Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My Hero

The very word conjures up images of masked figures draped in capes, swooping down through the sky to rescue some hapless soul from imminent danger.
Spider Man.
Wonder Woman.
The list is as endless as the number of dollars paid to create the cinematic empires they inhabit. I'd be lying if I said I didn't even once wish I could swirl around, create a cloud of smoke, and emerge with superhuman strength. Boy, could I have knocked out a few problems in life that way!

Throughout the years my heroes have traded places and faces. In my younger years, my first heroes were the members of my own family -- my incredibly patient mom, my rock-steady dad, my indomitable older sister, my grandma ...
These were my role models.
The people I aspired to emulate in life.
The ones whose qualities I wanted to acquire.

My horizons broadened when I began school. New stories and new lessons introduced me to new heroes.
Florence Nightingale.
Abraham Lincoln.
Harriet Tubman.
George Washington Carver.
George Muller.
Gladys Aylward.
Mother Theresa.
And more...
I admired their courage in the face of adversity, their indomitable determination, their willingness to struggle onward and upward when all odds were stacked against them. I inhaled their stories and drew strength from their spirit. They gave me the courage to conquer my own obstacles and run my own race.

Now, as I stand midway between youth and old age, I have the privilege of finding heroes on either side. There are those who have walked before me and those who are now stepping up behind me.

Of late, there is one who has risen to surpass them all.

My son.

And I don't say this just to voice the strong maternal exuberance that swells up in my chest.
I say this because I have watched in wonder as he has grown from a wounded boy to an amazing, big-hearted man, who walks with integrity.
He buys pizza for the homeless and high-fives the outcasts, because he has walked in their shoes.
He is gentle with the sick and the elderly, because he knows how fragile life is.
He looks out for the foster kids and orphans, because he was once one himself.
He gives, and asks for nothing in return except your honest friendship, because he understands the value of a true friend.

This kid has grappled with the worst life can throw out there ... and still smiles at the end of each day.
No matter how hard life has been and no matter how many curve balls have knocked him flat, he never caves.
He never buckles.
He gets up,
dusts himself off,
turns on his mega-watt smile,
and tries again.
And again and again.

Now he faces down the one thing that has eluded him all these years.

When Quinn was about ten or eleven, my uncle took us up in his Grumman for an afternoon flight. As we soared through the clouds, Quinn could barely contain his excitement. He was hooked. I could see it in the way his eyes sparkled when we landed, the way he wiggled in his seat, and bounced out of the cockpit. For me it was a nice little spin in the sky. For him, it was a rendezvous with destiny. From then on his favorite boyhood haunt was atop a hill a half-mile from my parents home in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he had a clear view of the planes taking off and landing at the Oakland Airport not too far away.

"Someday," he promised himself, "I will fly too."

The road towards his goal has not been an easy one. He first had to rid himself of a few demons and scale some formidable road-blocks, but his dedication to that solitary goal has never wavered. To date he has worked for and invested nearly $20,000 towards its completion. He has $40,000 still to go.

Recently he called me to tell me he had started a GoFundMe page to help narrow the gap between where he stands today and the culmination of his flight training quest. He seemed a little shy about inviting others to help him. He's always been the giver, and understandably feels as though his shoes are on the wrong feet to be in the "asking" position. He wondered aloud if ... if ... anyone ... would donate.

I know I will!

Not just because he's my son (and that's what moms are supposed to do).
Not just because I know his story.
Not just because he has dreamed about this for so long.
But because he was worked harder to reach where he is than many people ever will.

I can't tell you how much I admire that.

My son is my hero and he is going to not only fly,

but soar!

If you would like to join us in helping him get his wings, please click on the GoFundMe link at the top right of this page.

Thank you!

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Long Overdue Thank You ... to You!

“I don’t even like Jesus!” Yana (not her real name) said defiantly as we stood facing each other outside the church doors. Her green eyes bore into mine and her arms folded angrily across her chest. I understood her frustration and her hurt. Torn from her family at the age of six, she had spent the last five years of her life in an orphanage without the love of a mother and a father. She felt helpless and angry. Why should she believe in God when it seemed no one cared for her?

“I know why you don’t like Jesus,” I said quietly. Her face registered an expression of surprise as I explained. “You don’t like Jesus because you don’t know Him, but…” I continued, “Once you get to know Jesus, you will love Him.”

We first met Yana nearly four years ago when our family hosted her and her three siblings. Since returning to their country, we have maintained a friendship with them through social media and the numerous care packages shipped across the Atlantic. It has been our constant prayer that we can share Jesus with Yana and her siblings.

This summer, we found ourselves in the worst financial situation our family has ever faced. Yet, it was while we were at our financial lowest that the prayer we had been praying for the last three-and-a-half years was answered. The doors that had blocked us from hosting Yana for so many years flung open. We didn’t understand why God would choose to bring Yana here at the very moment when we could least afford to host her.

We took our financial concerns to God and He began to provide. Donations trickled in, but they were not enough. Discouraged, we began to question God’s leading. This was especially true the night we arrived at the payment deadline with $2000 still lacking. Doubts and uncertainties pummeled us. Were we really following His will? Had we rushed on ahead without Him?

The next morning I called the Hosting Agency to explain our situation. The woman who answered my call promised to speak with the agency’s president and get back to me. Several anxious hours ticked by as I taught my class and prayed and tried not to worry. I submitted myself to God’s will for this situation, for us, and for Yana. And I waited.

Finally, the phone rang and I jumped to answer it. The woman on the other end asked, “Margie, have you noticed that over $500 has been donated just this morning?” My heart skipped a beat. I had not noticed. “Let’s wait to see what God does in the next 24-hours,” she said. I hung up the phone in awe. Could it be that God might still be working out a miracle, even after the payment deadline had passed?

Throughout the remaining hours of that day and on through the night a flood of donations in various amounts - $10, $35, $40, $100 – poured in. Adoptive families from across the country, most of whom we’d never even met, heard from a friend of a friend of a friend that an orphan needed to be hosted. The following day, the hosting agency’s treasurer sent me a text that read, “I am pleased to tell you that your account is fully funded.” Overwhelmed, I collapsed into the nearest chair and cried.

We had tried so hard to raise the money by ourselves. We had scrimped and denied ourselves everything not necessary for survival ... and then some. We had sold donated items at the local Flea Market. We held a giveaway. And we had failed. But God hadn’t.

God showed us that caring for the orphan is not just our private project, it is His divine will. He commands that His people care for the fatherless. For some families that means adoption. For others it is fostering or hosting. Others can help sponsor an entire orphanage. And still others are blessed with the ability to donate time or money to help those doing the hands-on work. Most importantly, everyone can pray! God identifies Himself so closely with orphans that He calls Himself their Father. Psalm 68:5. A good father cares for his children. And God places as many of His children as He can into willing families. “God setteth the solitary in families.” Psalm 68:6.

Yana arrived at the end of July and stayed through to the end of August. At only eleven years of age, it was difficult for her to be separated from her older sister, who is like a mother to her, and stay with our family that is unable speak her native language. But Yana understood hugs and sought the comfort of our arms daily. As she warmed up, we discovered she had a good understanding of the English language. We also found out she wanted nothing to do with God. In her broken English she told us, “God is nothing for me.”

Yana accompanied us to church and sat respectfully through our times of family worship. However, she refused to kneel when we prayed and we did not force her. But, every time an opportunity arose to share God’s love, we grabbed it. Whenever she cried, we hugged her and told her how much God loved her. We explained the beautiful power in prayer and promised that God would hear her whenever she called to Him. Her only response was to either stare at us as though she understood nothing or to laugh in a hard and cynical manner. “God, please make Yourself real to Yana,” we prayed again and again.

Because we have had many children from different backgrounds come through our home, each day provides its own unique challenges. On one of the days during Yana’s visit, an older child in our home became quite angry over a rule we had and stormed away. She was gone for several hours and refused to respond to our phone calls or text messages. Concerned, Shawn and I prayed silently for her return.

That evening as Yana and I cut potatoes together in the kitchen, our wayward child returned. I subconsciously breathed a sigh of relief and offered up a silent prayer of thanksgiving. But, Yana, who had observed everything, was curious. “Did you pray for her?” she asked quietly. “Yes, I did.” I answered. Yana nodded.

That night during our family devotion time, Shawn and I held back tears as we noticed Yana kneeling to pray with us for the first time. The following morning she gave us a list of prayer requests. Now that she had seen God answer prayer with her own eyes, the burdens of her young heart overflowed.

Yana has returned to her home country. We currently have no plans to adopt her, but are so thankful for the opportunity we had in bringing her into our home to share the love of God with her in a very real way. We will remain in contact with her and her siblings for as long as God allows.

Thank you for being a part of our journey, for praying for us and for the children we bring into our home. So many of you went out of your way to make Yana feel welcome here and we are grateful for that. You have shown the love of Christ in a tangible way to a child starving for genuine affection. For those who donated funds or food or clothing, we can’t even begin to express to you the depths of our gratitude. Through you, we have been blessed to witness the body of Christ in action and through your kindness have glimpsed a piece of Heaven on earth. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is my absolute FAVORITE holiday of the year. I love the fall colors, the nip in the air, the warmth of family and friends gathered together. Due to circumstances beyond our control, this year's celebration won't be the same as what we're used to. But we won't complain. We are soooo grateful for God's blessings to us.

Last year, I put together a Thanksgiving slide show to send our loved ones. I am not able to make one this year, but I did want to share the one from last year with you. Mostly because, the prayer request at the end of the slide show was so beautifully answered. Our Ukrainian daughter arrived just a few weeks after Thanksgiving. I cannot even begin to tell you the hurdles we had to scale in order for her to arrive. We needed so many miracles and God showed up for her every. single. time. When God moves, He moves. I was in awe. Still am.

Now she's been here for nearly an entire year and the miracles just keep continuing...

Enjoy our short video clip. Background music is from my husband's album "Hope Still Lives" available to bless your Thanksgiving from Amazon.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Amazing Amazon Gift Cards

Wait! Wait! I know what you are going to ask and the answer is yes.

Yes, I am now an Amazon affiliate.


After more than 10 years of blogging, I have finally entered the world of affiliate marketing. Why did it take me so long? Initially, I started blogging to find fellow adoptive families with whom I could share our adoptive journey. Trust me! EVERY adoptive family needs a support group standing behind them and I have been blessed to find some wonderful friends this way.

But then ...

We helped two teens get on their feet.

We hosted a total of five kids from Eastern Europe over the past four years.

We sponsored a 19-year-old from Ukraine who was fresh out of her orphanage and is now completing her first year of college here in America.

One of our adopted kids needs more intense guidance and no longer lives with us so we are supporting her from afar.


the need for extra income really pushed its way to the forefront and I began researching affiliate links. In the process I have discovered some pretty cool stuff, which I hope to share with all of you as well.

In the meantime, we are working on putting together a little E-store on this site. If you'll take a look at the right column, you'll see some great books to read for yourself or to give away as gifts. I also really like the gift card link to the right. I absolutely LOVE gift cards because I am so terrible about picking out gifts for others. With gift cards I know they are getting exactly what they want.

At any rate, thanks for being a part of our lives and our journey over the years. We sincerely hope you'll now have fun shopping with us too.

Leadership Skills ... Do You Have Them?

Thought this was funny and wanted to pass it along. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Intensive Hosting

Hello Friends,

I made a promise to bring our hosting journey to this blog. I invited so many of you to join us on this journey. (And it HAS been quite the journey!)

And then I bailed.

I went completely silent.

I shut down.

I'm sorry!

Trust me. It was not an intentional plan.

I have simply been overwhelmed!!!

Hosting is intense on so many levels!

And now we have only one week left. I will return to blogging then and fill you in on the amazing events happening here.

God is good!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Fundraising for Perpetuity

This is the deal...

We seem to continually find ourselves in fundraising mode. Either we are raising money to bring orphans here or we are beginning an adoption process or we are helping someone else fundraise to meet their hosting/adoption goals. And as much as I have kicked and screamed and fought it, I have finally come to accept it as a regular and blessed part of our lives.


I started thumbing through some of my kids' artwork and photographs that I have saved throughout the years. My girls and I imagined them as tee shirts, mugs, key chains, and more. The more we talked, the more my kids got excited about it all -- especially the part about getting to keep a portion of the profits. How cool is that?! They are paid designers before they can even get a driver's license!

I have no definite long term plans for these products. They're being sold on a first-come, first-buy basis. We first want to raise the money we need for our homestudy and upcoming adoption. Then, depending on how well everything goes, we'll use it to help other families adopt as well.

Check out a sample design HERE, make an order, and/or let us know what you think.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Waddya Think?

I designed this today after some financial frustrations kind of knocked the wind out of my sails.
Hate when that happens.

The caption reads: HELP! I'm a rich woman TRAPPED in a working woman's budget.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

It was the Christians...


This needs to be framed and hung on the walls of every church building in America.

"When I grew up in the orphanage it was Christians who came and built nicer buildings. Christians who bought us beds, clothing, and provided money monthly for food. It was a Christian who wrote a letter in a shoebox, who first told me I was loved. It was the Christians who met all my physical and material needs in that orphanage.

"But it was also Christians who neglected my biggest need. Children in orphanages don't need more money, nicer buildings, or better clothes. I am not an orphan because I lost my home or provisions. I am an orphan because I lost my parents. I needed a mom and a dad. I needed a family. Christians treated all my temporary symptoms of need but never cured my long term disease of being an orphan. I am still an orphan."

-A quote from a 30-year-old orphan who aged out of an orphanage where he had lived his whole life; spoken at the CAFO Summit 2013

Sunday, May 29, 2016

And the Winner Is...?

My speech teacher once told my class, "Never begin with apologies. Never! Just act like the mistake was supposed to happen." In keeping with her advice (since I ALWAYS listened to the advice of my teachers, Ha!), I will not begin this blog with an apology for trying the patience of my readers and causing them to doubt my sincerity by taking so long to announce the winner of my contest. I will not offer excuses about how so much work has been thrown into my path that as I slogged though it I could only glance longingly at my blog and wish I was there instead. I will not give you a list of reasons why, although totally unknown to me, and I'm sure to you as well, I have not had the chance to get on here and publish the results of our recent fundraising sweepstakes. I will not!

I will simply tell you who won.

Easy enough. But since I have never drawn a winner and was not quite sure how to begin, I improvised.

I wrote each name on a notecard - one card for each five dollar donation. Those who donated $30 received six entries. Those who donated $50 received ten entries. And so on.

I folded each notecard into teeny, tiny wads, threw those wads into a jar, and shook it up really well. I pulled out five random crumpled cards and tossed the remaining cards into the trash bin. I put the five notecards into the now empty jar and shook it again. This time I randomly pulled out three and, again, threw away the remainder. The hand-plucked three went back into the jar to be shaken one last time.

But before I pulled out that winning name, I stopped for a moment and offered up a silent prayer and asked God to pick the winner. This fundraising walk-of-faith has been led by Him all along and I wanted it to be finished by Him as well.

When I breathed "Amen,"

I tipped the jar upside down one last time...

And caught the first crumpled paper wad to land in my hand.

I unfolded it...

And read ...

The name...


(Congratulations! Good thing I will be seeing you this weekend and can hand-deliver it to you!)

Thank you to everyone who prayed and participated and, with God, took us over and beyond the original financial goal we had set our sights on. This has been an amazing, faith-building experience. I am so thankful to have been able to walk this journey with friends.

P.S. I still plan to tell the "rest of the story" about this fundraiser ... just as soon as I get a chance. It is amazing and made my head spin. I promise, it will be well worth the wait!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Winner, Part 1!

Last Friday I announced a giveaway..., er sweepstakes..., er lottery... er...

Well, I don't really know what we had here. Actually, a dear friend, who is way more knowledgeable about blogging no-nos, pointed out that what I did here might actually have crossed some major blogging rules. (I'm still a newbie at blogging rules.) To avoid possible trouble from any "blogging police" that might be patrolling in the nearby vicinity, I took the post down. However, five amazing people did donate a total of $185 during that time period and I do want to honor the promise I made.

I apologize for taking so long in announcing anything and for making everybody wait while I frantically try to figure out how to right my wrongs and do things legally. I will hold the drawing on Sunday, May 22, 2016. The winner will be announced Sunday evening.

Hereafter, I will do my very best to research and stay on the right side of all blogging laws.

Thanks for your understanding and patience.

P.S. I have an incredible, miraculous story to tell about how our hosting fees were paid ... over and above the amount needed. But, I'll have to do that next week as well. This week has been a whirlwind for me. I'm still trying to get my bearings.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Today Our Miracle Comes

We have done all we can do. We have sacrificed every spare penny we have. We have gone without. We have contacted our newspaper and radio stations,and requested donations from Walmart and Krogers. We did our RANDOM SMILES fundraiser and sold used items at the Flea Market. We are currently trying to raffle off a brand new IPad mini (see previous post). And, we have driven our friends and family batty with our fundraising speeches and requests. (Forgive us!)

Above all, God has blessed!

To date He has provided $3465!!! For this, I praise Him!

Today, the remaining $2335 is due. That breaks down to 467 $5 donations or 233.5 $10 donations or merely 117 $20 donations. See, it doesn't take much and every bit makes a difference.

I don't know how God is going to do it, but, in faith, I am already praising Him for providing for these precious children.

Today ... our miracle comes!

Thank you so much for your part in it.

God bless!

P.S. I realize some of you may not want to participate in the Ipad raffle. Simply donate anonymously and I will understand. Thank you!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Electricity is Overrated

Our second-to-last hosting payment was due yesterday. I fundraised like a madwoman,

and some of you donated through our YouCaring link over there on the right ...


But we still fell short of the mark.

Quite a bit short, actually.

Like $1700 short.

(Yeah! I was bummed.)

Fortunately, my husband received a check over the weekend that cleared Tuesday morning ...


(He's self-employed and his payments are not always predictable, so this was a huge blessing!)

For some reason, our bank card wouldn't work on New Horizon's website and we ended up having to make the payment in cash.

As Shawn counted out seventeen crisp, green Benjamin Franklins, my eyes widened. The expense side of hosting reached out and whacked me. Hard. Doubts began to creep in.

"Should we really be doing this?"

"It's not cheap!"

"We need that money!"

"And we have a large electricity bill due this week!!!"

This rather large withdrawal caused our bank account to plunge. My heart began to race wildly and a slight feeling of panic set in. I had to look deep within my soul to reexamine exactly why it was we were doing this in the first place.

Hosting is, first and foremost, a missionary opportunity where orphans from various countries are matched with families in America, Canada, or Western Europe for a few weeks in the summer or winter. (The orphanages close down for twice a year for six weeks to save money.) For Christian families this time is an amazing opportunity to share Christ with a child (or children) who have never heard the precious gospel message. In addition, hosting establishes contact with someone interested in the child's well-being, thus protecting them down the road from the typical pitfalls faced by so many. Statistics tell us that a high percentage (between 60% to 70%) of emancipated orphans fall victim to prostitution, trafficking, substance abuse, and/or criminal activities. Positive relationships provide an anchor of hope for orphans who might otherwise give up and join the tragic 15% who commit suicide within their first two years of leaving the orphanage. Plain and simply, orphans are some of this world's most vulnerable citizens.

Although still young, our two have their own difficulties to endure. Within the orphanage walls, bullying tears them down and leaves them feeling hopeless and forgotten. For the last three years, L has been emailing me. "When can we come to you?" she pleads. "When can we see you again?" (They were initially hosted by us in the winter of 2012.)

Really, I needed only look at the picture I carry of them to be reminded of how "worth it" this whole venture is. To see them again, to wrap our arms around them and pull them close, to love them unconditionally is worth every penny we spend. Caring for the orphan is not an option, it is a mandate! And if we spend everything we have to bring them here to share the love of Jesus with them, it will be worth it!


And, as my husband so lovingly reminded me, electricity is way overrated.

Somehow, through all of this, we will survi

Monday, May 9, 2016

Audiobook Overload! Ahhhh!


That's what freedom is all about.

The ability to choose is our sacred right.

I get that.

So why is it so stinking overwhelming!!!

Now that my book is published in both hard copy and ebook, I thought it would be good to turn it into an audiobook as well.

And then ...

I was presented with my list of options.

Who knew there could be so many?!

Do I want a male/female voice?

Should the accent be American (7 variations),
British (17 variations, not counting Irish),
Eastern European,
or even Caribbean?

(Ha! Listening to a World War II escape story from a voice sounding as if it's vacationing in paradise, should liven things up a bit. I can hear it now...

"Cho! Put dah guns down, man!")

After I choose the accent, there is the question of style. Should the vocals be velvety, raspy, spooky, perky, hip, sheepish, or perhaps wistful?

These name just a few of my options.

I can't seem to find the choice for "normal reading voice" anywhere.

Maybe if I just keep scrolling...?

And then, a friend recommended I do my own reading.

Hmmmm... yet another choice to consider.

Is nothing easy?!

Order your book or ebook HERE

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mom, Remember the Time...?

Dear Mom,

I know you don't like commercialism for Mother's Day. Your practical self won't allow us to indulge in showering you with Mother's Day cards and balloons and material mementos. No, you've always insisted that we keep these annual celebrations to a minimum. No fuss. No frizz. No flare.

But that doesn't diminish our desire to celebrate you, the woman who raised us and set our feet on the individual paths we would take in life. So today, on this one day dedicated to all mothers, I want to walk back down memory lane with you to revisit and dust off some shelved recollections that demonstrate the amazing mother you are.

Mom, remember your original desire to have a nice even four or six kids? (Sadly, you were able to carry only five out of your six pregnancies to term.) We might have caused you to regret that desire at times, but you never let us know it. Instead, you made us all feel like your special treasures.

Remember letting us press our ears and hands to your belly as it expanded with our newest sibling? Feeling their kicks and hearing their heartbeat bonded us together as a family even before birth.

Mama, remember teaching us to work? You made it sound like folding stacks of cloth diapers was the greatest thing on the planet. Because we trusted you, we believed you. And because we believed you, we discovered that work could be fun.

Remember that big yellow wooden sandbox you built for us? What kind of mom builds something like that for her kids?!? Endless hours were spent by us in that creation -- just us and our imaginations.

Mom, remember the endless stacks of homemade waffles you made for us? I make them now, but they never seem to taste as good.

Remember those cupboards?! Your perfectionist nature kept you working at refinishing them for at least ten years. We never did see the mistakes you kept finding. Although we complained frequently about not having cupboard doors for half of our childhood, we admired your determination.

You taught us to sew and embroider. I hated it, but you routinely dragged me indoors for my daily session of working a needle and thread. When I had performed my required number of stitches, I was always pleased with my progress, mostly because you made me feel like I had done the best work you had ever seen -- except for the time I accidently embroidered the picture to my skirt.

Remember all those papers you edited? A good portion of my degree belongs to you. I never received lower than an A- on a paper because of your corrections. All students should be so blessed.

Remember all those walks around the block? You were out to get exercise (and probably some peace and quiet too), but never seemed to mind when one, or all five, (plus our five cats) traipsed along behind you.

You courageously pulled us out of school and homeschooled us in an age when homeschooling was still the new kid on the block, allowing us the freedom to develop our own personalities and identities. Your pioneering spirit infused itself into all of us. Today, none of us is a follower thanks to your trailblazing example.

Oh, and remember all those trips to the emergency room? Anne bit through her lip after her bicycle jump landed awry. John smashed his face into our driveway while attempting a wheelie on his bike, only to have the front wheel drop off at the moment he was ready to land. When the dog pulling Richard on his skateboard spied a cat, Richard's board hit a rock and became airborne. His landing on the sidewalk was none too graceful and promptly knocked him unconscious. I accompanied you on these and all other emergency room visits. (Only Linda escaped childhood unscathed.)

But, when I broke my neck in an auto accident, it was your face I longed to see come through those hospital room doors because you are comfort personified. And you did not fail me. You stayed the night (I don't know where) and remained with me the next day too. When I finally came home, you bravely cared for me even though you were terrified you might damage something ... but I knew you wouldn't.

Oh Mom, I could go on and on. You have been there when you needed to be there. You have listened when I needed a sounding board. You have taken action when I needed things accomplished. You have loved unconditionally, encouraged endlessly, and helped mold and shape me into the woman I am today.

How can I thank you enough, except to live you proud?

You are amazing and I love you!

Your daughter,


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hobby to How-to

It's hard to believe I have been blogging since 2010. Back then, I didn't even really know what a blog was but thought it would be a fun way to connect with other adoptive mamas. And, a nice way to practice my writing skills. (And, yes, that last line is an intentional fragment and not a reflection of my actual writing skills.)

Not only have I forged some amazing friendships with other families journeying along the adoption path, I have discovered a whole new world. Blogging, writing, publishing, YouTube video promos ... it has all been rather mind-blowing, to say the least. Now that my eyes have been dazzled by all of this, I have decided to dive head-first into its depths and saturate myself in its literary/technological waters.

So I'm quitting my job.

Kind of.

Well, actually I am, but not totally.

Okay, it's kind of complicated and I can't say I really understand how this is all going to work, but I did quit my teaching job.

I'm more like a free-lance educator now.

Whatever that means.

After twenty-three years of teaching, I am DONE with addressing a class, slaving over lesson plans, and stocking up on red correcting pens.

Kind of.

Mostly, I'm just done with being locked in a classroom for x amount of hours per day and released when the school bell rings.

But, I still like teaching.

Mostly, I enjoy the kids.

Love those kiddos!!!

(Most of them, at least.)

Okay, okay, ALL of them!

I think I just need a break.

And so...

...back to my original thread...

I am stepping into the blogging world to see where it takes me. In two weeks, I will launch by enrolling in a FREE blogging course called, "The Profitable Blogging Summit" from May 16 - 20.

And when I learn everything there is to learn
and get rich and famous,
you can say you knew me here first.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Everyone Should Have This Much Fun!

I once sat next to a dying woman and watched as she wrote out check after check to various individuals and charities. Her life's savings was being spent and she was smiling. With only days left to live, it was a race against time to see whether she could give away her money before her life was over. Suddenly, she chuckled. "Everyone should have this much fun!" she murmured, half to herself and half, I'm sure, for my benefit.

All her life she had lived quite frugally and, at the same time, quite generously. She denied herself little needless, pleasures so she could bless others with the extra she had saved. She was not rich, but it was amazing to see how much she had accumulated over the years. And, in her final days, she enjoyed the pleasure of giving it all away.

Since that day I've thought quite a bit about what she said and how she lived her life. She denied herself so that she could give. And she gave abundantly. Her happiness was not wrapped up in pleasing herself. Instead, her joy came from blessing others.

My biggest qualm about fundraising has always come from my reluctance to ask people to give -- even though I'm not asking for anything for myself. And yet, God seems to keep putting me in places where the need is far greater than my ability, leaving me to fundraise and pray.

This time around, however, our fundraising experience has been different for me. Because I have shared a portion of the donation money with my community, I have actually enjoyed this experience more than any other time. Not only are funds being raised to bring two Eastern European orphans to our home this summer, I am also able to spread cheer in my own community while introducing others to the needs of orphans.

Today as I write this, I have a different perspective on fundraising. I no longer shudder at the idea. I want to shout from the rooftops, "Come have fun with me!" Because, as St. Francis of Assisi so famously said, "It is in giving, that we receive..." And, as was demonstrated so beautifully to me by the woman who gave everything away with a smile, joy comes to those who give.

Everyone should have this much fun!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Today, Please Look at Their Faces

My older sister once told me, "It's so easy to forget about orphans ... until you see their faces."

Today, I ask you to take a moment to stop and SEE. See their faces. Look into their eyes. Let their needs touch you. Their physical necessities may be cared for by the orphanages, however, each child carries a wounded and broken heart that is in desperate need of healing.

If, after watching this video, you feel that God is asking you to do something for His little children, please consider one of the following:

1) Sign up to host an orphan with New Horizons for Children (the largest hosting agency in America). This does not obligate you to adopt. It is merely a way to minister to an orphan for 5 - 6 weeks this summer. Time is running out for this summer, so you will need to act fast if this is something you wish to do. There are many children who have still not been chosen and many of them already have scholarships available. Click HERE to view New Horizon's website.

2) Read up on the orphan crisis and educate yourself on the real needs of orphans in our world by clicking either of the titles below:

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Infinitely More by Alex Krutov and Jackie Davis

3) Donate! This is probably the easiest way to help, but the most often overlooked. Come alongside someone who is in the process of hosting and donate towards their hosting fundraiser. You don't have to drain your bank accounts. Ten dollars given in faith will go a long way. (Remember the widow with her two mites?) If you don't know anyone who is currently planning on hosting, I have two suggestions:

a) My friend over at Good Old Days Farm Blog is working hard to bring her four littles back this summer.

b) And, in case you've missed all my other posts... we just HAPPEN to be fundraising for our two sweeties to come this summer as well. And, there just so HAPPENS to be a link to our YouCaring site in the upper right hand corner of this blog. If you HAPPEN to drop a small donation into it, we would literally float up to the ceiling with happiness. (To see the fundraising fun we have planned take a peek at our RANDOM SMILES PROJECT in our previous post.)

4) Pray!!! This is the single most important element to any ministry, and hosting is no exception. Pray for the children. Pray for the families who will be hosting them. Pray for God's will, His protection, and His guidance in the lives of these precious kids. Pray! Just pray!

From the bottom of this hosting/foster/adoptive mama's heart,


Thursday, April 21, 2016


Okaaaay, so there have been some improvements made on our summer hosting fundraising campaign. ALL donations made though the link below are now TAX-DEDUCTIBLE.

After all my kicking and screaming about having to fundraise again, I am now really excited to do it. Why? Because along with blessing two sweet kids, we will be distributing care packages to the person of your choice OR someone from one of the following professions...

Minister or Priest from the denomination of your choice
Civil Servant from the department of your choice
Health Care Professional
Elderly person
Sick person
Foster child/orphan
Homeless person
Single parent

When a donation is made in one of the amounts below we will deliver a care package (aka SMILE) to a random person or the person of your choice.

$10 for a basic SMILE boost (see description below)
$25 for a local delivery (within 10 miles of Cedartown, Georgia)
$45 for us to ship it to a specific address within the United States
$100 for a care package for an entire establishment (i.e. the entire police department, children's home, etc.)
(Sorry, all donations are non-refundable)

3) All other SMILE packages will be wrapped up in a pretty package and contain:

1 Bible tract

1 of my husband's piano CDs "Hope Still Lives"

2 edible treats

1 card from NHFC explaining their hosting program

1 encouragement/thank you card telling the recipient how special they are to God and/or thanking them for their service - this will include your name as the donor (unless you wish to remain anonymous)

1 small item specific to their need/vocation

4) $10 SMILES

These precious packages will contain:

1 Bible tract

2 edible treats

1 card from NHFC explaining the hosting program

1 small note card with your name as the donor (unless you wish to remain anonymous)

5) We will take a picture of each SMILE we deliver and post the stories here. Orders can be made now; deliveries will begin next week. (I have to assemble everything first!)

Again, ALL donations made through the link below are tax-deductible.

Share a SMILE and bring two beautiful orphans here for the summer.

Donations can be made through our YouCaring page HERE

Thank you for your support, encouragement, and most of all, your prayers!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Fundraising - Day 1

"For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills." Psalm 50:10

Last night I embarked upon my least favorite task of all time -- fundraising. After Tatiana arrived in December and God miraculously resolved our remaining balance ($4300) via one perfectly timed phone call on the very day everything was due, I thought I was finished. Done. End of story. Finito.


In actuality, God only granted me a four-month breather before gently nudging me out into the pasture again to go gather up some more cows.

Here cow!

Here cow!

A $2800 deadline looms before us. As Friday, April 22, creeps closer I vacillate between two polar emotions. It's as if two sides war within me. One side is completely terrified we will fail. The other rests in total peace, knowing that if God brought us to this, He will also bring us through it. At any moment of the day I can be found camping on one side or the other -- peace or perplexity. Like a nervous tightrope walker, I teeter-totter back and forth between the two.

But, the more I fundraise, the more I think I'm coming to a better understanding of all of this. Yes, God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but how grateful would I be if He didn't bless me with the opportunity to work for it? My value of His blessings increases exponentially when I actively labor to obtain them. And I come to know Him so much more intimately when I am asking, no begging, for His blessing on everything I do.

I know I can do nothing without Him. And so it is that as I stretch myself to the very limit emotionally, physically, and financially, I feel His hand on my shoulder. I hear the gentle throb of His heartbeat in rhythm with mine as we work side by side to bless another life. He asks me to do this because He wants me to work with Him ... to be a part of His team. And, in the process, I am learning to be grateful.

So today, as we complete this first twenty-four hours of yet another round of fundraising, I ask for one thing ... prayer. Please pray for God's provision, pray for ideas, pray for peace for my heart, and pray for the kids we are trying to help.

And now, I must bid you adieu as I climb back in the saddle and ride off into the sun setting behind a thousand hills. I'm pretty sure there's more cows out there somewhere.

Giddyup, horsey!

And Just Like That ... Everything Changes!

We didn't plan to host this summer. Nope! We sure didn't.

We made plans to visit California.

But ...

God doesn't fit into OUR plans. He writes His own.

And they are simply amazing!

Three years ago we hosted four kiddos from Eastern Europe. Those four added to our own four made for quite a houseful! When the kids returned to their orphanage, we moved forward with adoption plans. And that's when everything came to a screeching halt.

The two older girls did not want to be adopted. They wanted their freedom and independence NOT parents with rules and curfews. Over the next three years, I watched hosting season after hosting season come and go. Although "our" four were listed almost everytime, no one hosted them. My heart ached whenever I saw their sweet faces among the photo listings. "When can we come back?" the two younger kids would question me repeatedly as we conversed through the internet. "I don't know," was the only answer I could give and I hated it.

But, this year ...


God has turned everything upside down to make everything right side up again. Those younger two kiddos, the ones who kept asking when they could come, WILL come. These two have suffered so much disappointment over the past three years that Latvia sent a special message along for us. "Please don't back out."

Once again I am reminded of how God hears the cry of a broken heart and tenderly answers in His perfect time.

Rejoice with us!

Pray with us!

I don't want to disappoint them again!!!

To help us fundraise, we are offering free shipping on my book "Marie: Woman of Beauty, Mother of Courage" if it is ordered off my website and a $1 discount for all Kindle editions from Amazon .

This book is the dramatic account of the miraculous escape of my grandmother and her two children from war-torn Estonia during World War II. Stepping right under the noses of the warring Nazis and Communists, my grandmother and her family slipped out of Estonia on the very night Estonia fell into Communist control. It is a story of courage, faith, and determination that will encourage you to live the life God has intended you to have and make you reevaluate the legacy you are leaving your children.

This book has already sold in five continents around the world with excellent reviews. It is perfect for younger readers (my kids loved it), but can hold the interest of adult readers as well. Readers are not disappointed! Order yours today and save! Sale ends this Thursday at midnight.

Here are some videos about my book:



My daughter's promo: