blend in the sweet potatoes. Sift the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add alternately with the milk. Do not overmix. Fold in the nuts and raisins. Fill the greased muffin tins 2⁄3 full. Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes.
Note: Sweet potato muffins can be frozen and reheated.

The girly girls do not like nuts or raisins, so I put some batter in the muffin tin for them first, and then add the raisins and nuts to the rest of the batter for everybody else. They also like to sprinkle a bit of cinnamon/sugar mix on the muffin tops before baking.

They are easy, and so yummy and are a great addition to a bread basket!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The encounter

I didn't know what to call it. I knew it wasn't a coincidence. I knew that God had clearly sent somebody across my path at a time I was doubting as a sign to remember that all my hope is in Him. Some might say that it's a small world. And while it certainly can be, God orchestrated the events- not chance.

What am I talking about? Divine confirmation is what my bloggy friend Adeye calls it and I really like that! Her story is great, so go check out her post.

But here is what transpired with me...

I know deep in my heart that God has called us to adopt a waiting child. It is a desire that He has put there. There are so many obstacles, but I hold firm to the truth that He has called us and that it is His will that we care for orphans. I know someday, in His perfect timing, it will come to pass. But it has already been 18 months since this was first laid on my heart and there is no starting time on the horizon. I often get discouraged and then something happens out of the blue that puts orphans or adoption or China smack dab in front of me and I know that it's God telling me to keep my focus on Him.

A few weeks ago we went to Texas. It was an award business trip. It was paid in full for Paul, if I were to attend we'd have to pay airfare and other expenses and that wasn't in the budget and nearly impossible. I prayed for a month that if God wanted me on that trip, that he would provide the finances. A bonus came about that I had no idea was even a possibility right before the deadline to sign me up, and so God said "Go" and I did!! As we were sitting at the airport I saw a Caucasian dad with his Chinese infant. They were on our flight. She was adorable, the dad was very hands on and obviously smitten. I couldn't take my eyes of the pair and Paul noticed them too. I had just been reflecting on how this trip didn't seem possible, but God had provided and here I was. That was just about the time I noticed the father and daughter. I felt Him saying to me "Look what else is possible, too."

Fast forward to this past Saturday. I had a craft show at a middle school in the town where my Mom and Dad live about 1 1/2 hours from me. The show was slow, but my mom and I were having a great time just hanging out together. I looked up and saw a man I thought looked familiar. Then the stroller he was pushing came into view. It was the dad and daughter from the airport, along with his wife and their 8 year old Chinese daughter. They walked right into my booth space! I asked him if he was on a flight to Texas a few weeks ago. He thought for a moment and then his wife said "Yes you were, the first leg of your flight to Omaha." I told him that we sponsored a Chinese orphan and had noticed his daughter. He remembered our brief conversation on the gangway when Paul told him how great his daughter had been on the flight. And then we talked for almost 30 minutes. Their older daughter was 8 and was adopted 7 years ago. They had just brought home Sophia in September and she had turned 1 last week. They had waited almost 5 years in the NSN track for her with a lousy non Hague agency. We talked about China and adoption. And all the while Sophia was blowing bubbles and smiling at me and bouncing all over her stroller. Her full head of hair bouncing right along with her and she sang and cooed and giggled endlessly at me and my mom. (They got quite a few bows for all that hair!!). They left my space, only to return about 30 minutes later for even more bows and more conversation. Their presence sparked conversation between my mom and me that went on for hours after they left. They waited 5 years from application to "gotcha"??? I realized that my journey had begun. It's just not measured (yet)in documents or check lists or payments due. It's a journey in my heart in mind. In the past eighteen months my heart's been broken for the orphan. I've learned about special needs and realized that's the path I want to travel. I've begun to teach my daughters about compassion and orphans on a level that can completely understand by getting them involved with sponsorship and New Day. And I remember to trust that the official journey will one day begin.

What were the chances I'd travel 1.5 hours to a very small, poorly attended craft show and have an opportunity to meet and talk about China and adoption with the same father/daughter pair that crossed my path at 5 AM a few weeks prior and who God used to speak to my heart??? It wasn't chance at all. It was divine confirmation.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Craft show season

And I'm Busy. Busy. Busy.

I had my second show of the Fall season last Saturday. It was outdoors. I usually stay away from outdoor shows after October, but the vendor price was right so I thought it was worth the chance. I opted out of a show three weekends ago due to weather and lost my booth fee. But this time it turned out to be a simply beautiful day- although I set up bundled up in my winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves. My mom was able to help out, and that was great. I have been doing shows for almost 5 years and this was my first time not doing it solo. I have shows the next two Saturdays, then I get a break and then I have two more. This Saturday's show has typically been my highest grossing, so I have great expectations. Now I just need to work on creating more inventory in the next, oh, 3 days!!!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

He knew I'd need tissues

Back from Texas. Yee Haw!! We had a really nice time. Paul's company put on quite the event and San Antonio was a great city to visit. The Girly Girls had a fantastic time with Nana and Grandpa. I'll put together a post about all that later. We just got back last night, so I still have to upload pictures.

But about those tissues. Whew. Seems like I have been sniffling all day. I'm not sick. I'm an emotional mess over the fact that there are so many orphans without a mommy and a daddy. As I was gathering the girls church bags this morning I had one foot out of the car and I felt compelled to reach back in and grab a few tissues. No real need. Noses are all good- everybody is healthy- and I had forgotten that it was orphan Sunday. But He knew I'd need the tissues. Our church only briefly touched on the subject. A father who has adopted from China a few years ago and just brought home their second daughter 6 weeks ago spoke very briefly and then a ShowHope video was played.


My heart has been so heavy, burdened for going on 18 months. I cling to the fact that I know that He has called us to adopt and in His perfect timing we'll begin the process of bringing our daughter home. Until then I pray for softened hearts, for His provision and that He'll continue to show me how I can make a difference in this fallen world. I know He is faithful. I cling to that truth. And in fifteen minutes I'll be watching the Cry of the Orphan broadcast. I have an entire box of tissues right here.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dad gets the dead fish

So that's what I heard as I rounded to corner into the kitchen. The girls were sitting at the kitchen table getting ready for craft time. Tea had received some shrinky dinks for her 5th birthday from a friend and they were about to start coloring. For some (very strange reason) one of the shrinky dinks was of fish bones. They had carefully sorted them out, Tea being gracious and sharing them with her sister. Apparently there was an odd number and the one left after they had taken turns picking their stash was the fish bones. And Dad was to be the lucky fellow to get the remaining one.. the "dead fish." Lucky duck! [ it's very small and hard to see, but Pip is holding it at her eye level ]


The flu is almost an epidemic here. We have managed to avoid it so far, but hundreds of kids are out of each of the local schools. Only 1 out from my class, but four (out of 12) are gone across the hall. They are giving immunization shots for free at all the schools, but I have decided not to vaccinate for this one after a lot of research and prayer. So we are eating well, taking vitamins, and hand washing like crazy. I have a sinus infection so am running at 80% and hope to stay well for at least the next few days. I leave Friday afternoon for Virginia Beach for my church's women's retreat. I'm excited for a few days of companionship in Christ and spiritual renewal.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm back

I've composed so many posts in my mind, but just haven't had the time to come and post anything. I'm finally feeling that I have both feet underneath of me, so I'm hopeful that I can get back on track.

Highlights (for now- maybe full posts will be forthcoming)
- After several weeks, Paul is fully credentialed again and able to resume work.
- Teaching is going well. There is no doubt that God clearly placed me in this position. It has been difficult to find a balance of work/home. I have had an overwhelming amount of responsibilities to get the school year off to the right start and I have been going non-stop for many 12 hour days of family/work/errands/family/bow business. It's exhausting. I believe that I'm now in a groove with school and the girls are as well, so I might free up a bit of time for simply being.
- We received 4 free tickets to the local berry farm and had a wonderful weekend at the farm seeing animals, running the corn maze, riding the tractors to the pumpkin patch and SO much more. I took almost 300 pictures on a glorious Sunday afternoon last week.
-Tea (I'll be using nicknames now) turned 5 and I put together a craft themed party at home. We had 10 little girls as guests and her kindergarten teacher came too (love her!). The weather didn't cooperate, so I had to move it all inside (yikes!) but it went so smoothly.
- Pip lost 3 teeth in less than a week including the top front two. Tea has her first two loose so we bought the material to sew her tooth fairy pillow so we'll be ready. That project has been on the back burner, so hopefully I have another weekend.
- Spent all Saturday sewing. Made super soft fleece robes for the girls now that mornings are starting to have a chill. I love making stuff from scratch. Pip told me this morning it was like I was giving her a hug all the time she was wearing her robe.
-We had a church picnic and I got the chance to catch up with some ladies from our former ABF (Adult Bible Fellowship) class. We switched almost a year ago because Paul wasn't getting anything out of the lessons and needed a different teaching method. Our new class is taught by a wonderful man who runs a full time Men's Ministry and teaches in a way women can learn from too, but really challenges men. It's where we need to be, but I miss some of the women from my former class I never get to see anymore. Several of us have all had similar challenges/struggles in the past 4 months and it was refreshing to talk with them about their walks and faith.
- Paul won a trip to San Antonio for his work performance. We couldn't afford to add me to the trip since the hotel was covered, but airfare and a meal/activity fee were not. My prayer for the past few weeks was that if God wanted me to take this trip, He would provide the money. Guess what... I'm going to Texas the first week on Nov!(this will for sure be an in depth post).

I had about 30 minutes of free time before the bus this afternoon. See...things are getting better!! Off to get my girlies.


Thursday, September 10, 2009


"No. They are 16 months apart."

I find myself saying that, no joke, at least 5 times a week when we are out in public. The girly girls just had their back to school physicals and only 1/2 of a pound separates them in weight (younger good eater having older finicky sister beat there)> as for height, older P still has 1.5" inches on younger T, but it's not that noticeable. Their hair is now the exact same color after a summer of sun has lightened up T a bit. The only difference is one is curly and the other straight. They both wear size 11 shoes and size 5-6 clothes. And since they have identical styles and interests, they both have the exact same shoes, sweaters, rain coats... You get the picture.

They now know the stock response. I've even caught an eye roll followed by the under the breath muttering "16 months apart" on several occasions. After a grocery trip last week P remarked, "Hey, nobody asked if we are twins." It's that common of an occurrence.

I used to wish I had a twin. Anybody else? Even just a sister would have done.

I have a favorite blog I like to follow. They have twins from China and the pictures and stories are so darn cute. The mom, M3, started doing product reviews last month and I sent her a box of bows for her girls to put to the twin test and review. They opened the box yesterday. M3 posted a bunch of pictures of the girls with them. Too cute. The review will come out in a week or so after they are well tested. Can't wait to hear what they think and hopefully get some good press!!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

BTS mussings

I love back to school. All of it. Shopping for school supplies has always been pure joy. I was always excited to start a new year. I'm an academic nut who just loves learning. As a teacher the end of summer never bothered me. I couldn't wait to get back, set up my classroom and unpack boxes of newly arrived supplies. I had ordered everything back in the spring and often forgot exactly what I had ordered (art supplies for 700 kids for 9 months worth of projects= about 25 large cardboard boxes to unpack) so it was kind of like Christmas morning present opening. In a word...FUN! There is still a lot of work to be done in my new classrrom, but that will have to wait until I'm officially in my work week next week. My mom even took me BTS shopping for some new work clothes when we visited last week.

The girly girls are all excited too. Thankfully T doesn't appear apprehensive at all about starting kindergarten. She'll ride the bus with her sister, get to walk in hand and hand and go to the same class with her dear friend who lives across the street and has been a preschool classmate for the past two years, and she has Mrs. M!!! A wonderfully kind, loving, all around awesome (and a Christian!) teacher she got to know well last year since she was P's teacher. We even found out last night two friends we adore, one from church and one from dance, are also in her class. Don't know much about P's new 1st grade teacher, but when I talked on the phone yesterday afternoon with Mrs. M and she asked who P got, she told me that the new teacher was fabulous and that her personality and style would be a wonderful fit for P. Cool!! P doesn't have any of her best friends in her class but I'm not surprised that that isn't phasing her a bit. She was Miss popularity last year, so I have no concerns that she'll have a new wide circle of friends in no time. Wish I had been that way.

I have my class list of the 16 recently turned five and almost five year olds that will make up my class. I have brief notes about them and can't wait to put faces to names next week.

About the only thing I'm not looking forward to is our mornings. You see, I'm a night owl. If I'm in bed before midnight, well, that's early. I start the majority of my bow sewing after the girls go to bed, so I'm most productive between 9 and 12AM. We have been rolling out of bed 8ish most of the summer. Now we'll have to be out the door by 7:55. And I'll be ushering two through the morning routine. Last year P and I always made it with less than 2 minutes to spare to the bus stop and T was still soundly asleep. I hate to admit, but there were many mornings we were pulling up to the stop (about 1/4 mile away) as the bus was arriving from the opposite direction. We never did actually miss it though! So in a nutshell, I'm dreading getting all of us up and out on time. The grand plan was to start moving back bedtime and waking up early in preparation. Not happening. In fact we pulled in the driveway Monday night at 9:30 from a play date gone long. But we all had a lot of fun and it is still summer. OK, so we have a few more days to get adjusting going...

This school year will mark a lot of change. First year with both girls in elementary school. First school year back to work for me after six years at home. I know it is going to be a great year! I can clearly see God's hand in placing me in my teaching position and the girly girls in their classes. I'm so excited to get going and see what He has in store for us. That is if I can get us all out the door.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Just REALLY busy

Haven't posted in a while. Haven't posted to the blogs I love to follow in a while (thought I have quickly scanned a few). Just been REALLY busy!!

There has been a lot to do to get ready for the new job. I've spent a few days in training and prep and a ton of hours at home. We have made two more trips to grandma and grandpa's (and plan one last hoorah for this Fri/Sat). T has had a severe double ear infection and we are on round two of meds and P has a sinus infection and is on meds as well. Then we had the back to school physicals and I had to have one as well. I gathered, prepped, tagged and delivered 90 items to a consignment sale. I donate a Girly Girl Bowtique gift card to the volunteer prizes, so I get to shop early with the volunteers. We went this afternoon and found a few fall dresses and some really neat king, queen, prince and princess puppets. Also was tickled to find a Language Learners Mandarin speaking doll for $5. She's way cool!!

Girls were expecting postcards from their teachers today. P's came but T's did not. She was so sad. We had been hanging out in the cul de sac for over an hour with friends waiting for the mailman. Thankfully the little girl across the street's didn't come too, so we weren't the only one. Still, she was sad all day. Around 4pm I remembered that I had P's last years teachers cell phone number in my phone- the same teacher we really wanted T to have this year (and she requested that T be in her class as well.) I debated if I'd seem a neurotic Mom to call, but decided to go ahead give her a ring and am so pleased I did. She has T in her class and also has little A across the street in her class as well!! Thrilled!!!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A new sweetie

Our family had the honor of sponsoring a dear child living at New Day for eight months. In that time, we contributed $35 a month to go toward her care, sent gifts, celebrated her milestones, but most importantly prayed for her by name and lifted her up to the Almighty. To put it mildly, we fell in love with her. Last month, fifteen month old Gracie was adopted into a forever family in country. A local Chinese family now will forever call her daughter. I had pictures of Gracie around our home as a daily reminder for myself and for the girly girls to pray for this sweet orphan. Now that she has a family, we still pray for her. Our prayer is that she and her family will know the saving grace of Jesus.

Gracie with bows and the bear we sent her


This is Melody in what I believe is our blue Bumbo seat we sent for Gracie in January

Our little T in the Bumbo at the same age. Notice she was sporting two little pigtails like Melody's one above

It's time to pick out our next sweetie to sponsor. When I saw the picture of Melody, a new arrival at New Day, I was captivated. To me, she has quite a resemblance to our younger girly girl at the same age of 4 months. All that hair- she fits right in!! Her given name of Melody is a name the girls have picked out for some of their dolls, so I hear it daily. As I read the brief information about her I was struck by one more thing- her birthday is the same as Gracie's. So that sealed it- we should sponsor Melody. I emailed Rita and she put us in the database for Melody. She won't be a long term resident, she is there for surgery and then will return to her home orphanage. But she'll forever be in our hearts as our second sponsor child. Her picture has gone up in our home alongside Gracie. We have begun to pray for her by name, lifting her up to our Lord. We are asking for His healing hand when she undergoes surgery. For her family to quickly find her. And for her to know the love of her savior.

It is an honor to sponsor. There are many organizations and you can email me if you'd like suggestions. Won't you consider? It truly is a blessing.


There is still time

Yes, friends, there is still time to place your order for key fobs, hair bows, clippies, headbands, ponytrailers-- basically anything girly hair related- to benefit this family in their fundraising needs to bring home Hailee. If you haven't been by and seen what I'm up to before, I'm donating 100% of profits from sales off my website to the Salem adoption fund. They need $24,000, fast, to bring home Hailee from Eastern Europe. The fundraiser has been going for a few days and ends tomorrow, Wednesday, at midnight. So please spread the word, post on your blog, grab the button from my left sidebar, link to this post, email any friends who buy bows- there is no code or anything- every sale that comes in goes to this family. Keep me busy!!! Get those orders in!!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I have enjoyed reading Thankful Thursday posts on others' blogs. It just so happens that I have a chance to write a post on a Thursday and there is something in particular I am quite thankful for today, so here is my first (hopefully of many) Thankful Thursday posts...

The girly girls have long been timid around water. OK, timid is a bit, well, weak. They have been down right terrified. Last summer we spent the majority of our time at the community pool in the baby pool alongside the infants and toddlers because 8 inches of water was where they were comfortable. I could, on occasion, get them to the steps in the main pool, or in an inner tube, but they would still cry and have a death grip on me. No. Fun.

I had heard wonderful things about a swim school in the area and quite a few friends had taken lessons with amazing results. I looked into it last year, but it is expensive and for us, times two. Early in the spring a friend whose daughter had gone last year mentioned that the family run school was Christian and offered scholarships, that they viewed their business also as a ministry. I contacted them and we were given a partial scholarship, a true blessing because we could not afford to send both girls.

They began their 8 days of lessons a week ago Monday. There were LOTS of tears. Nightmares for several nights and elaborate plans to avoid going back.

"OK, how about this. We get Mom to go to the grocery store first. You go one way, I'll go another and we'll get lost and miss the lesson!"

By the third lesson we were seeing progress as they were still scared stiff, but the crying was lessening and they were learning- lots!

The lessons are 1 child to 1 instructor and the teachers have been amazing, giving each of my girls the exact dose of gentleness and encouragement and in P's case- 'you'll do it because you are the child and I am the teacher and I said so'. Man, that kid can try to talk her way out of any situation!

So today was their last lesson. As far as they are concerned that's reason enough to celebrate. It was a tough one with a water safety test fully clothed. I'm celebrating because they have asked me to take them to the pool everyday for the past week, and I have obliged for hours and hours. They have been in the big pool, jumping in, swimming underwater to see who can go farther, splashing and playing like the majority of all the other kids their ages. Did you catch that- BIG pool!!!There is still some fear about some of the skills and not wanting to practice some of the trickier things they learned, but the growth is simply amazing.

I can't begin to thank Morgan Swim School enough. I'm extremely thankful!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bows for Hailee

I hope that you made it to the end of my last post. The quick re-cap is that I feel led to help raise funds to donate toward a friend's adoption of a downs syndrome child currently living in Eastern Europe. (Fun fact about me- I was enthralled with Eastern European history in college and took so many courses from an amazing professor that I ended up with a degree in Govenrment with a concentration in Russian Politics.)

So here is how this is going to work...

I will be donating 100% of the proceedes from sales of my products off my website from today until July 22 to Hailee's adoption fund. I have been in the 'bow business' for a little over 5 years and have been online for 3.5 years. It's a nice hobby income and has been able to cover almost all of my girls' expenses from preschool tuition, dance classes, to wardrobe. But it's nothing huge, and July is typically a slow month. I want to be able to donate HUGE. That's where I need help.

Please spread the word about this fundraiser. Now is the prefect time to start thinkng about back to school accessories. All of the bows, headbands, ponytrailers, etc. on the website are only the beginning. I can make anything to match anything! Local customers stop by my house with outfits in hand, and my web customers email me pictures of clothes. I automatically match all Gymboree lines and Gap lines, so I know those colors already. I do school uniform bows, cheerleading team bows... Have a style you like but don't see on my site. Send me a picture and I'll recreate it. Remember, 100% will go to help bring Hailee home!!

Here in the South monogramming is HUGE. My best sellers are my 3 inch and 4 inch single intitial flat fold bows. Pick your color ribbon and color embroidery thread for a custom creation.

Headed to D!sney? Look at my Magical Mouse bows.

Don't have any girls in the house? I have several adult/mom items. Once you use my wristlet key fob you'll wonder how you lived without it!!

It's great to keep your keys easily at hand and still hold little hands or packages. They are one of my biggest sellers at craft fairs. Customers tell me in addition to everyday use, they love theirs for walking the dog, running quick errands and not wanting a purse, great for H.S. and college kids (stylish and trendy too!) to safely have their keys accessable. I like not fumbling for my keys in the parking lot. When I put them in my purse they have a slim profile that doesn't take up much space, but are easy to find. Need to keep your husband from snaging your keys- get an ultra girly style- that will do it!!! I'll be adding many more to the website. I have a ton made, but not yet uploaded. And like the bows, I can custom make your fob in a variety of colors. I have many colors of the webbing and a large fabric and ribbon stash on hand.

Another great adult option is the fabric covered headband. I wear one almost every day. It's quick and easy to be stylish with a designer fabric headband!

No girly girls in your home? I know you must know somebody!! Please pass this information on!

Bows for Hailee

My normal turnaround time is 7-14 days. I'm filling current orders within 7-10 days, but hope to be swamped for Hailee. Need something quick for a portrait or vacation. Just let me know.

There are so many possibilities! Please stop by the website, send this message all over, help bring in the orders to raise funds for Hailee!


Monday, July 13, 2009

The Rich Family

This is long, but please stick with me...

Yesterday in Bible Fellowship class we studied Matthew 5: 1-12, the Beatitudes. We were asked to reflect on how we could better be living in line with the characteristics that Jesus called blessed. Our teacher, Mike, shared with us a story by Eddie Ogan known as The Rich Family. After reading her story, Mike told how he had searched for more info on Eddie and read how she and her husband and their children (biological and adopted)lived to this day giving to the church and to missions. I'll let you read the story and then I'll share it's impact.


“I’ll never forget the summer of 1946. I was 14, my little sister, Ocy was 12, and my older sister Darlene was 16. We lived at home with our mother and the four of us knew what it was to do without many things. My dad had died years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to rear and no money. By 1946 my older sisters were married, and my brothers had left home.

A month before Easter, the pastor of our church announced that a special Easter offer would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially. When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. That would allow us to save $20 off our grocery money for the offering. Then we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn’t listen to the radio, we’d save money of that month’s electric bill. Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us babysat for everyone we could. For 15 cents, we could buy enough cotton loops to make three potholders to sell for $1.00. We made $20 on potholders. That month was one of the best of our lives. Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we’d sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in the church, so we figured that whatever amount of money we had to give the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the Pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering. The day before Easter, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got the manager to give us three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all our change. We ran all the way home to show Mom and Darlene. We had never had so much money before. That night we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn’t care that we wouldn’t have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering. We could hardly wait to get to church. On Easter morning rain was pouring. We didn’t own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn’t seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet. But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about the Smith girls having on their old dresses. I looked at them in new clothes and I felt so rich. When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting in the second row. From the front, Mom put in the $10 bill, each of us girls put in a $20.As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch, Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes!

Late that afternoon, the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked her what it was, but she didn’t say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10, and seventeen $1s. Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn’t talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling millionaires to feeling like poor people. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn’t have our mom and dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly. I know we didn’t have a lot of things that other people had, but I never thought we were poor. That Easter Day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn’t like feeling poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed that I didn’t want to go back to church. Everyone there probably knew we were poor! I thought about my school friends and felt terribly embarrassed to be thought of as “poor.” We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn’t know. We’d never known we were poor. We didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. The joy of what we had done, of sacrificing and saving had been taken away from us. Although it was a sunny day, we didn’t talk on our way to church as we usually did.

At church that Sunday, we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun-dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said,“Can’t we all sacrifice to help these poor people?” We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week. Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Ocy, who gave it to me. And I dropped it into the offering. When the offering was counted, the minister announced it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He wasn’t expecting such a large offering from our small congregation. He said “you must have some rich people in this church.” Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that “little over $100.” We were the rich family in the church! From that day on, I’ve never been poor again. We had been given back the joy of sacrificial giving.


So I'm sitting there, listening to the story and thinking. While not poor like Eddie, we live dollar for dollar. I can't just cut a check and donate to all the causes that I believe in. Yet I have a desire to give, to give sacrificially. I want to live as one of those Jesus called blessed in Matthew 5:3-10.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

I'm a SAHM, I don't have much of an income except what I get from selling my hair bows. Eddie and her sisters looked for ways to save and for what they could sell so that they could raise funds to give. I have donated my items on many occasions for fundraisers. A basket is being picked up today, in fact, to go to a charity auction this weekend to raise funds for the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias at the 5th annual Rally for Ally who has Ectodermal Dysplasias. I enjoy knowing that my handiwork can help raise funds. My mind immediately turned to a family needing funds to save a life. My bloggy friend Adeye . She and her husband, Anthony, are adopting precious Hailee from Eastern Europe. Time is of the esscence to get Hailee home is an understatement. You can read about her on Adeye's blog and click the button below for additional information and sponsorship.

What did I feel in my heart I am called to do? Use the talent God has given me to create and sell my hair bows and donate all profits toward Hailee's adoption expenses. I'll post specifics with details about my products and pictures and links and a button to grab to spread the word in my next post. I've got some work to do to get this ready to go!!