Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Preparations...and an Update.

One of my favorite memories as a kid is all the secret preparations of Christmas.  Making things, trying to guess who had who in Christmas box and trying not to let all the other 12 kids in the house know whose name I had drawn.  This year I get to watch that excitement in my kids as they make gifts for each other and work hard to keep secrets!
This year we are having a less expensive Christmas and have been creative in what we are giving our kids.  Last winter as I was sewing place mats, Alex and Morgun were begging to do some sewing.  It may seem kind of odd for a boy to be interested in sewing, but I think it is rather cool.  Some lucky girl will be very thankful to have a man that not only knows how to cook and clean, but also knows how to sew!  :)  Anyhow, I promised that if I had scraps left over they could use them to make place mats for the girls to use in their play kitchen.  Both boys have been sewing with the machine and hand stitching the edging...and they're having a blast!   Their gift to the girls cost exactly...$0!!  How cool is that!?!

Last night we attended Osler School's annual Christmas Concert.  And once again we were impressed!  Each student from K to grade 6 had a part on stage as well as being in the choir.  Incredible!  The staff and students work so hard every year to turn out a spectacular performance!  Thank you Osler School!
One of the highlights of the evening was listening to the entire student body...K to grade 9... sing a modified version of "Hallelujah!"  as a tribute to all the lives lost and those affected by the shooting in New Town, CT.    This was followed by an emotional proclamation by our Vice Principal saying "At Osler School we do not celebrate a Festival.  We celebrate CHRISTMAS!"  So to say I am proud of our school is an understatement!
Morgun was not impressed to be dressed as a chef holding a cookie.  He thought it was childish and boring.  I thought he looked very handsome!...and cute!!  lol!

Malia was thrilled to dress up and have her hair curled.  Her excitement shone through in her singing, and the part she had on stage.

And once again we were privileged to have a real baby Jesus who slept through the entire concert.

On a side note...
This past week Malia had her Cleft lip/palate clinic.  It is a day where we go to the hospital and see all the different specialists that will be/are involved in all of Malia's upcoming surgeries....9 to be exact.  At this point we still do not have an actual plan as to when surgeries will begin, nor do we know in what order.  However, we did learn a few more things about our precious girl and all she has been through. 
We now know that she has moderate hearing loss in her right ear and minor hearing loss in her left ear due to all the ear infections she had while in China.  This damage can not be repaired, however the specialist is hoping to be able to do some more cleaning of the ear which should improve Malia's hearing slightly.  This hearing loss does not have a huge impact on Malia's everyday life, but it does explain why she speaks so loudly.  We have been advised to make sure she is sitting further to the front, on the right side of the classroom so she can hear better.  Her hearing loss is such that it could affect such things as understanding instructions given by the teacher, in particular spelling dictations.
We also learned that Malia's cleft lip and palate is considered a "severe" case.  This means that the initial surgeries would have been a challenge and future procedures will also be a challenge.  Malia has a little knobby piece of skin/cartilage in her upper mouth where her two front teeth are coming in.  This knobby piece is very mobile and needs to come forward.   There are several options as to how to do this.  If an appliance is used to move this forward it will create a hole in the top of her mouth.  The doctors are not sure that Malia is mature enough to handle having this appliance in her mouth.   Another option is to perform surgery to move this piece forward, still creating a hole, and then go from there.  After this has been done a tongue flap will be sewn to the roof of Malia's mouth to cover the hole created.  This means that a sliver of tongue will be sewn to the roof of her mouth while still attached, to allow blood to flow freely to create a better graft.  After several weeks this will be cut completely allowing Malia to once again speak freely. Her teeth are rotated and will eventually need to be straightened.  The roof of Malia's mouth is rigid, also creating challenges. 
The plastic and oral surgeons are impressed with the work done in China, even though the technique used is an old one.  Having said that, the procedure used is one that makes the cleft lip a little more obvious.  Malia is very self conscious of her lip and can not wait to have it "fixed".   She seems to think that once it is fixed it will not be visible at all.  Unfortunately that is not the case.  However, with all the new techniques being used there is much that can be done to minimize the look associated with a repaired cleft lip.  One option is to have a tattoo placed on the scar lines to match the rest of Malia's skin tone.  How cool!!
At this appointment we once again got to see Dr. Sondervan...he's the plastic surgeon that retired, leaving Saskatoon without a plastic surgeon to perform cleft lip/palate surgeries.  Patients have been referred to Regina since his retirement.  We love Dr. Sondervan!  He is a godly man who credits his success to the healing hands of God.  Gotta love that!  Dr. Sondervan has continued to help out at the cleft lip/palate clinics each month, for which we are incredibly grateful. 
We were happy to hear that Saskatoon will be getting another plastic surgeon, who specializes in cleft lip/palate, sometime in the New Year.  So thankful for that!  I had not looked forward to heading to Regina for Malia's surgeries.  So thankful that God is once again meeting our needs before we even asked!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Growing Pains

I've started writing this post many times and the words don't seem to come. It's been on my mind for at least a month and I'm still not sure how to say what I am feeling.  I've hesitated in writing because I am afraid that I will come across as an ungrateful whiner.  That is not my intent.  Rather, my intent is to glorify God in His never ending mercy and love.  To show how He is working in me/us.  How he is faithful.  How He is there in these times of growing pains.

 I ask that those that come here to visit do that...visit with me.  Please leave a least if it's a positive one.    Based on the number of people stopping by...well, lets just say I'm beginning to feel like there are a lot of people "eavesdropping".  I'd much prefer if you joined the conversation...or find another conversation to join.   Please do not read this with the intent to critique, give advice, or read into things I say. I understand that not every person can leave a comment every time.  And I'm fine with that.

Yes, I am feeling a tad bit vulnerable because this is a topic most of us don't like to talk about...especially me.  It's an awkward topic.  We all have different opinions on it and it is a sensitive topic.

As you know this is our third adoption.  The third time we are trying to figure out how to get the necessary funds.  It has been a challenge each time.  Obviously, this time is even more of a challenge.  I do not want to go into specific detail as to where we are at with our every day finances.  It is personal, and people, not even family or close friends, need to know all the specifics.  What I will say is that in the past 6 months I've thought my blog title is certainly incorrect when it comes to finances.  "Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel"  might be more appropriate.  Haha!  Ok, so not funny, but that's my warped sense of humor at this time.  Our cup is certainly not overflowing in regards to finances.

We have prayed.  We have saved.  We have cut back.  We have worked extra hard.  We have prayed some more asking God to show us how to use His money...after all, everything we have belongs to Him.  We have prayed, seeking guidance as we pursue various fundraising options.  We continue to tithe.  We continue to reach out to those in need.  We have done everything that some say we should do to be blessed financially and yet we do not have enough funds.  Please understand that we do what we do in obedience to God...not to gain anything in any manner.

We try to trust God.  We try to have faith, to not worry.  Some days we fail miserably.  Some days we succeed in giving it all over to God. 

I wish I could say that trusting has been the greatest difficulty.  Unfortunately, it's not.

Before you read more, I ask that you understand the following....

Please do not get me wrong. We are incredibly grateful for all the support we have been and other. It warms our hearts every time someone supports us in some way. We will forever remember these kind and generous gifts and deeds.  These acts of kindness literally give us the strength to press on.  However, things have been difficult.

The most difficult aspect has been humbly asking for help and being critiqued.  Being vulnerable.  We were not prepared for what we have encountered.  Not once did we realize how incredibly vulnerable we would be.   We knew others would look at our home, our vehicles, our life style and come to some sort of conclusion.  What we did not realize is that people tend to not trust our judgement when we say we have a need.   Nor did we realize  how difficult it would be to actually gather funds.  I suppose we naively made the assumption that most people would gladly help in giving an orphan a forever family (and many have been extremely generous!)  We naively came to the conclusion that it would only take 200 to 250 people to give $100 each...or 400 -500 to give $50 each and we would have the funds needed.  We naively assumed that because we live in a predominately Christian community, most would see and understand the need and it would not be all that difficult. 

I suppose we had thought that in our community, a community filled with godly, well to do people, folks like us would not have to reach out to organizations like ABBA Canada asking for an adoption grant  (which, by the way, is the only organization that offers adoption grants at this time.  There is one other organization based in BC, but at the moment their funds are very low) .  We have procrastinated, waiting, hoping that somehow, something would happen so we would not be another application for ABBA Canada to process, placing more weight on their already tight budget.   We understand that even if...and the "if"  is a big one...get a grant, it will likely be a few thousand dollars at the most.  Of coarse we would be thrilled and grateful!  But the truth is that even a $10,000 grant still leaves us with almost $15,000 short of what we need.

We have seriously looked into selling our home.  So far all the doors keep getting shut...and we're not sure why.  We've done all we can think to do.  There have been times where we have seriously considered aborting this adoption.  But we do not have peace about that.  It is what we feel called to do and to say "no" now would feel like a forced abortion.

The above is a glimpse of what we've experienced, what's been going through our minds. It has been a difficult time.  However, we are choosing to not dwell on the above, but rather to focus on God and His faithfulness, His tender mercies, His gifts.  Daily we make the choice to praise thank Him for all He has given us.  We chose daily to trust Him.  In doing so we have experienced the most incredible freedom and peace.  I am finally sleeping much better.  I no longer lie awake for hours at a time.  And that alone makes me smile!   

We have concluded that asking for financial support is not "our cup of tea" and therefore, we will not ask for more help.  We will send our grant application to ABBA Canada.   We will still be promoting /raising funds through Once Was Lost and our adoption necklace and dog tag will still be available at Jubilee's Jewels, but that's about it.  We are trusting that God will provide...and if the funds don't come in...well...I choose not to let my mind go there.

We have decided to come along side others that are in the same position we are in.  To offer support to them.  To do what we can to help another child find his or her forever family.

Most importantly we are choosing to count our blessings.  Today I am so very thankful for:
 -the laughter of 4 kids safe and happy in my home
-a husband that loves God and walks beside me everyday
-all the excitement of all the secret preparations!
-the mountains of snow we have this year
-God's gift of allowing for me to have some time to rejuvenate with my sister
-Peppermint Hot Chocolate
-funny movies
-a good nights sleep
-God's promise in Psalm 105:7-8..."He's God, our God, in charge of the whole earth.  And he remembers, remembers his Covenant-for a thousand generations he's been as good as his word."
-my bloggy friends who understand and're the best!

Would you join me in in praising God and being thankful?  I'd love to hear what you are thankful for today.  :)

Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence.
Psalm 105:5

Monday, December 17, 2012

This n' That

I'm still working on a post that has been weighing on my heart.   It's still not done.  So for now, I'll share a little of the ordinary winter/Christmas stuff.
We've had a lot of snow this winter.  Enough for Martin to make a sledding hill for the kids.  Raina was totally excited and stood at the window watching and exclaiming "Papa make me a castle!"  Now all we need is some warm weather so we can enjoy the outdoors!  And less appointments!  (In 3 weeks we've had 13 appointments!...One being an all day appointment with the cleft lip/palate clinic)

Every Christmas I bake the most requested goodies my family wants.  They include gingersnaps dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with icing sugar, shortbread, jam jams, and nuts n' bolts.  This year I have made 6 batches of gingersnaps and 3 batches of nuts n' bolts.  They were the top sellers at my fundraising party.  My favorite... to make... is the nuts n' bolts.  Very easy and a "healthier" choice during the Christmas season.  I always use my old fashioned bahk cum...translated baking bowl.  It's exactly like the one my mom used to bake bread.  I used this bowl to mix my bun dough until I bought a Bosch mixer.  I had thought of getting rid of it...but being a little nostalgic...decided to keep it.  None of my other bowls work as well for nuts n' bolts...and it reminds me of warm winter days, coming home from school to the smell of freshly baked buns...and of my mom.

Nuts N' Bolts
1 regular size box Cheerios
1 regular size box Shreddies(I prefer Chex)
2 lbs shelled peanuts
 (I omit the peanuts for about half the recipe, so the kids can have some for snack at their "nut free" school)
1 bag pretzels
2 cups Mazola Oil
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (I add extra)
1/2 tsp garlic salt (I prefer garlic powder and I add a little extra)
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
Mix first 4 ingredients in a roaster.  Mix oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and seasoning salt.  Add to cereal mixture and stir well.  Bake at 200 degrees F for 2 hours stirring every 1/2 hour. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Two Years With Raina

Two years ago today we met our precious Raina Liuji Marie.  It was an incredibly emotional day.  I will forever treasure that day in my heart.
Raina has grown from a quiet, unsure little girl to a confident, happy girl that loves to laugh and tease.  For about the first 6 months, upon awakening, she would lie in her crib, look at me as though trying to figure out who I was.  She always came to me, but upon wakening it seemed she needed to think a bit before deciding it was in fact safe to let that odd looking woman hold her.  It took about a year for her to totally warm up to Martin.  Martin was incredibly patient, but it paid off.   Now she LOVES her Daddy!  When I discipline her or she's sad she says, "I want my Daddy!  He hug me!"
Raina still tends to be reserved around strangers or people she hasn't seen in awhile.  However, this is slowly changing as well.  Now we're teaching her to not talk to strangers!
Raina is incredibly independent for her age.  If she wants something, she finds a way to get it...even if it means climbing from one chair to stool to counter, or dresser to bed.  She loves food and still tends to not have a "fill" button.  She is constantly in my pantry begging for food 5 mins after she's eaten.
Raina has a huge, gentle heart and loves to pray.  For the past 6 months (at least) she has prayed "Dear God, Peas help my birvday day be good, and help Gamma and Gampa have good sleep!"  Now that she finally had her birthday she prays, "Dear God, Peas help my brudder come home soon!"  When asked what she wanted for Christmas she replied "I want my brudder.  Open him up!"  :)
Raina is indeed the baby of the family...and she knows it!  Alex and Morgun tend to dot on her and spoil her...although they all say I'm the one that spoils her!  lol!  I'm sure I do!  Being an older parent certainly has it's benefits. I have much more patience and don't get stressed about the little things...and if that translates into spoiling...oh be it! 
Malia and Raina love to play together and they are beginning to communicate at a deeper level.  Raina is no longer the little sister that can be bossed around.  She has her own opinion and is sure to let Malia know that!  She loves to play with her dolls, pretend to be a waitress or doctor, and loves to "read" or be read to.  She loves to walk around with "her" Bible (it's actually Malia's).  She is convinced that one of her Christmas gifts is a Bible simply because it has that shape.  Her favorite show is DORA.  Almost everyday she will beg ask if she can watch her precious DORA.  She even talks in Dora's sing songy voice, and repeats things three times!  :)  She likes VEGGIE TALES as well, but she tends to think that some of them are scary.
We are so very blessed to have Raina join our family!  There's not a dull moment with her around!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I remember the day like it was yesterday.  Five years ago today we were headed to the city for a doctors appointment when we got the call..."We think you should head to the hospital.  Mom is not doing well.  We think this is it."
I remember... heading to the hospital, praying we would make it in time
... rushing in tears streaming down my face
...pulling myself together before entering Mom's room
...the quiet in the room
...the peace
...seeing Mom take her last breath as she entered heaven's gates
...explaining to my 4 and 6 year old that Grandma had passed away
...hugging them tight
...literally feeling the prayers of others
...somehow having strength to do what needed to be done
...making the phone calls
...planning the funeral
...thanking God that Cancer had been defeated, that Mom had been healed
...thanking God that the ugliness of cancer was no longer my reality...the smell, the disposing of bloody vomit, the exhaustion that comes with caring for a loved one 24/7, the frantic baking to cover the smell of imminent death...
...grieving and truly understanding the saying "my heart hurts"...cause it literally did.

Today my heart is heavy as it usually is when I remember.  The pain never completely goes away although time does heal.

Today I remember my mom for the warrior she was.  Raising 13 kids, 2  miscarriages, the death of one child and still choosing to worship her Savior and smiling through it all.   Praying for her kids everyday.  Striving to live a godly life.  Not leaving her husband when most would have...choosing instead to listen to God and hear His promise of "someday your husband will be a godly man!"

Today I remember my Mom's all time favorite song "Amazing Grace".  This version is played on the bagpipes...something we normally reserve for our fallen hero's...war hero's, firefighters and such.  Today I listen to this in remembrance of my fallen Mom!

On a side note:

Today we have the added grief of my nephew and his wife, Josh and Rachel losing their little girl, Victoria Grace, after only spending an hour with her.   (Victoria Grace was born with the majority of her organs outside of her body.  I believe it is called ompholocele)  We pray for precious Elizabeth Andrea, born at 30 weeks, as she fights for her life...and for Josh and Rachel as they try to take it all in, grieve and celebrate, worry and wait.  Would you please join us in makes everything so much more doable.  Thanks!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Merry Christmas- Third Day (with lyrics)

It's been way too long since my last post.  I've had so many thoughts and emotions running through my head and heart.  I've sat down numerous times to write a post, but somehow I either write and don't post...OR I can't put the words onto paper. 

I came across this song and it so accurately discribes where we are at...praying God will hold our little one tight each and every day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Matthew 19:13-15

As you know I have been advocating for Orphan Sunday.  I've called numerous churches in my community.  Their responses made me think of what happens in Matthew 19: 13-15.

 Jesus is teaching and someone has the guts to bring some children to Jesus.  The disciples see this and immediately shoo the children away.  They can not be bothered by the children, they are too much of a distraction.  After all, the disciples are busy learning, hearing what Jesus has to say, as is the crowd gathered around Jesus.  Jesus intervenes and says "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these".  We're not told exactly what Jesus thinks about all this, but we know He was not impressed.  Our Almighty God stepped in and set things right! 

The responses I have gotten range from..."We need more notice", to "We're have a guest speaker come in on that Sunday" to "We are having baptism that Sunday and don't have time" to "We help out with such and such an organization, in fact we even held such and such an event" to "We do not neglect orphans".

These comments literally made me shake with frustration and anger!  Seriously?!?!  This is what our "Christian" community has come to????  This is what we're all about?!? 

Notice in Matthew 19 what Jesus does...He was not given any notice at all. The kids simply arrived and He responded.  I wish this local church would allow Jesus to be the guest speaker this weekend...I can only imagine what He would say.  The irony of it all is that having a baptism does not allow for our orphans to be mentioned...SERIOUSLY????   Baptism is a public proclamation of whom we believe in, follow and love...not taking the time to mention Orphan Sunday is like saying we love Jesus....but telling HIS most precious and vulnerable children to buzz off!...sounds extremely hypocritical!!  I KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT that Jesus would help the kids and then baptize the people!  Why not make room for both...we may even be surprised at how many others would step up and say "I want to live for HIM too!" 

I know most churches do help orphans in some way...but at what point have our churches done enough???  I KNOW Jesus would say we've done enough when the need has been filled.  And last of all...if we as a church "do not neglect orphans", then why do we still have so many orphans...about 147 MILLION!!  Canada itself has about 30,000 kids needing forever families.  And we say we do not neglect orphans???  Yes we do!!  It would only take 7% of the Christians in each church to help one child and the orphan crisis would be eradicated!!!  The irony of it all is that these same churches preach the importance of tithing...notice that 7% is less than the 10%  mentioned in the Bible.

May God have mercy on us "Christians"!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

He Restoreth My Soul

Today I am thanking God for refreshing times.  As you know we have been in a difficult place lately.  Martin described it as barely being able to keep our heads above water...grabbing a quick breath before going under again.  Today I can say we are finally in shallower (is that even a word? lol) water.  I thank God for providing a respite for us.

Many years ago we foolishly purchased a biannual timeshare and have often thought of selling it, but it is virtually worthless.  So we have hung on to it and it has allowed us to take inexpensive vacations to Fairmont, BC.  This is our year.  We had full intentions to take advantage of it, but recently decided it was not in our budget and would bank it instead. 

However...Sunday night we realized we HAD to do something and the idea of leaving the next day was mentioned.  The forecast was for snow and cold temperatures...not productive working weather for Martin.  Monday morning, around 8:30am we booked our vacation and by 11:30 am we had made all the necessary phone calls, etc and were on the road! 

I must admit I felt guilty going on a vacation at this time, but not any more.  This week has been so very, very refreshing.  In every aspect...spiritually, physically, and emotionally.  I have literally spent hours praying...fellowshipping with God.  The first few verses of Psalm 23 keep going through my mind.."The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul..."   My soul has been restored!

I suppose God is indeed looking after His child...and for that I will be forever grateful!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What I've Been Reading

I've been reading a fair bit in the past few months, picking up some old favorites and reading some books I would normally not touch.
Bringing Up Girls by James Dobson: This book has been on my reading shelf for the past few years.  I keep going back to it...reading, digesting and then putting a few ideas to the test.  It's one of those books that I find most effective to read slowly...over many months.  Certainly a must read!
Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis:  Wow!  What can I say?!?  I had wanted to order this books ages ago when I first saw it, but waited and asked for it for my birthday.  I couldn't wait to crack it's cover.  But then I became overwhelmed and set it aside for a few days.  I was shocked at my response and couldn't figure out why I couldn't sit down and read this book.  Then it hit me!  I was afraid.  Afraid that God would speak to me and have me leave my wonderful Canadian life and head to some third world country...silly I know.  But even in this God had a purpose.  It helped me better understand people in our Christian community.  Most seem to hold the less fortunate, orphans...and ultimately an arms length.  I think they are afraid, as I was, that God will speak to them, asking them to do something that is totally out of their comfort zone/plans.  I had to give it ALL to God and then I could read and be inspired by Katie's love for God...and His children.
Love's Enduring Promise by Janette Oke:  Janette Oke was my favorite author during my teen years.  I read and reread each of her books.  I decided to reread a few of her books...and critique it...see if she was in fact as good an author as I had always thought....I still enjoyed each book...perhaps mostly for sentimental reasons.  I have concluded that sometimes it is best not to evaluate our earlier simply hold on to the great memories!
Shooter by Sgt. Jack Coughlin:  I bought this book at a garage sale for 25 cents...for Martin...and thought it would be a good book to take along on our vacation.  I began reading several other books; also purchased at a garage sale for 25 cents. I ended up trashing those books and was left with nothing to read other than Shooter.  This book is disturbing and yet so very real.  It gave this gal who comes from a long line of Conscientious Objectors, a much needed view of all the brave men and women who work so hard, sacrifice so much for our freedom...wish I could take those horrible images and forever erase them from these brave men and women's lives.
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne:  Just typing the title makes me chuckle.  This book is so not my kind of book!  Alex picked this book as one of his novel studies and being the teacher I have an obligation to read it.  Can't wait to move on to a different novel!  :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Orphan Sunday Coming Up

Orphan Sunday is rapidly approaching.  It's only 2 weeks away and as usual, I did not get around to preparing as I had planned.  Here is the link to 40 days of prayer from Orphan Sunday's website.  I realize we don't have 40 days of prayer left, but non the less we can still pray.  Would you join me in praying every day in the next two weeks?  Thanks!

PS:  Could you also pray for me as I advocate for Orphan Sunday?  I've been contacting the churches in our area, asking them to participate to bring awareness to the world's orphan crisis, adoption, and foster care.  I am totally going out of my comfort zone and get very nervous every single time I contact someone.  Please pray that our churches would be open to this idea, that the community's eyes would be opened and their hearts softened, and that we as a body of believers would take whatever way we can/are led.  Thanks!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What in the World Are We Doing...from Linny

I came across this yesterday on Linny's blog at aplacecalledsimplicity.  It is too good to not many truths.  This Friday we will be having a beans and rice supper at our home and will be inviting friends.  Can't wait!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What in the World Are We Doing?

This morning as I was praying, the Lord made it clear what I needed to share today. It's comforting to my soul when He does that. He whispers and that to me, is the most unfathomable thing in my life. So here's what He said:

Do you know what today is?

Besides being Tuesday,
October 16th, 2012

it is:

World Food Day

A day where we are given the opportunity to think about millions of hungry people around the world.
Since He whispered it to me,
I have been praying most of the day about it and so many thoughts are whirling around....
but here's the bottom line:

What are we each doing today {myself included} that will change the number of people hungry
around the world tomorrow?

See, knowing there are hungry people around the world, doesn't change anything.
Feeling bad that there are hungry people around the world doesn't change anything either.
Praying for the hungry people around the world is also not enough.

Remember this verse:

"To whom much is given, much will be required."
Luke 12:48

Being 'given' much means we need to 'give' much out of what we've been given!

It is the very essence of the scriptures: caring for the orphan, feeding the poor, giving to the needy.

Can you imagine if that verse had said, "To whom much is given, be sure to pray that somebody else will feel compelled to give out of their excess."

Not quite, right?

Think about it with me, will you?

We don't like what's in our we head to the store for something more appetizing.
We don't like the flavors of ice cream in the freezer so we buy more flavors....
We don't like the temperature of our food, so we whine....

We don't like the we 'supersize' it next time...
We don't want "that" today, because we just had it 'yesterday'.

We don't like the taste so we try to perfect it...

And while we are focusing on food, over 15,000 young treasures,
made in the image of Almighty God, will die a painful death of starvation today alone.

Like this little girl and her friend that I met on the streets of Kampala last year.

They were propped against a building.

Sitting alone.

On one of the busiest streets in Kampala.

Her lifeless eyes are forever etched in my mind.
She and her little friend didn't speak English.
But they understood that we had brought them some
peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
{Do you notice her friend's arm? Just bones.}
He kept giggling when I gave them the food and water.
She was too weak to eat. I helped her put the sandwich to her mouth.
Then I helped her sip from my bottle of water.
She was so weak. So frail. But eventually she smiled a tad.
Her face, her need, her lifeless eyes are why
I am so passionate about our Frontlines+ Feeding program!
She is the face that compels me to do more!

And yet, while they sit starving on a street on the other side of the world,
we can't find something that we like in our fridge.

Or there aren't any restaurants that "sound good" for dinner.

Or we don't 'feel' like leftovers...

What in the world are we doing?


if you are a chef or a gourmet cook or your favorite television shows
are all on the Food Channel,
this is not about that.

You can be all of those and do all of that,
it's okay,
the bottom line is still:
What are we each doing today for the over 15,000 children that are starving to death today alone?
What are we doing tomorrow for the over 15,000 children that will starve to death tomorrow?
What are we doing the day after tomorrow for the starving children that will die that day?

"Whoooa, Linny" you might say.

You're right friends, I'm passionate about it all.

I have looked into the eyes of starving children.
I have held starving babies.
I have witnessed the panic of kids who have come to a feeding program
and the program is running out of supplies...
I can't pretend I didn't see it.

Almighty God is watching.
He sees it all.
He knows I saw it
and yes, He knows we know.
His love compels me to challenge those around me.

We have to do more!

I will never forget sitting next to a youngster at a gathering of moms and kids a few years back.
The little boy sitting next to me was about five years old and he went on and on
pitching a hissy fit because he didn't want the ham and cheese sandwich his mom had brought him for lunch. I had to get up and move. I couldn't take it anymore.

Shame on us western world!!

"To whom much has been given, much will be required."
Luke 12:48

But no doubt, many wonder:
What can we do?
Can we really make a difference from our little corner of the world?

You betcha
Together we can make a BIG DIFFERENCE

Here's one idea:

Today, for lunch, all of us ate with our hands our beans and rice. We talked about kids {just like our little treasures} around the world who have nothing to eat today.

Several of our kids remember being very hungry. One remembers eating dirt outside the orphanage because he was so hungry. Several of them remember older kids at their orphanages taking their food from them. It was actually a very emotional, teary discussion.

Then the money that we would've spent to eat something more "American" we donate to the Frontlines+ Feeding program, which feeds street orphans in Kampala. {No doubt, there are many other reputable feeding programs run by many different organizations - pick one!}

Can we really make a difference?

We can!!!

Each from our little corner of the world -

Think about it -

For instance, since January 2012, Frontlines Feeding+ program has fed approximately 14,960 meals to street kids in Kampala - and we are have just been getting going!

These orphaned street treasures are being fed because normal, everyday people around the world donate a bit here, a bit there...and now, 10 months later we have fed 14,960 meals!

All praise to Almighty God!

As we promised at the inception of International Voice of the Orphan -
100% of the Frontlines+ Feeding program donation proceeds goes directly to feed the kids.

But what else can we do?

Talk to your friends.
Have a dinner, invite your friends and serve a meal of beans and rice and then eat with your hands.
{We are going to do this!}
Talk about the hunger around the world.
Ask your friends if they would want to help feed a child for a year?
{IVO Frontlines+ Feeding Program spends approximately $1.00/ for every three meals fed.}

Decide today to change the way you look at food.

Make a decision to eat beans and rice regularly
{with the money saved going to feed a child for a week or a month or a year.}

Can we really make a difference?

Together - we can!
{more ideas soon!}

"To whom much has been given much will be required."
Luke 12:48

And I was thinking....
if you are interested....
invite some friends or family...
have a beans and rice meal and donate the money to a Frontlines+ Feeding program
and send a picture to:
we will post it to the IVO blog in an upcoming blog post...

We can't pretend we don't know about the 15,000 kids today or tomorrow or the next day.
We have to do something.
Starting today.
Together we can make a difference!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Clinging To Phillipians 4:6-7

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.  If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7
My life continues to be crazy.  It's not that I'm overly busy.  It's all the "other" stuff.  It feels as though we have a cloud hovering over us.  At times we see glimpses of sunshine. But the next moment it's cloudy again.  Every single day I find myself literally crawling into God's arms for comfort, strength and peace.  It is how I fall asleep at night.  It is how I make it through another day. Each day becomes a little easier, and I learn to give more to God. 
I am no longer worrying about finances.  It is still a concern, but I have come to the conclusion that the same God that cares for the birds will certainly care for all our needs.  I've believed and known this all my life, but being the human being that I is a lesson I need to learn over and over again.
I've said it before, and it is still true.  Every single time we reach out to offer an orphan the love of a family, the opportunity to hear about God...satan attacks with a vengeance.  I'm not sure if we're the only ones who experience this, but it is a reality.  Some would say I'm depressed...and I would have to agree.  However, I do not think this is a depression that can be cured/fixed/helped by medications.  The only cure is to have God fight my battles for me.  Would you join us in praying that the hands of satan would be bound?  That our family would be freed from this spiritual attack...that we would be strong in Christ...that we would lean on each other and not take our frustrations out on those we love the most.
For us, the adoption journey is a very lonely one.  So to have you praying for means the world to us!  Thanks!
I had uploaded these photos and forgotten about them.  My girls love to play dress up.  What a beautiful reminder to me of all I have been blessed with!  It makes all the struggles worth it!


  And some day, I will confidently say:
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little (I think it means more that just finances and stuff.  I think it also means the mountain tops and the valleys).  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.  I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need!
Philippians 4:11-13
PS:  For those of you that visit here and don't leave a comment...I would love to "meet" you...hear from would bless my heart.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Harvest For Kids

We attended the once in a life time, World Record breaker for Guinness World Record Book, of most combines on one field, combining at the same time.  What an incredible sight to see!  Saskatchewan you rock!

 The previous record holder, Winkler, MB held the record with 208 combines.  Saskatchewan literally left that record in the dust with a total of 249 combines on the field. The exact number that completed the harvest and will be counted are yet to be determined.  However, the best guess at the moment is 245 combines!  Over 200 acres of oats were harvested in about 10 minutes!  All the bushels harvested will go directly to feeding kids all over the world and sending kids to camp.  You can check out Harvest for Kids at  The field, seed, fertilizer, equipment, and labor were all donated by various businesses and individuals.  How incredible!

We made sure we arrived early to enjoy all the activities.  Of coarse our kids made a bee line to the horses!

The girls then stopped at the face painting booth.  Raina wasn't too enthusiastic!  Haha!  Too funny!

Alex and Morgun LOVED the remote cars!  I think I watched their expressions more than the cars!  lol

We had intended to stay for lunch, but the line was over 1/2 a km long.  People waited in line for over an hour!  Instead we made a quick dash to Martensville for lunch and made it back with 20 minutes to spare. I was worried we would miss out on the grand finale.  There was no way to know how quickly the long line of traffic would move and fortunately we approached the field from the right direction and made it back in time...others did not.

It was a truly incredible sight to see combines as far as the eye could see, slowly come rumbling towards us.  Wish the pictures did it justice.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We had the usual meal with my family and invited Martin's folks for supper yesterday...I am stuffed, but still have room for left overs! I absolutely LOVE all food!

 My brother Andrew flew in on Saturday and will be staying with us for a week.  We love having him here...visiting, playing Settlers of Catan, and laughing.  So thankful to be able to spend time with him!

We spent Saturday at Harvest For Kids, where the world record was broken.  249 combines participated in harvesting 230 acres in 6 mins.  What an amazing event to witness!  I will share more later...

This year as we went around the table saying what we are thankful for, one statement really stuck out.  Malia said, "I'm thankful that I have a family!"  It sort of took me by surprise and I wasn't sure what to make of it at first.  I am amazed that she really understands even though she says she does not remember anything about China.  Sometimes we underestimate how much she understands...

This year I am thankful for all the usual things...God, family, provisions, etc.  But most of all I am thankful that each and every day I can fall into God's arms and have Him carry me through each difficult moment.  It is a wonderful, safe place to be!

Friday, October 5, 2012

21 years!


This morning dawned much like it did 21 years ago.  A heavy frost covered the ground and trees.  A thick fog was slowly dissipating.  Remarkably like our wedding though God himself was wishing us a "Happy Anniversary". :)


I feel incredibly blessed to be married to the guy that still makes me smile...makes my life brighter...and is my best friend!

For some silly reason this song was running through my mind.  It's a bit of a cheesy country song...(I blame the country influence on my older siblings!  :)...but it really is true.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


As you know I have been stressed lately, although I am slowly learning to once again give it all over to God.  You would think that with all the stress we have encountered, giving everything to God would be easy.  It's not.  I'm still learning, I'm still growing, and of late I  have gotten downright excited to see God at work!

One of the greatest stresses has been financial.  I HATE talking about finances!  It makes me feel like a whiner.  Makes me feel like I'm ungrateful.  Martin and I have rarely let anyone know when we have a need.  Too much pride perhaps.  Asking for help goes against every fiber in our beings.  We like to do things ourselves.  We do not like to put our burdens on others.  Perhaps it is the fear of not being heard...the fear of being ignored.  We would much rather help others.  It is much easier to ask for something when it is going to someone else...and much more fun!

However, the fact remains...with our third adoption well on it's way...(we hope to travel sometime late this winter or early spring)...we still have no idea as to how we will pay for it all.   We had thought that I would be working this much as possible.  However, due to homeschooling Alex, it is impossible for me to work.

We will be selling a bunch of our personal belongings, which should help quite a bit. But it still won't be nearly enough.  We do have some ideas for fundraisers.  We're just not 100% sure what God wants.  At this point we are praying for clear direction. We do not know how God will provide, but we do know God NEVER fails!

Today my heart rejoices!  I am at peace.  I know God will provide.  This past week we were given $3100!  Yah!  Blows me away!  A huge part of that money was not necessarily given directly towards our adoption, but that is what it will be used for.  Curiousity got the best of me, so I decided to to a little math.  So far we have spent $5932.89 on our adoption.  This covers our homestudy, Citizenship application, postage, photos and agency fees.  We have been given/earned $4873.91! This includes the amount I earned in subbing, selling bread; money from the oncewaslost fundraiser, and money from some VERY generous people!  That leaves only a difference of $1058.98!  My heart soars!  I could leap for joy!  We are so,so very blessed!  We know how hard these people have worked to help us bring our little guy home.  I am in tears.  There are no words to adequately describe our gratitude.  We are humbled.  We are in awe.  We are blessed!

I came across this song on a blog I follow and simply had to share it.  It so accurately describes my heart.  May you be blessed by it as well.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Boys Will Be Boys

Yup!  That's disgusting! :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

This 'n That

Thank you to all who have been praying for us!  The past few weeks continue to be filled with difficult moments, but we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Alex and I have settled into somewhat of a routine for school.  I finally have all the supplies/resources I need to teach until Christmas.  It has been a huge weight off my shoulders!  Staff at Osler School have been incredibly supportive...copying necessary papers, sending me their year plan, and offering any support we need.  I am trying to complete the same assignments/concepts being taught at school so that if Alex does return to school after Christmas he will be right where he should be academically.   We have seen huge improvements already in regards to behaviours/attitudes that needed to be addressed, and quite frankly if that is all we accomplish, we will be happy.  I so desire for all my kids to be confident and happy.
I struggle with not having much time to myself.  Time to think, organize and process.  I've been overwhelmed this past week.  Martin has been working late a lot and some days I literally want to run away...escape in some manner.  Still so much yard work to do before freeze up.  My body aches.  I've been pruning trees...something that has been neglected for too long...and the chain saw doesn't like me!  Boy, can that thing feel heavy after a while! 
Tomorrow is a "me" day.  Martin is taking the day off of work so that I can have a day to myself...I can hardly wait!  Look out Starbucks!  A good part of my day will be spent running errands in town, but at least I can do them without constantly looking at the time, making sure everyone else's needs are met.
Recently we were knocked off our feet by special friends of ours.  They presented us with money to go towards our adoption.  It was not only the amount that made our eyes pop, but also...and probably most importantly...knowing that someone supports us...understands the financial stress we are under at the moment.  To know that someone has put our needs above their own is nothing short of honorable and amazing!  "Thank you" can never fully express our gratitude and appreciation.  Thank you again! know who you are!
It is these acts of kindness that puts wind beneath our wings...that gives us motivation to hold our heads high and keep going.
On a totally different note...
Here are the pics from our day at the lake.  Malia and Raina were very enthusiastic to go tubing and were all smiles at the start.

 I kept asking if they were ok...if they were having fun...and they kept saying yes.  They're expressions say otherwise!  Must have been a terrified thrill for them!  lol!

I had to post these pics.  If you were to ask Morgun what his favorite part of summer was, he would include helping Dad with the steps.  He had a blast helping Martin place the temporary steps...waiting for the ground to settle... in preparation for a family gathering.  I love the intensity with which this boy works!  :0