Thursday, September 30, 2010

Some good shopping

Okay, here it is.  As promised a few weeks ago, here is a post about shopping for cool stuff and helping out great causes.  Did you know that Americans spent 31 BILLION dollars on the PETS!??????????
In case you still have your head stuck in the sand....I'll let you know that modern day slavery does indeed exist.  Human trafficking, woes of crushing poverty all lead  people desperate for work being taken advantage of.  Maybe we could spend some of that 31 billion dollars on helping people instead.  Here are some great ways to be sure you are getting good merchandise that was made and sold fairly. 

1.  Purses from Heartline Ministries in Port-au-Prince.  I toured this ministry(1 week before the earthquake) and witnessed the incredible work that God has done through Pastor John and his wife Beth. Click Here to read about this amazing ministry.  The women sew the purses with donated material.  This is no high-tech factory.  I'm tellin' ya..they use the old foot crank sewing machines from 1950.  I've carried my purse since last January and it is beautiful and very well made.  These would be awesome Christmas gifts.  Here are Abby and I modeleing our purse.

Inside the purse is a tag with the signature of the young lady who made your purse

Another Haitian craft that would be perfect to order right now is Christmas cards that are made with banana bark with poor families in Haiti.  I got some a few weeks ago from Food For The Poor and they are gorgeous. 
  Click Here to view and order them.

My parent's church is having a big emphasis in October on fair trade practices and human trafficking.  They are having a shopping bazaar that exhibits items bought at Ten Thousand Villages.Click Here to shop on their website and read their mission.

And, one more idea(I know there are many many great resources, but I haven't had time to research a bunch), you can help orphans in China living in institutions to get nutrition and medical care that they need.

 Support Love Without Boundaries Store and truly make a difference in a medically fragile orphaned baby, very often these are cleft-affected babies who die from starvation because lack of proper medical care and nutrition.

Happy Shopping and feel free to leave comments with more places to shop for a good cause!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In case you haven't seen CUTE lately...

Dang guys, that's about the cutest little choochoo bootie I've ever seen!
He's going peepee in the potty several times a day.  Flushing is his greatest joy!

AND----Speaking of cuteness and joy....I'm headed to the big orphan care/adoption conference in Austin tomorrow night(Jessica C and Jessica W--see ya soon)!!  Going to get updated on the 145 million orphaned children crisis around the world and how we can spur others to care for these little ones.   FYI, start planning ahead for National Orphan Sunday on November 7th.  I'll soon be posting a mock up letter you can send your pastor.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Big day Friday.  It all began with a long planned outing.  Shopping with Wendi(minus children!) at our favorite thrift store.  I found lots of bargains including matching halloween costumes for Hudson, Dillon and myself  and a few items that are my kids favorite brands(including Justice and American Eagle).  Then we ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  I haven't hung out with a friend in a long time and enjoyed it immensely. 
That afternoon we had Homecoming Pep Rally.  Abby performed with the ribbon squad.  It was very sweet.  We went to the game that night.  Here is Carter and his best friend since 2nd grade.  Joel is a kind, level headed, super strong Christian boy and we love him to death.   Before Carter cut his hair short they looked a lot alike.
Carter let a girl in his class wear his football jersey to the game.  She is affected by Aspergers and has social awkwardness.  She had been sad that nobody invited her to Homecoming and Carter heard about it.  He's not a perfect kid for sure, but has grown up with a brother with special needs and is sensitive to that kind of thing.  It made the girl's day!

Here is Dillon "helping" to hold the run through banner.

And here is crazy lil munchkin eating some candy.  Notice the caking of tiny white sugar beading.  I don't have a pic, but Hudson also helped himself to eating some dirt.  He is quite the celebrity at the games and I think Carter has learned that carrying around Hudson serves as a good chic magnet ;)

Abby looked so pretty in her ribbon squad outfit.  Notice the cool football ribbon.  Yes, I libby--hater of crafts--made a darling homecoming bow for her to wear!

  Me and the Korean contingency left early.  Hudson got a couple of little bites on him.  I haven't posted about this but we went to the allergist last week.  He is fairly certain that Hudson's severe allergic reaction was to fireants.  We are now carrying an Epi-Pen.  I have to admit, this has me a bit freaked out.  How in the world am I supposed to make sure a very very active toddler boy doesn't get into fireants, which are everywhere in Texas?  So, I probably over-reacted  when I saw 2 little bites on him and whisked him home "just in case."
AND.....because it is fall in Texas and allergies are rampant from Ragweed, this is how Dillon ends the night.
Did ya read his pj's?  Very appropriate!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

teen years

As parents, Mike and I are seeking wisdom.  The teen years are in full force at our house.  Carter is 14.5 and a freshman in highschool.  He's always been a kind, people-pleasing, thoughtful young man who loves his parents and his Lord dearly.  He is still that boy, but there are struggles that young guys deal with.  Pressure, figuring out how to relate to girls, being cool, grades, football, inadequacies, feelings of wanting to be independent, etc.  Last night was the very first time I can remember thinking "God, I have zero clue as to how to deal with this.  Please, pour out your wisdom on us."  Our era of being the number one influence in his life is over.  Studies show that if you haven't captured your child's heart and influence by age 8--he will generally never see you as his most important person of influence.  We've done our best, but let's face it folks, parenting takes a huge shift at this age. 
You see, our society and media have made it normal for teenage boys to be rebellious, disrespectful, angry and worldly.  That is a lie from the devil,enemy of our souls.  If he can trap teenage boys into being angry and rebellious, AND get their parents to settle for this--he destroys their relationships with their parents and God, he destroys their effectiveness for Jesus, he sets them up to have screwed up marriages--emotional, physical, spiritual baggage to carry around.
Mike and I will NOT sit back and let that happen.  We don't want to make big deals out of temporary issues.  But, we both understand that little issues beget big issues if not taken care of.  A wise wise man who has worked with teens and their parents for a long time says that a parent's job is not to care about their child's comfort-but their character.  That is exactly what we are aiming for.  It is tiring at times.  I'm potty training a super duper busy toddler, taking care of the 2 middle kids, soccer, multiple doctor visits and medications, work, church, homework etc. I'm praying the following verses in 2 ways:  for Mike and I to have wisdom from the Lord, and for Carter to seek wisdom so that he will reap it's many benefits.
Proverbs 2: 6-12
For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds victory in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
9 Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you. 
12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
from men whose words are perverse,

Monday, September 20, 2010


A few days ago I overheard the cutest thing and knew some of you would enjoy it.  A mom with 4 kids was at a restaurant paying for their ordered food.  Little boy of about 10 was asking to order a drink.  Mom said "We are drinking water, we are on a budget."  The little boy whines "We're always on a budget!"  I had to laugh because I know my kids are thinking the same thing.  We are always on a budget!

I was thinking about  posting some money management tips that I've learned over the past several years.  Whenever people ask me how many kids I have they always make the same sound and look.  You moms of several kids know the says whoa do you handle that?  They usually mention something about kids being expensive.   I know I've learned some great budget stretching tips from other moms, especially my mother(mom of 4 who raised us on nuttin'), and thought somebody could benefit from them.

 1.  If you are a Bible believing follower of Jesus, the number 1 money management strategy is tithe!  That's right, the very best way to make your dollar stretch is to cheerfully give some away.  A tithe is 10% off your gross pay(that is before taxes, before insurance and other deductions).  The Bible commands believers to tithe to their church to make sure that God's work is provided for.  Trust me, if you step out and begin making your tithe the very first thing you do after your check is deposited, you'll see blessings.  When our checks are deposited during the night, the next morning we go to the ATM and withdraw the cash that is 10%.  We keep it in a labeled envelope and take it to church the next Sunday.  If you purpose in your heart to dedicate to God the firstfruits--the very first offering-- and live off the 90% left, He will help you provide for your needs--I said NEEDS--not WANTS!  That is a big big difference!  If you'd like to read more about his I recommend The Blessed Life by Robert Morris.

2.  Groceries and Misc.  This is a huge budget buster if you aren't careful.  I make a list for everything we need and with 3 or 4 easy meals to make.  I withdraw 120.00 cash and head to Dollar General first.  I buy all the drink mix, canned stuff, condiments, cleaning and paper supplies, diapers, deoderant, medicine and such there.  I find that a nice Target or Wal-Mart is a big  trap for me because I see cute clothes, household decorations and such.  So, I avoid those places.  After shopping at the DG, I head to a small grocery store for all our cold items and fruit.  When the cash is gone, it is gone!  There is no more grocery money and we eat what we have.  Yes, we do cheat when we need a gallon of milk, have a severe ice cream craving, or if we are having company over and such.  But, on the whole, this will really help you save cash.

3.  Have a meal planned and ready on Sundays.  The biggest temptation for us to eat out is after church.  We drive 25minutes into the city for church.  When we get out, we are really hungry and have a 25minute drive home.  If we know there is food waiting, no problem. 

4.  I use average billing for our utilities.  I know we really are paying for more than we use at times, but the only way I can make sure and have an accurate budget amount for utilities is using avg. billing.

5.  Resale shops!!  I love them!  Not only are there barely worn, name brand items to buy, but it is a morally good deal.  Buying from stores that sell expensive clothes may be contributing to human trafficking and sweat shops.  When I buy used items, the person who paid full price at the store already contributed to unfair business practices, not me. a little research on sweat shops and human trafficking.

6.  Avoid contentment robbers.  For me, this would be the mall and Target.  I rarely go the mall and never ever do I go there just to stroll.  Seeing other people look hip and seeing sale signs makes my fingers itch to grab the debit card.  For some, driving through new neighborhoods or on car lots.  Just don't go there!

7.  Buy the next year sizes for kids at end of season sales.  Never pay full price for anything.  My mother was the queen of this.  We had  no money growing up(think very tight but lived full lives).  I have a very clear memory of walking into Neiman Marcus one day.  We neeeeevvvvveeer shopped in a store like that!  But, they were having a huge end of summer sale.  I actually got some shorts from Neimans!!  What a thrill.  So, fast forward to today, I love to hit Old Navy and Children's Place in late August and late March for great deals to stash away.

8.  Drive your car til the wheels fall off.  New cars depreciate so rapidly in their value.

9.  Pay cash for everything that isn't paid for online.  Checks take too long to clear the bank and debit cards are so easy to trip you up.  A simple swipe doesn't hurt near as badly as handing over a wad of 20.00 bills.  Yes, it takes a lot of planning ahead to pay cash but it is worth it.  A good book for this is How To Manage Your Money by Larry Burkett.

10.  If we are going to be away from the house for more than an hour and a half, we pack snacks and water bottles.  We are always on the go:  school, football, soccer, church etc.  If we bought drinks and snacks everytime someone said "I'm hungry" we'd go broke(not to mention have bad cholesterol and blood sugar problems).  We always carry around crackers, apple slices, water, popcorn and such.

There ya have it.  A few tips.  Hope somebody benefits from it.  I'd love to hear some tips from others.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Proud momma moment

Before you press play, scroll to the far right side(way down) of my page and pause the music player or you won't be able to hear well.

No, I don't give a rip if my kids go to an esteemed college, score lots of touchdowns, blow the top off of the SAT, win Homecoming queen or king, wear Hollistor or other name brands  and all that nonsense that Satan has tricked Christian parents into wanting their children to pursue.  Seriously, folks, Mike and I win big if our kids 1.  love Jesus  2.  honor their parents  3. love others and have a heart for the poor and least of these.  The rest is bonus.  Carter made his school( he and Abby go to a private Christian school were daddy is principal) praise band playing acoustic guitar.  They led chapel a few days ago and I was totally blown away by the way the teens worship and also their talent.  I was so darn proud!!  Here is a short video clip.  The quality is awful--that would be operator error!  It was quite dark in the worship center so I used my night vision light to see.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Words, words, words

To illustrate what I mean when I say Hudson never stops talking, I did a little experiment.  Last week I brought a notepad along on our daily walk.  I walk and Hudson rides his "bikle" which is a little 3 wheeler that he propels super speedily with his feet--not the pedals!  We were gone a total of 14minutes.  I wrote down the phrases he said and then put tally marks next to the repeated ones.  Not an ounce of exaggeration here guys!

I go fast    4
car coming        3
mommy yay  2
I ride bikle    6
Whoa!    18
choo chool     4
See water
I go that way
water fun     13
I pull it    2
mommy bug   2
I walk     6
come on...home     4

Oh, and unbelievably, he peed in the potty yesterday and today.  This afternoon he said "I go peepee."  I took off his diaper and viola....he did it!  He's just amazing.

AND....for your smile today

I don't know about other states, but here in Texas we are super classy with our advertising.  Some business had a giant blow up sumo wrestler and Mike's brilliant idea was for Abby to have her picture made underneath!

Oh, these boys are a  hoot.

And here are my friends' sweet kiddos loving on me.  Remember me rejoicing when Eva came home from Haiti after the earthquake?  Here she is, doing fabulously, and her brother(they are 3 months apart!)

Speaking of Haiti, I'm working on a post to assist you all with your shopping needs--yep, you know me, it is with a cause!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Got Golf?....for a good cause?

Golf Tournament Fundraiser

Tuesday October 12
Save the Date for the First Annual Give Hope Golf Classic...

Benefiting orphanCare® International and Dillion International®
orphanCare® International is a humanitarian aid program providing funding and services for daily welfare, educational and medical assistance for children in underdeveloped and developing countries.

Join us for a day at the Tribute Golf Club in The Colony, Texas for fun, prizes, and community support to achieve our goal of $20,000.
(214) 893-6324 for info

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Relaxed guidelines for Korea

I'm so happy to see that the family requirements for adopting from Korea through Dillon have relaxed a little.  For a while, the requirements were very very strict and I could rarely recommend people to that program.  So, if anyone is feeling called to adopt a darling little Korean sweetie who needs a loving family, go to  Now, the requirements are still rather stringent and the wait is long, but some of you out there just might be a perfect fit.

Friday, September 10, 2010

working through it

     I don't know, I've been thinking on this post for several days.  Sometimes I think I'm a little too transparent.  My ob/gyn doc called me at work many days ago.  She'd had a chromosome test done on our recently miscarried baby.  It had a genetic defect that is always fatal.  She asked if I wanted to know the gender.  I quickly answered no way!  That would be WAY to personal and painful.  This is an interesting position to be in. 
     So, the baby was destined to die from the minute the genetic pattern was created.  As a strong prolifer, that is a very difficult idea to grapple with.  You see, I believe that only God the Creator can bring forth life.  I'm struggling a bit to understand how senseless this all was. My sweet friend Anjanette told me that regardless of the severe chromosome defect, she believes that when we get to heaven, that child will be whole-running, skipping, playing, healthy, able to run into our arms.  Id like to believe that too, it's a struggle-truth be told.

     In the end, the only decision I must make in all of this is.... do I trust God no matter what?  In church last week  we sang a great worship song that I've loved for the past year(music always speaks loudly to me).  The chorus says
 "So I'll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned,
In awe of the one who gave it all,
 I'll stand my soul Lord to you surrendered,
 All I have is yours."

That is really the heart of the matter, isn't it?  No matter what, I choose to trust in the one who gave His life for me so that I may truly live.  Not one place in the Bible does it promise us easy and carefree lives with health, riches and happiness.  But, over and over and over it promises that when we've placed our faith in Jesus Christ--we have an advocate, a high priest, a true friend, a savior, shepherd to the wanderer, a healer, a king, a father to the fatherless, a husband to the lonely, and much more.  I think I'll keep trusting Him.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy Gotcha Day Hudson

Disclaimer--the maker of has chosen to put this STUPID "adopt a pet" game thing on top of the slide show.  Click the X to make it go away.  And, as a personal pet peeve--adoption is a serious and forever choice--NOT some stupid cyber game with fake animals, or roads, or dolphins---GRRRRRRR!!

On Thursday Sept. 9th, we flew home with a toddler who was an adorable stranger.  Today he's one of the crew and you'd really never ever guess he's only been home with us for 1 year.  In many ways it seems he's always been here.  In other ways, I still can't believe how the time has flown.  Certainly, this year has been a wild one.  Adopting an almost 2yr old boy from the other side of the world kinda rocks your family's balance for a while and presents challenges :)
He's changed so much.  From a terrified, unruly, very babyish little boy who didn't know how to eat real a super duper smart, funny, party animal kid who never ever ever stops talking or singing!!

I must say a HUGE thank you to our family and friends for praying, for donating money to help with his adoption fees, to the Murphy family for your steadfast prayers, to Dillon International--you guys are not just a fabulous adoption agency, but truly our extended family.  And finally, to our Almighty God for putting the orphan on our heart, for saving Hudson Lee just for us, for enlarging our tents and giving us increase!!!  So, 4 kids--I "think" we are done.  Who's next--wanna jump in on this blessing???

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Scary reaction

We were at a friend's home for a birthday party with the kids.  We swam, played outside, ate hamburgers and cake and watched her opened presents.  Hudson suddenly began itching and his left eye swelled up.  Then he broke out in red hives.  We thought it was ant bites at first but he had large red whelps all over and his eye was getting bigger.  Then he began coughing.  We gave him some Benadryl and Zyrtec and quickly drove home.  By the time we got home he was coughing and wheezing pretty badly.  Thank the Lord, I always keep extra children's oral steroids in our cabinet.  Lord knows it has saved us many a trip to the ER with our kids breathing issues.  We stuck him in a cool bath and gave him a breathing treatment.  What a blessing to have modern medicine.  He cleared up and was 100percent better!!  Whew, another trip to the children's hospital avoided and best of all he was fine.  But, the scariest part is that we have no clue what he  had an allergic reaction to.  I was thinking a plant or bug, but Mike thinks it was an ingredient in the cake since that was what he ate right before the reaction.  How do we know what to avoid?  Everything we ate tonight he's had before unless there was something new in the cake.  I guess I'll get the recipe and investigate.  Hmmm, so do I carry Benadryl with me all the time?  Poor sweet baby boy.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Hole In Our Gospel

Yep, new book!!  Yipppeeee.  You know I love reading challenging books.  Books that make you really question what you think is right, make you examine your heart and life, make you think outside the box.  Here's another one....The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Stearns.
Basically, the author was a successful(in the world's eyes anyway) and rich guy, living the American Dream.  Then, God called him to be the president of World Vision.  Amazing story.  His heart was shattered when he traveled to a village in Uganda and met a 13yr old orphaned boy who was the head of his household, taking care of siblings with no parents--they died from HIV/AIDS.  Did you know there are 12million orphans in sub-Sahara Africa????   Anyway, this book totally speaks to my heart.  Here is how he sums up the way most of us live out the famous passage in Matthew 25 when Jesus says that whenever the people feed the hungry, clothed the naked, invited the stranger in....they were actually doing those things to Jesus.

For I was hungry, while you had all you needed.  I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water.  I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported.  I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes.  I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness.  I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved.

Haven't finished the book yet but I'm plowing through it pretty quickly.  I'll keep ya posted.