Long Road to China - Our Adoption Story

Trustmark National Bank account set up:

Donations can be made nation wide at any Trustmark National Bank through the account:
Phillip Smith or Niki J. Smith's Adoption Account

If you would like to mail a donation, please mail it to
Phil or Niki Smith
P.O. Box 332
Rienzi, MS 38865

Monday, September 19, 2011

If you love someone, you let them go. If they don’t return, they weren’t a Boomerang!

How many times how we heard the saying?  Well, it’s not exactly as mine, but you all know it.  If you love someone and let them go, but they don’t return was it REALLY Never meant to be?

You love your dog but live in an apartment.  You couldn’t provide the adequate room for it to run & play - would you give it away?  If you did and it didn’t return to you, was it never meant to be your pet?  Didn’t you let it go because you loved it and wanted better?   No, a dog isn’t someone but keep following my random thoughts.  Maybe there is some kind of point in here somewhere, but who knows with my gibberish. 

If you love (_____) and let it go, but it didn’t return. Was it never meant to be???

What about when I loved my grandmother/father, etc. and I had to let them go?  I think we can probably all agree that doesn’t mean it wasn’t meant to be.   For the 12 weeks, I carried my Landon and had to let him go, but I believe he was meant to be.  Even though I had to let them go, I still love them!  As much as it hurts, they will not return to me. 

My daughter’s mother had to let her go…..maybe she couldn’t afford to feed her, maybe she was forced by her parents, husband, etc. or had no choice for any unknown reason.  If my GiGi doesn’t return to her biological mother, was it never meant to be?  GiGi will always be my daughter, but I cannot deny the fact that she is only mine because her mother had to let her go.  Does that make me second best?  I hope not!

And I guess I’ve been studying too much Chinese:

The Invisible Red Thread 
"An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break." 
 -Ancient Chinese Proverb

I think that we have so many red threads, whether it is the pet you let go, the love you let go, the loved one that passed before us, the child we never met, or anything you wish to fill in the blank.   I think that we were supposed to cross paths with these people and that we are connected together.  No matter how tangled or far they go, we are still connected in some way. 

Have you ever thought about standing in God’s shoes and putting yourself in the blank? 
God:  I love (name).  He/she loves me and I let him/her go…………..
Do you think He ever thought about what would happen when He let us go and gave us free will?   God gives us all free will and has let each of us “go” to live our lives as we wish.  He could have made us puppets, but we have choices.  He didn’t let us go because He did not love us.  He sacrificed everything to be with us!  He let us go, but what we do is our choice!  He loves each of us and wants each of us to return to Him!  For the ones that chose not to return to Him, my heart breaks, but that doesn’t mean you weren’t meant to!

When you love someone, you may need to let them go.  All will not return.  No matter if they return or not, you still love them.  If they don’t return, I believe you were supposed to meet – it was meant to be!  With some, you know they will never return to you.  With some, we may never know when or if paths may cross again.  With some, we may be privileged enough to visit even if they don’t return as we had hoped.  However, I believe the red sting will not break nor stop the love!

If you love someone, you let them go.   If they don’t return..................................  you still love them and want the best no matter how much it hurts, but to me that doesn’t mean it wasn’t meant to be!
Think about my rambling for a bit……what do you think?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Half-Christian Philosophy

I realize that this post should be much longer because it sorta touches on a subject that is hard to relay in a few sentences. Since Niki and I have started this journey, we have made mention that this was God's calling for us. It is our small way in which he can use us to make this place more like the kingdom in which was written about long ago than the state of affairs that confront us today. I have pondered a thought and tossed it around in my head for a long time. It has lead me to a conclusion that is difficult to express without upseting the apple cart, but in our (Niki and I) brief peroid of this journey, I have discovered that it is the people that you would expect the least from are the people that will support you the most. These are the people that don't have the financial means to give, but they do their best to help you. They don't mind letting you know that what you are doing is making the word a better place. They will tell you their stories that intertwine with the road you are on. They really get the concept of "love your neighbor as you love yourself". What amazes me is not that these people understand the foundation of Christiantiy, but they do so in a way that should make us "Church" folks ashamed. We get so rapped up in the dogmatic principles of the behavoir of Christians that we don't even realize that we are "playing house" with the Kingdom that Christ gave to us. We know the right scripture. We are sure that we have one for everything that we do to worship God, but we let the concept of serving the least among us fly right over our heads. So you tell me who is better off, or who is more pleasing to God. Is it the person that can cite every verse as to the proper worship on Sunday morning,but has no compassion for his fellow man (and I am talking about a compasion that acts and is not stangnant) or the person that might be ignorant of the "five acts of worship", but will open his heart to the lest of us? During this strange and stressful journey, I have met many folks. Some of whom I'm sure that have a much different take on the Holy Scriptures than I have. Some have lifestyles that are not in line with the Bible. Some don't even know that Christ died for us to set us free from sin. Some I'm not even really sure what they believe- much less what they do in their daily walks of life. But, there is definately a group of people out there that will help you when you need a lift. They stop on the side of the road when some one is in need. They interact with the "poorest" members of their congregation. They are the first in line to give whatever they have to someone who is is need. They understand the meaning of loving your neighbor as you love yourself. They see no distinction in the social classes. They are just there to help. These peope act like Christ, even though they don't even really know him. They have so little to give, but they give all. We often feel contempt for them because they live a life that contradicts our ideal, but they are the ones that will give of their time and money to help a cause they feel is worthy. Are they (in their sin) somehow supposed to be worse off than the person that does "the book, chaper, and verse" and pats you on the head and says that they hope everything works out for you in your struggle (and does nothing)? I can't really answer that question, but it seems that they are sorta on equal ground. Over the last few months, I have been a observer of people. I have made a conscience effort to pay attention to the world around me. I think that a situation which has been occuring the past few days will pretty much sumarize what I am hopeing to convey. A strange looking "homeless" man has been traveling hwy 45 for the past few days. He seems to make his way through here every year about this time. The other night, Niki and I stopped to talk to him and see if he needed anything. We only talked for a few, brief moments, but in that time period I came to the conclusion that he is probaly half crazy. It is the "uncrazy" side of him that got my attention. He said in essence that materialism distorts our view of Christianty to the point that we fool ourselves into believing we are following God when we are more concered with the toys of this world. In my observation of him over the past few couple of days I found that several people stopped to talk to him. I would suppose that they were trying to give him some food or money. Who knows? But the interesting thing to me was the "type" of people who stopped. I saw about 5 cars stop. None and I mean NONE of the people who stopped were driving cool, stylish vehicles. They were the people that really didn't seem,from all apperances, to have much to give. If you have lived outside of the rock for any length of time,you know the people that will stop to help. (In school) they are usually not the popluar kids. In adulthood, they are not the popular ones. The people that will help you are the ones that know what it means to need help. On our way home from the flea market this weekend, Niki and I were talking. She made a statement that I'm sure will stick with me forever. I believe what she said sums up what I have dicovered on our adoption journey. She stated that she would rather be busting her but at the fela market and scratchin for ever dollar and see the world for what it is than have financial weath and be oblivious to the real world around her. I couldn't have said it better. ~Phil

Friday, September 9, 2011


We will be at the TFM on Saturday and Sunday.  Thanks to an unwelcomed bug we will not be there today.  Hope to see you there!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Nervousness. That strange looking word probably best describes my feelings the last few weeks. My personal code typically dictates that I will be carefree and not allow stress to take over; but, man, it has been one of those weeks!!! Colt fell, hit his head, and had to be hospitalized. The doctors ran a CT, EEG, and MRI (everthing came back ok, but he still suffered a concussion and is having to deal with all of the fallout from that- dizzyness, headaches, mood-swings, etc.) Macy Jade has a sinus infection and feels bad. It is pretty stressful to have on child in the hospital and have to take the other one to the doctor. I totally realize that our woes are small beans compared to what others are going through, but that doesn't make it any less stressful. Niki is sick and trying to keep everything together, running on almost no sleep in 4 nights. All of these things make me nervious and stressed. Another thing lurking in the back of my mind the last few weeks is "what if the whole adoption thing falls through?". Believe me, it happens. I love my little girl and I want to get her ASAP. But really nothing was offical. It was totally up to the Chinese government to accept or reject our family as a suitable home for Gi Gi Dahl. And as I mentioned before they don't have to accept. So much was riding on all of the work done to get us to this point. "Should we have done this differently?" "Do all of the numbers line-up?" "What about the wording of this or that?" I think God knows when we are doubting ourselves and he knows the correct timing and order of critical things. I have felt all along that this is our calling and we are following his will for us and on Wednesday Niki got an email from the agency. CHINA RECOGNIZES OUR FAMILY AS THE ADOPINING FAMILY OF GI GI DAHL!!!! Friday, we opened the mailbox to find a packet that on the front page read: Congratulations on your new daughter! At that moment peace filled my soul. We now must finish some paperwork in the States and will soon get the honor of traveling to China and stand before the Courts and getting our little girl. In a way, I feel that one phase of this journey is coming to a conclusion, but the most life changing is just begining. Please pray for us as we travel on.



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Trivial Pursuits

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness (or Happyness for you Will Smith fans)." These famous words were written by a very famous person, probably a Madison, Jefferson, or Adams (they were all pretty busy around that period of history). These words are forever etched in our memory as the Declaration of Independence. They form the basis of our "Rights" as Amercians. They are pretty important- even if we don't really realize it. The only hang-up I have with this declaration is in the "pursuit of happiness" part (Life, Liberty- no problem). But, I have finally figured out that to pursue being happy is futile. It is "chasing the dragon", or better yet....like chasing a cat. Now I'm a dog guy, but I have always been fasinated by watching cats. A house-cat is like a miniature lion. Watch one. They move the same. They stalk prey the same way. When I was a little kid, we had a couple of cats (Tom and Jerry). The one thing that I remember about them is that when my brother and I would try to catch them to play, they would run away. Cats are like that. But if we left them alone or ignored them and found something more interesting to do, they would be in our face in a second. They liked to play but it had to be when 'they' wanted. Cats like human contact..... on their own terms. Happiness is alot like chasing a cat. When we desire it so much and focus solely on catching it, it becomes all the more allusive. We "chase the cat". We try to find happiness in all the things that are supposed to make "us" happy. We get a great job with the great education that we have been laboring on. We work harder and longer to chase the dollar, because this will make us happy.....right? When I ask my students at school what they most want out of life, the answers vary a bit but, they are all pretty much "I want to be happy" (even if they don't realize THAT is what they are saying). They say stuff about being a ______ (fill in the blank with any profession that makes over 100K a year). They talk about cars and having a great house and finally getting to make their own decisions, etc. We as adults do the same. We want so much to discover what will make us happy. We read books, go to seminars, get promotions at work, a bass boat, 4 wheeler, a tan, lose 20 pounds, a pair of Keens, pecks, abs, Lucky jeans, a girl's night out, a boy's night out, a smart-phone, a dumb girlfriend, but we stilllllll aren't really any happier than when we began. These things can be fun and who in the world doesn't like to have a good time??? I basically act like a 12 year old most of the time and it is GREAT (for me!) But these things don't bring happiness. Not the happiness that leads to a fufilled life. Not the happiness that we long for so much. We look, but we never seem to find that true inner peace. We find things that satisfy for a while, but boredome soon takes over. If our car has leather seats, we soon want "heated" leather seats. And so it goes with the "Pursuit of Happiness". But during this adoption process I have learned a "really big" (as David Lipe would say) truth: When we try to persue what will make "us" happy, we eventually nose-dive. But when we forget about "us" for a while and find something more interesting and important to do, happiness (like the cat) will soon be in our face. The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Christians at Phillippi- "Each of you should look not only at your own interests, but also the interests of others (Phil 2:4). He was basically telling them that "they" weren't the only ones to be concerned with. Putting yourself and what makes "you happy" first is not the formula for happiness or contentment in life. He went on to write that "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is like to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation" (Phil 4:12). I think this was not only meant to change them, but meant to change us. He (through God) was telling us a little secret that they don't tell you in $230 self-help conferences. If you want to find happiness, stop worring about what makes you happy and give yourself to the service of others. Go out of your way to be a servant. We can all do it and everyone's roll is different. It won't gain you points in the social circles and people will never ask for you autograph, but you will find happiness and peace when you forget you are looking for them. Gi Gi Dahl Smith has taught me what it is to be happy. Funny thing is that I've been so busy, I forgot that I was even looking. -Phil

Thursday, August 11, 2011

God is unbelievable!!! We are So excited!!! :0)

Phil and Niki Smith are proud to announce that they are zealous parents of an 18 month old girl!!!!!!!!  :0)
What can I say, but WOW!  God is so Great at all times, but we are in awe of Him right now!  Our entire family is SO happy!  Her name is GiGi Dahl (silent h - pronounced Dall; not everyone seems to be familiar with this name) Smith.

GiGi is 18 months old and was abandoned when she was 5 month old in the bathroom entrance of a plaza.  She has been in the orphanage since. She has been diagnosed with Scoliosis and is missing a few ribs.  Dr. Marta (our pediatrician) says her scoliosis is moderate.  LeBonheur Children's hospital (about 1 hour from us) specializes in this and does a surgery with titanium rods for children with scoliosis. And every 4-6 months, the rods have to be lengthened since children grow so quickly.  GiGi also may have to have a titanium rib placed, but we will really not know exactly what all she will need until she gets here to the U.S. They sent x-rays and pages of medical information, but until a doctor her can see her and look at x-rays done here they don't know for sure.

GiGi's diagnosis is a little more than we had originally planned on taking with a child & we were going to adopt 2 children with one trip. After many, many prayers GiGi is our child! Since she will possibly  have several surgeries a year, we will  not adopt another child at this time due to time and possible extra finances associated with her medical. I know not everyone understands why in the world we would adopt a child with medical conditions like this and it's not for everyone. A lot of people praise us for what we are doing, but we honestly don't see it as that big of a deal to adopt a child like GiGi. She is our child  and we all take care of our children. It's not exactly a choice and sure you want your kids to be healthy in all ways, but it is our calling and she is our baby girl. We have been blessed with 2 biologically beautiful healthy intelligent children and now blessed with a child born in our heart!  We always wanted to adopt a special needs child that can lead a normal life with the needed medical intervention -> surgery/medicines/therapies/etc. that we can provide for her. This child will be no different than Colt and Macy Jade are to us  now with our love, care, etc..  Did I mention  - We are all excited! 

We still have to get all our information translated in Chinese and wait on approval from the Chinese government to invite us to come get her. This is the HARD part! How do we leave OUR child in an orphanage for months? It breaks our hearts!!!  Colt and Macy Jade cried for her!   However, we knew that we would have to wait on her when we started the road to adoption and it's not in our hands!  Our adoption agency told us that it would likely be 3-6 months before we travel to China to get our GiGi angel once our Dossier is completed - we are so close to being there!  PLEASE PLEASE pray for GiGi!!!!  We cannot stand the thought of our child in an orphanage, but we have no other choices!

I'm so very proud of Colt and Macy Jade!  They were the very first ones to claim her as "ours".  Macy Jade came to me asking about her baby sister.  I tried to explain that at that time we were still in prayer to make sure she was our child.  Colt overheard and demanded she was his baby sister too!  I think this was the answer to our prayers speaking the loudest!  They had never claimed any other child as "their sibling".   They immediately loved her as they do each other even with only seeing her picture!  They talk about her all the time and pray for her each day!  Macy Jade has asked for a Chinese babydoll for her birthday.  She said it would be her GiGi until we were able to physically get her!  Macy Jade explained how she would take this baby doll around and sleep with her to feel closer to GiGi!  They are amazing kids and I know GiGi has wonderful role models to follow in their footsteps!  She is going to be so rotten! 

I think GiGi will fit in perfectly with our family! I've never seen our kids so emotional and immediately in love as they are with her! They HAD to have a picture where they were on the page and GiGi was on the page so they cut and pasted picture of them and GiGi on a page.  I cannot post pictures of her on the web yet until we get clearance from the adoption agency.  Her little face is just precious; we love her so much- of course we do; she is our child! Macy Jade said "Oh mommy she has my nose!" :0) How could she NOT be our child??? We love her; we love her; we love her!!!!!  Praise be to God!  THANK YOU! and Thank you to all of you for all of your prayers!  Please continue to pray; we would LOVE to have GiGi before the year is over!  What better Christmas gift????

I wanted to share to you all our excitement!  Thank you for all of your support!

Love In Christ!

"Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.  But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.  And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence."

Matthew 19:13-15 (KJV)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Talking the Talk

For all of you young, willing writers out there: I have but one piece of advice (this is more or less what they will tell you at every writing conference, in every writing book, etc.). Writing is a verb. Seems simple doesn't it. Every school-kid knows that "writing is a verb". This verb is often confused with the "talking" verb. They seem so different, don't they? Ask any elementary (or high school or graduate class) what they had rather do- write or talk- and I'd be willing to bet that, given the choice, most (as in 100%) would lean toward the talking option. It is alot more fun. But even the serious student of writing has this confusion from "day one". They will most always blend the "writing" in with the "talking". What does this mean? For even the most passionate novelist in training, writing is often talking. Most folks get pretty skilled at telling you (and definately, other writers that share the same passion) what they "are going to write". It is really fun. You talk about the books that you are going to write, the songs you are going to write, the screenplays you are going to write, the articles you are going to publish. You talk about the mood of your novel, the writers you admire, what is lacking in the movies that are at the cinema, your theory on why a certain type of story has been closed out by the main stream, why music stinks today compared with the poets of long ago. But in the end it all amount to a bunch of talking and not much (if any) writing. Converstation between friends fades quickly and is rarely the stuff of historical significance unless it is written. The written word changes everything. If I had done the hard work and written most of the things that I had talked about writing, volumes would be in my collection. It might not be great, but it would BE (as in exist). Talking is great. The majority of my personal break-throughs have come by my talking with a trusted friend, but they have been just that- personal. They have not really benefited society. There is a distinct difference between changing my mind and changing "things". It is probally at this point that you (if you have not fallen asleep) are asking yourself "what in the world does this have to do with this whole story I'm following!"" I'm not some girly poet. I don't need a seminar on geek stuff."

But I have sorta noticed that "doing good" (or charity) is alot like what I've been talking about with the "writer's delima". Have you ever said (something like) if i had a million dollars like Brittney Aguilera, I'd build a hospital or really afordable coffee shop? It is fun to talk about the thing we "would" or "are going to do" if we had tons of cash; but a hospital probaly cost a good bit of money( even if we had a million or so) and while most us haven't developed a lean because of the weight of our wallets, we have more than a few dollars to rub together, but yet a few bucks in the coffers of the homeless is totally out of the question (let's hear it for run on sentences!!!! Faukner fans....anyone?.....anyone?)

Point I'm trying to make is that it is easy to talk about the good we are going to do, the lives we are going to change, the books we are going to write, the person we are going to help- it's a whole different matter in the actual doing of our grand deeds. The doing is HARD, seriously, it is hard. I struggle with this stuff everyday. I dream of making my mark on the world. I wan't to leave this place a better place, but man, Judge Judy is really letting them have it!!!!!!!!!! Where was I? It is really easy to get distracted.

Think about it.


Friday, August 5, 2011


O.k. we need some major prayers!  Yesterday right in the middle of the horrific storm, I get a call from our adoption agency.  They had a 'possible' referral for us; she said they weren't sure because the little girl was a little older (1 1/2) and that she had scoliosis (this was something we marked as we might be willing to take a child with this diagnosis). The reason we marked "might" is because we only have entrances to our home with many steps & any diagnosis that would affect lower extremities and possible mobility could be a potential problem with our house.  Ramps cannot not be built up the steps because they are very steep and the others are winding.  To get to the back, you also have to go up steps.  The only option is to have a drive way cut around our house and make a new entrance in the back.  I'm definitely not opposed to this, but with the fees of adoption, it's not an option we could afford to do for a long time.  We've talked to several people over the years about having this done, but they said it would cost a lot. {If you remember our steps are the reason our social worker couldn't visit until she got off crutches.}  Scoliosis has varying degrees of curvatures. I actually have scoliosis, but it doesn't really give me any problems because it is mild.  However, it can be much more sever and require multiple surgeries, braces, etc.  They also do not know if she has a tethered spinal cord and she is missing ribs.  Some of this might scare people to death, but none of the conditions scare me; ALL kids need love!  At the same time, we have to be able to provide the best care (and I believe that includes our dwelling).  We requested children with mild-moderate disabilities because we have 2 children already and hope to get 2 more in a single visit to China. 

My heart is so heavy and we are filled with so many emotions!  She is precious and I want her to be the right child, but did you hear that? "I"  More than what "I" want though is to adopt the child God has made for us!  And my mind races thinking "What will happen to her if we don't adopt her?"   This is a very stressful decision for us!  We have taken all the files/information to our doctor to look over and we hope she can give us a clearer picture of the severity and possible long term challenges.  I ask of all our faithful prayer warriors to pray for us and for this child!  We can always depend on you!  Much love to you all & I will let you know as soon as we hear something or decide something. Thank you in advance!  Blessings

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

We have a job to do today!

O.k.  we have a duty today and I challenge everyone of you to go and VOTE!  I have not gone yet but will be going this afternoon.  I know I've been guilt in the past of not voting, but as I get older I understand the importance and responsibility we have in this matter!  It's our right as Americans and also our jobs as Christians to get the best leaders in the jobs!  I've also felt that one vote isn't going to matter, but guess what would happen if everyone operated that way?  I have the same feeling for a lot of other matters that can be changed if we all work together.  We could all say, I cannot alone make a difference for the orphans, 3rd world countries, etc., BUT what if Nobody did anything?  We all have our parts to play and together we can all make a difference - your part counts!

I've also been guilty of not voting because I didn't do my "homework" or voted and didn't know the candidates.  AND I've been guilt of not voting in the past because I said that I didn't feel anyone was qualified.  NONE of those are excuses not to vote!  In Alcorn County we have some WONDERFUL people running for offices!  I know some personally to be awesome honest Christian people and some I've meet at one of 2 of the speakings we attended.  Not voting because you feel there is no one worth voting for is not a reason at all and ESPECIALLY  in today's election.  I'm very proud of some of the candidates running!  We need good Christian leaders that will help and support our community.   Thank you to the wonderful Christian leaders that have stepped up to run for an office; we appreciate you!

We also have another job to do today (and everyday) -- PRAY for them!  Pray for our leaders!  No I don't think that all of the people in elected officials across the US are wonderful Christian people, BUT they are our leaders and we need to Pray for them and that they will make the right decisions!  It's commanded of us so Go do your jobs and HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!  :0)

 "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty."
(1 Timothy 2:1-2)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Update & Lots of folks needing prayers

Time just does not slow down!  First, I want to thank everyone that came out Saturday and supported us at the area speaking!  We enjoyed each one of you that came by to speak to us!  Thank you for all the emotional & financial support!  I know this is not a buying time of the year, but many of you purchased & many of you are coming back for Christmas gifts.  I cannot stress enough how much all the prayers, support, & encouragement means to us!  Each one of you have been very special!  Thank you & thank you for coming Saturday.  

On Saturday, I had a few very nice people say to me that they hoped we were able  to bring our children home.  I didn't know what the first person meant by it.  By the second time, I realized that people were meaning they hoped we would raise the funds.  When I realized what they meant, I clarified that we  would bring our children home!  I didn't take any offense to these kind people at all, but took it as a very kind wish of encouragement!  They were extremely kind and were being very nice, but we want you all to know that no matter what it takes, we will bring our children home.  And we would love to oneday help others bring home their children - one more happy family, one less orphan! (0:  Money should not be an object when you are getting this kind of payoff & we will always support & help others that are trying to rescue  & make an orphan part of their family!

This is a mission from God & not necessarily an easy one, but we will follow His will no matter what it takes.  We feel blessed, honored,  and excited that we have been chosen to parent more kids!  Someone said kinda kidding "Did God come talk with you & Phil one day?"  Well, actually yes & no.  He did not physically appear in our kitchen and talk to us, but we have been listening to His words and asking Him to lead us.  I believe if we ask then stop and listen, God will nudge you in the right directions.  I know I sometimes ask, but forget to take the time to listen.  I ignored the calling to adopt internationally for a while because I didn't think it was something we were in a position to do.  When Phil spoke with me one night and said he thought we were being called to adopt, chills ran up my spine!  I said "I know; I've been dodging God"  You cannot hide from Him though! lol  We've never felt a calling like this before and unless you have felt something so strongly, you might not understand!  We have a feeling this is just the beginning of many missions He has for us, but we are trying to take it one step at a time. 

Update on adoption:  The social worker came to our house on Friday and I think it went very well.  She is very nice and never makes us feel nervous!  She is a blessing!  We hope to get the last 2 visits in this week so our home study will be complete.  Once we complete the home-study, we can begin the process of having everything notarized, sealed, etc.  Then, the paperwork is off to China to get translated! :0)

Also, we didn't mention it on the internet, but several people knew that we found another little boy on the site over the weekend.  We sent in a message about him, but he had found his home.  It's heartbreaking, but we knew this would happen along our journey.  I'm thankful for many things with this: 1.) I'm very thankful he found his home!  2.) Our prayers were to God that if he wasn't our child then to have a roadblock for us {found a home, we weren't eligible to adopt him for some reason, etc.}  
God again answered our prayers and I'm so thankful!!! 

There are a few people that are really needing prayers at this time.  Terry Smith's wife, Kim, unexpectedly had open heart surgery yesterday.  Most of you from Corinth probably know them.  Phil has always thought so much of Terry; he was Phil's youth minister when he was growing up.  Phil told Terry yesterday we would ask for prayers for them through this difficult time.

Also, I've asked several times for prayers for Ethan Jostad 
but he isn't getting any better.  His family is having an extremely hard time and have asked for prayers from everyone.  I cannot imagine my child being that sick; I pray my blessings for today will go to this family!

Lots of things going on & I thank each one of you for reading our posts and praying for us!  You don't know how very much the support we get means to us!  It helps us get through this grueling process so much better!  I hope you all are having a great week & God bless each one of you!
Love to all, 

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." 
Proverbs 3:5-6

Sunday, July 24, 2011


We all have a story. Everybody. We have "a story of us". Most folks won't have their story made into a movie (not even a Lifetime movie!- though Sara Gilbert could use the work) The Biography Channel probably won't even notice. The vast majority of us will play-out our story and it will be quietly put on society's shelf with the zillion of other biographies placed their to collect dust. And so will be the story of your life. Seems insignificant, doesn't it. You are not all that important in the grand scheme of things. Your actions are fairly pointless.

Sadly, this has been MY attitude for....well...... most of my life. What could I REALLY do? I'm not in a high position of authority. I'm not surrounded by "yes men" all day telling me how cool I am. I don't own a Fortune 500 company. I haven't written an Oscar winner. I can't even find my flip-flops! And I LOVE THOSE FILP-FLOPS!!!

It is so easy to get caught up in the "it is other people's job" to make an impact, that we (I know "I") forget that nothing that happens on God's earth is unnoticed. It is all important. That is the cool thing about life. You are shaping the outcome of things and you probably haven't even noticed. Now, that is a BIG THOUGHT. The challenge comes with the "what will I do with this?"

I love movies. Always have. Ever since seeing Star Wars at the Skylark Drive Inn in the 70's, I have been hooked. I love a good story. I can always get "lost" in the lure of film. They say that the sign of a solid screen-play is that every scene is critical to the conclusion of the film. Have you ever seen a "boring" movie? Sure, we all have. Chances are that the STORY was not boring. Believe me, to get a screen-play made into a feature-length film takes more hoop jumping than a poodle in the Shiner's Circus. The problem, more than likely, lied in the writer putting in scenes that were not critical to the outcome of the movie- or FILLER. Filler is bad! It's main purpose on this earth is to simply take up space- to eat away at the clock! This is the way the movie business works, but this is not the way life works. What we think of as "Filler" is really having a huge impact on the outcome of our life's movie.

Look back on the last 10 years of your life. What happened in your story that did not effect where you are now? Did some things that seemed trite (at the time) determine the course of your history? The chance encounter, losing your cell phone, missing that appointment. Did it all sorta work together to make you who you are now? Entire marriages have been built on a bad cell phone bill (I'll explain later!)

The cool thing about the Bible is that everything that is induced is absolutely critical to the overall outcome of it's message. Some parts seem insignificant, but a real story lies in each passage. A really cool guy opened me to this reality tonight and for that I am eternally thankful. So much of life has passed me by without my notice. Learning and understanding have been at my fingertips all along. I just have not reached for them. Unlike the movie biz, life has no "filler". Life is sorta like an early Eagles album. Each song has legs and could be the career hit of a lesser band. And sure, some days are our "Hotel California" and some other days are our "New Kid in Town"s but they all play a small part in our very being. We don't hit a home-run very often, but, ever move has it's place.

It has taken me until now to realize that the concept of middle ground doesn't exist. The people I meet on a daily basis are either led to do good or led to do nothing (which is BAD!!) by my direct influence. No man is a "neutral" influence. I have entertained this concept in the past, but I have come to the conclusion that my actions will influence someone. If I am not a GOOD influence, I am a BAD influence. The harsh reality is that there are people who never came to know Christ because of my unwillingness to share the Gospel (or Good News of Christ's sacrifice) with them. Some I'll never see again. Some have gone on to meet their maker. Point is, the opportunity is gone. And I bear a portion of the responsibly of where their soul lies tonight.

God is working with the world now, but he is working through US as his children. He doesn't send his "GODNESS" on those he sees fit. It that were the case whose fault would it be for those who never come to know him? He doesn't pick and choose the hearts he works on. He want's all men to be saved, but it is up to us to be his hands and feet while here on his earth. It would be easy to say "its is someone elses responsibility" or God will work on him; But if we are really honest, we know that is not true. If his word is not spread by us then.... It won't be spread. Simple. Critical. It is a big responsibility. And I lothe responsibility. But, it is what we are here to do if we claim to know him. I am not "preaching" to you, I am "preaching" to me. I am in no position to cast a stone. I need to work on ME (as far as I know, that is the only person I have a proof-positive impact on!) I am trying to get my life in a position in which I can make this world a better place.

I know it is often hard to get to the places we feel comfortable given our colorful pasts. We sometimes feel so inadequate. I know that my story is not filled with great chapters that I want the grand-kids to read, but I am concentrating on the words that are written today and learning to make the most of the ones already written. I've been reading the works of a guy that was a murderer in his youth, been in and out of prison most of his adult life, been beated half to death, and been the government's public enemy #1. His life has had a pretty bid impact on me. Matter of fact he wrote a big portion of the New Testament. His name was Paul, and if God could use him, what could he do with us?


Friday, July 22, 2011

'Word of God Speak'

Hello all!  It has been a crazy week - what's new? lol  I'm very tired tonight, but I felt like I needed to quickly update everyone on all that is going on.  We will have the social worker to come out tomorrow for our 2nd home visit.  Please pray all goes well. We are set up for the political speaking at the arena for Saturday.  We will have t-shirts, coffee (yes, we got some in), jewelry, and more.  You can pick up your shirts or purchase shirts there.  Also, I mentioned the coffee.  We drank some this afternoon when it came in & it was so smooth and just delicious!!!  I think you will LOVE it!

Anyone that knows us or has been keeping up with our story knows we miscarried in September. There is not a day that goes by that I don't rejoice and grieve at the same time.   Some days weigh heavier on my heart, but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish we had our Landon!   Recently, I have had a heavy heart.  I'm fine, I just wish our family could unite.  There is a song that means so much to me and always makes me think of our child we never held in our arms but have always love.  One day our entire family will unite and that gives me strength!   'Homesick' by Mercy Me is a song that is very special to me!  This group is so talented and we love their songs!  Another song I've been listening to during this journey is 'Word of God Speak'.  It's hard not having our baby that should be almost 4 months old.  I don't always understand God's ways, but I don't have to; my role is to follow.  I trust my God and will follow where ever He leads!  We are an extremely blessed family!  I am so thankful God gave me one of the best husbands and we can share our time here with 2 of the best children.  I cannot wait until we expand our family and meet our new children!  God is good GREAT!   He has blessed us in many ways & I trust Him!  Where He leads I will follow!

"Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know."
Jeremiah 33:3

Love In Christ,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"He Reigns"

Love this song!

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:11 

I LOVE the way this song brings out nations other than ours in the first verse!  I think this is exactly what was meant in Philippians - EVERY tongue!  

If you have not heard this song, you need to hear it!  What a comfort to know "He Reigns"!  It always encourages me & makes my day better!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

PIF Rules

O.K. I took a gander at our following list for our blog and no else has signed to follow our blog  so can I figure:
No one wants to PIF?
No one wants my PIF?
I'm just going to guess that no one wanted to get ahead in the game.? lol

Rules are as follows
1.)  You will not know what I'm giving you until you get it.  Hey, a smile is giving someone something so don't expect a new house! lol  You may or may not like it.
2.) I have 2 weeks to complete my PIF obligations and the person I PIF to has 2 weeks to complete their PIF obligations.
3.) You need to follow us on our blog on blogger (NOT just Facebook)
4.) The first 5 comments on our BLOG  will get a PIF from me. (0:
I will contact you today or tomorrow for an address.

See that's not hard is it?
What is a PIF?  Anything kind act done for another.  It can be helping someone with their kids,  mowing a yard, buying food for someone in line, and the list could continue.  This PIF does NOT have to be anything that causes you to spend $.  If you want to PIF that way, great; if not, great - you be the decision maker on your PIF.  

PIF acts do not have to be shared unless you want to for some reason.  This is done on the honor system.  
O.k.  go follow our blog and post a comment on our blog so I can feel better with some PIFs (0;  
SMILE and say Hello to someone -  you never know.......it might just make their day!

LAST Reminder - Only a few hours left for this special:
Buy 3 bags of coffee and get 1 FULL size (13 oz) not for-sale yet espresso for FREE!
(OFFER ENDS TONIGHT for the free bag!)


O.K. so today I feel terrible.  No belly aching here as I'm pretty sure it's just allergies.  However I thought, I want to feel better but I don't feel like getting up and doing something so what can I do to feel better?  

Phil and I have been discussing how we can thank everyone for their prayers, support, encouragement, purchasing of items, & so many nice gestures we've had over our journey.  We had already thought that a prize drawing or something would be great, but today I've decided something a little different.  It's not a new idea, but new for our blog!  

How great do you feel when you do something for someone else for no reason???  The smile and unexpected joy you give to someone?  It makes me feel great to see someone happy when I do for them!  It's easier for me to give than receive!  I've decided that today I'd like to do a Pay It Forward....not one, but 5!  There has been so many unexpectedly nice things people have done for us (I'm not adding them all so please don't think I don't appreciate something that isn't listed...we've appreciated every little {which wasn't little to us!} comment in person, writing, text, etc.)  These are just a few of the very unexpected things people have done over the last couple weeks (in no order of importance):
-a bag without a name was left at our door steps with goodies in it
-a very sweet person brought us some very yummy food out of the blue
-2 people have handed us a donation check
-a very sweet person offered to get a handout to each U.S. Supreme Court Justice about our cause
I've only included 5 above and that is not even close to the nice things people have done to help us get our cause promoted - some have handed out our fliers in their church, schools, communities, and work.  Some have helped to get our shirts sold and then placed big orders.  Others have contacted celebs that they know to get t-shirts to them.  Some have posted our links to our blog and coffee shop on tweets, their facebook, blogspot, shop fronts, and other places in the webworld.  A few people knew they might get some public attention at an event and wore our shirt to help gain more support for us.  O.k. I said I wasn't going to go on and on, but the support we have gotten has been phenomenal!  We say thank you so much but that doesn't seem enough!

I know most all  of us do things for others and never even think about it; however, today I want to start a PIF.  Later, I will post all the details on how this will work.  I will let you know that you will need to "follow our blog" by email to qualify.   See in the right corner, it says "follow by email" - just put in your email, click submit, then confirm your request in your email.  If you do that now, you will be a step closer when I post details tonight.

Everyone please re-post this, tweet this, email friends or whatever you can to get people's attention over the next few hours.  Everyone likes to get something nice even if  it's just a smile to make us feel better!  Let's get as many people involved as we can!  When others are nice to us, it just makes us feel good!  If this goes over well, I'd love to do more things like this over our journey!

Oh and if you love coffee or need special/unique gifts, please don't forget about the special that ends TONIGHT on our coffee site 
Buy 3 bags of coffee and get 1 FULL size (13 oz) not for-sale yet espresso for FREE!  
(OFFER ENDS TONIGHT for the free bag!)

"9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
Galatians 6:9-10  

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Long Road to China - our adoption story: http://ww...

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Long Road to China - our adoption story: http://ww...: "Long Road to China - our adoption story: http://www.justlovecoffee.com/longroadtochina : 'We've posted a link on our blog about our coffee s..."

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Long Road to China - our adoption story: Long Road...

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Long Road to China - our adoption story: Long Road...: "Long Road to China - our adoption story: Long Road to China - our adoption story: http://ww... : 'Long Road to China - our adoption story: h..."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Simplifying - to God be the Glory

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Simplifying - to God be the Glory: "I wrote 2 nights ago about giving the ax to DirectTV to save $. We are trying to simplify more to save $ and I got to thinking what do ..."

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Wait time

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Wait time: "I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Phil has been updating so I've taken the passengers seat the last few posts. We are a team like t..."

Long Road to China - our adoption story: I think we need to get Pinkie fixed

Long Road to China - our adoption story: I think we need to get Pinkie fixed: "So today Colt walks into the room followed by Macy Jade.( The following has not been dramatized for effect) Colt: I think we need to get Pin..."

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Ethan Jostad - Please pray for this child!

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Ethan Jostad - Please pray for this child!: "Please continue to keep this precious child, Ethan Jostad , his medical team, family, and friends your prayers! I know I've asked you ..."

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Areas & times 2 get shirts today & Saturday

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Areas & times 2 get shirts today & Saturday

Long Road to China - our adoption story: http://www.justlovecoffee.com/longroadtochina

Long Road to China - our adoption story: http://www.justlovecoffee.com/longroadtochina: "We've posted a link on our blog about our coffee shop but I've not introduced it to you. I just got a message about a special that is runnin..."

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Long Road to China - our adoption story: http://ww...

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Long Road to China - our adoption story: http://ww...: "Long Road to China - our adoption story: http://www.justlovecoffee.com/longroadtochina : 'We've posted a link on our blog about our coffee s..."

Long Road to China - our adoption story: http://www.justlovecoffee.com/longroadtochina

Long Road to China - our adoption story: http://www.justlovecoffee.com/longroadtochina: "We've posted a link on our blog about our coffee shop but I've not introduced it to you. I just got a message about a special that is runnin..."


We've posted a link on our blog about our coffee shop but I've not introduced it to you. I just got a message about a special that is running on the site so I thought I would let you know about this shop.  Now through Sunday (17th) if you order 3 bags of coffee, you get a FREE 13oz. bag of a not-for-sale-yet espresso.  These coffees are so unique and where else can you find coffee from Africa, Asia, and Central & South America?  Want to give a special gift to a person that has everything?  Well, now you have it!  

Let me tell you alittle bit about how completely awesome this company is for orphans, those of us adopting, and other needs in Africa!  Rob Webb from Murfreesboro, TN started the business after being called to adopt from Ethiopia.  While reading up on Ethiopia, he also learned that Ethiopia was the birthplace for coffee.  Through his experiences, Just Love Coffee was born.  

This company is helping orphanages in Africa and building a school.  Their coffee is 100% Fair Trade coffee which means it is purchased directly from the farmers which helps their families get a fair price on the beans - - higher than standard coffee.  Last month they begin to give 5% of every sale from Just Love Coffee to fund clean water projects.  These are just a few of the wonderful ways they are using their funds.  Another way is letting adopting parents set up a shop on their site.  If you are interested in buying from such helpful & giving business, please visit our shop there http://www.justlovecoffee.com/longroadtochina 

Purchase some for yourself, give a unique gift, share with friends, take to the shut-in, take to a shower/luncheon/etc.......the list could continue on.  While you are enjoying it or giving to another, you can smile knowing that you are also helping others through your purchase! So.....what are you waiting for?  Go now..........http://www.justlovecoffee.com/longroadtochina and purchase the 3 bags now through 
Sunday so you can get 1 full bag for free!  Don't forget to give our shop link to your friends,  family, co-workers, & church families!You can post our link on your blog, website, facebook account, & tweet it --especially this one since I'm not a tweeter yet! (0:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ethan Jostad - Please pray for this child!

Please continue to keep this precious child, Ethan Jostad , his medical team, family, and friends your prayers!  I know I've asked you all to pray for him a 
few weeks ago, but his treatments are not working.  I know I can always depend on prayers from you when someone is in need!  

Ethan's cancer has spread into more bones in his
body over the last few weeks. The chemo did nothing.  
The type of cancer he has is very aggressive and they 
are hoping to try some experimental treatments.  
They are in a fight for their child's life and time is not 
in their favor.  This just breaks my heart and I cannot 
imagine what this family is going through.  I just 
know they definitely need prayers!  If you wish to 
follow him, you can get all his information and follow 
him by face by Facebook or Caringbridge   

Team Ethan Jostad


These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may
have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take 
courage; I have overcome the world.John 16:33

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I think we need to get Pinkie fixed

So today Colt walks into the room followed by Macy Jade.( The following has not been dramatized for effect) Colt: I think we need to get Pinkie (our 4 lb. poodle) fixed. Macy (indignantly): Colt, she DOESN'T even have electronics! 

First of all, Colt doesn't really have a clue about Pinkie going into heat. He parrots what he hears from us. And yes, she does need to go under the knife. We have given him the "parent" version of what is going on. If you are a parent, you know exactly what I'm talking about. We lie to our kids. We do this for a million reasons. Sometimes we lie about what happened to Fido, or give the easy version of what happened to whomever has just died. So truth be told, we lie or omit or glaze over the harsh realities of life. This is understandable. We wan't to protect them from the world and in a sense, preserve their innocence. I think this way of thinking (the not telling the WHOLE truth bit) is not totally without merit. I've been teaching 14 years or so and the students that REALLY crack the code often times sorta just give up. These are usually the loner types- you know, dress in black, play Magic the Gathering, etc. When they figure out that when they get in trouble the crap is going to hit the fan, but its a different story when betty sue- my parents own this way cool business-popular gets caught in a pickle, they start seeing the world through jaded eyes. They seem to reach reality and adulthood a little bit before the rest of the pack. So, what is best? I've tossed this one around for years, but never really understood it until I had kids. The lies we tell are meant to do only good, but I've come to realize that there is some point at which we are doing the youth a disservice by perpetuating the "cocoon" effect. We sorta forget to tell them everything and (along with a constant dosing of self-confidence booster) before long we have a bunch of 18 year old's that think they can run the world. They don't have a real clue as to the "real" word REALLY operates. We have forgotten to tell them that their judgement is naturally going to stink because they are young and just haven't been around long enough know a lot and its not totally their fault. It's what some would call a Catch 22. See, this whole artificial world that we have created for them makes US feel better as parents, it creates a temporary safety net, but has its drawbacks. When the REAL stuff comes along, do they have the information they need to really make the wise decision? I grew up hearing that drugs were bad. Good lesson. I heard how they can ruin your life and etc, etc. That... is a really good half truth. What nobody tells you is that "they can cause great temporary pleasure, but this pleasure clouds your judgement and older folks with tons more maturity and judgement than you have lost everything because they eventually lost ANY judgement- so what i the world makes you think that you are the exception?- you can't even handle taking out the dog. Pleasure trumps judgement. Always has. So DON'T DO DRUGS. Life will be hard enough as it is." So, before long it is their friends that tell them what getting high is all about (the stuff that was left out of the Just Say No pamphlet) and they lack the knowledge and education to often handle the situation. Past generations didn't operate on the " I'm 18 and smart and can do anything I want" mentality. The pre-industrial folks told them (the young uns) that their judgement was crap and they pretty much understood that they lacked the skills to make it in the world without the guidance of a Yoda. This spawned the apprentice concept. They knew where they stood. Now, this approach is not flawless in the least. If we don't have a little self-confidence we will never REALLY roll the dice. As I have written about before, It is never to early to chart your destiny- to change the world; but, If you have such a warped- Mayberry concept of what goes on out there- what are you really doing? What are you really changing? So what should we be telling the youth of our nation? I don't have the answers, but I know for me I never really found my footing until I started to SEE the world in which God made for us. A 6 year old doesn't need to know every thing that goes on in Darfur, but if we want to change the world we need to know the world. A while back, I stepped out of the cocoon that I was living in and started to make myself SEE the world. I'm a creation of God, but so is everyone!! I can no longer pretend that what happens out there is none of my concern. We are all in this thing together- whites, blacks, asian, latinos, you name it. Arbitrary lines drawn in the sand are put there my man. I know it sounds like I'm on a rant, but this isn't a rant. This is just what's going on with me right now. I could sugar coat reality like I do for my kids, but you have grown beyond that.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Wait time

Long Road to China - our adoption story: Wait time: "I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Phil has been updating so I've taken the passengers seat the last few posts. We are a team like t..."

Wait time

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  Phil has been updating so I've taken the passengers  seat the last few posts.  We are a team like that; when one is tired/worn-out/etc. the other one picks up the slack.  Have I mentioned what a wonderful husband I have today?  God has truly blessed me with the best family!  I know we are not completed and He is still working to add more. 

We do not know any new information about the adoption.  We are constantly checking our e-mails to see if we have been matched.  It's hard for me to just wait, but there is nothing else I can do right now.  During this time, I've been very busy trying to fundraise.  Some one asked me the other day why we have started so early since it may be 6-12 months before we leave for China.  It's hard to raise a large lump sum of money all at once.  We want to be prepared and not feel so pressured for the $25,000-$40,000 (this is per child) international adoption fees.  We are saving and doing all we can to  not have any delays due to fiances.  All the fees are not paid at the end, but along the journey.  A bulk part of the financial burden is at the end of the journey, but we still have fees along the way to pay.  They do not let you continue to the next step until you pay the payments.  I know most families have to take out another mortgage on their house, but we do not want to do this until we have to.   No matter what we have to do, we will bring our child home!  This is why we have started so early with the fundraisers.  

Also, during this wait time, I've been trying to read and study; however it doesn't seem too often I have time. lol  I have been reading on adoption, Chinese adoptions, and Chinese culture.  I'm still learning so much new information!  I am reading a book (actually I've started about 3! lol) by Xinran called Letters from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love.  This book will bring anyone to tears!  I'm anxious to read more from this author.  She is a Chinese native that writes many books about China.  I think her information is going to be very productive for me and I'm hoping it will give me better understanding on some issues.  

And of course, during our wait time, our family has been enjoying our time together!  I cannot believe school starts back so soon; it is going to be so strange to me.  Both Colt and Macy Jade will be in school this year and of course Phil will go back to teaching.  This process has strengthened, changed, and grown us so much!  I never new the starting process (even prior to having our other children with us) could change everyone so much!  

Colt is such a sweetheart!  Sunday at church, we sat down from a family with a young daughter.  I thought Colt was going to go sit by her; he kept saying "Look Momma, she is so cute!"  Then that afternoon, we were fortunate enough to run into grandparents that had a 4y/o granddaughter from China.  They showed us her picture and Colt went on and on about how cute she was, how precious she was, and wondering if his sister would look like her.  When we got in the car, he said  that he just couldn't help thinking about his baby brother or sister everytime he saw a baby.  He is just a sweetheart!  Macy Jade was excited too, but Colt was just smothered with love everytime he sees a baby! 

Both kiddos have dentist appointments tomorrow in the morning so we will be in Corinth again tomorrow.  If you want a shirt or have  not gotten your shirt, you can text us at 415-0190 to meet us in town & pick it up.  We will be going by some businesses tomorrow that have ordered shirts and delivering them.  If you work in Corinth and want us to stop by your work for a shirt, please just text us to let us know.  

I hope you all have a wonderful day & if it's as hot in your location as ours (103 today) then please stay cool!  Thank you all for continuing to follow our adventure!  Say a little prayer for us and all our children tonight!  Love you all! Niki

"But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." (NKJV)
Isaiah 40:31

Finding our purpose

So, the other night Niki and I stopped by the Slug-fest. I was interesting just walking around and talking to people. You haven't lived till you have attended a small town carnival. The coolest thing (besides those big blow-up balls with kids in them- if you were there, you know what I'm talking about) was the look of wonder in the kids eyes. They aren't bored like teens and adults. Everyday they learn something new and life is play and play is learning. What in the world happens to us as we mature? I'm no Socrates (I learned to spell his name watching Bill and Teds Ex. Adventure!), but it seems to me like our bodies mature (as we grow into our teens) and we keep on doing basically the same things we were doing when we were a kid. We hang out with friends, play video games, watch TV, etc. The difference between 6 and 16 is that we have sorta maxed out the learning potential from just hanging out with friends. It's not that doing these things is bad, but at 10, give me a backyard, my brother Jeremy Smith, a Red Ryder and I was content for hours. It was an adventure! At 18 we sat around on Shiloh Road and talked about how much we hated this small town. A lot of the wonder was fading with the current situation. It is at this time that people can start working on "difficult" things, but our brains go on auto-pilot. We are totally mature enough to undertake the significant, but we wait for God to throw us a bone. We wait for things to sorta fall into our laps. I see this all the time. My students (this could hold the same for 99.9% of folks) don't realize the impact that working on difficult thing can have on their lives. It is the not knowing of the outcome that creates the tension we need to find ourselves. We like to play a safety, but the not knowing of the outcome creates the same wonder that we had as a kid. It feels good to be the best at something- to
play within our comfort zone. We like to dominate something, but this does not open any new windows to what God wants from us. Everyone knows when they are born, but who among us really finds why they were born? We all have a purpose. Have you ever thought that there is a unique thing that only "you" can accomplish to make this world a better place? Our lives are not an accident. We can all make a difference. But what are the "difficult" things that I'm talking about? It is all about pushing the limits. Reading a novel is easy, writing one is NOT!!!!! Try to learn a new language. Will you be able to do it? Who knows? Who cares!?!!. The important thing is that you tried and the journey will open things in you that your never knew were there by just going through the automated motions of life. Try stepping out on that ledge. It is called Faith. The great men of Faith stepped beyond their comfort zone. Moses was content with his legs under another man's table, eating another mans food, but God had something bigger in store for ole Moses. He had something custom made for him. He has something custom made for me and you, but you can bet that we will both resist. It is only natural. Do you want that same wonder and anti-boredom you had when you were 6, when life was one big Slug-fest? Ask and you will receive- as the good book says. When we started this journey, I was weak and unsure. How will this all end? I really have no ideal? But God has given me new legs and a purpose. If I follow him, I will succeed. That I know. The long road to China is filled with uncertainty, but I know my child is there. And I will find him.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Simplifying - to God be the Glory

I wrote 2 nights ago about giving the ax to DirectTV to save $.  We are trying to simplify more to save $ and I got to thinking what do we really need?  We only have as much as we do by God's grace!  Why are we here and not a homeless, poverty stricken orphan in Africa or any other person?  Honestly, I don't know why God chose us to have all that we as Americans have, but we should be thankful for the simplest things in life.  I'm talking to myself because I'm so thankful for so much that I forget simplicity......food to eat, roof over our head, clothes to wear, etc.  Our children probably pray some of the best prayers when you sit there waiting to eat and they are praying "Thank you God for the sun, rain, doors, rocks, dirt, birds, dogs, cats, sky, grass, (they peek around with one eye and you think they are finishing)......and for the floor, the table, the chair, water, food, and the list goes on and on.  You know those prayers and it's the simplest things that they pray for that we often take for granted.  

We want to be obedient to God's calling and honestly serving Him is the only way to true happiness.  We've all been so conditioned to the  "American Dream" and thinking about what we should have or deserve because we worked hard.  It's alright to turn down the material things we think we need in exchange for seeking God's will - for us it's taking orphans into our home.

God calls us all to care for the orphans and the widows, I do not believe this means He calls us all to adopt  I believe that He does not call all to adopt,  but we can all help out the orphans and widows.  That may mean helping a widow shop, clean,  care for her children - financially &/or emotionally - maybe this would keep her from feeling like she had no choice but to give them up for adoption. It may mean being a support network for an orphan, supporting an organization that cares for orphans &/or widows.  Maybe for you it means helping someone bring their child home.  You can help the widows and orphans with support, your time, and prayers - it doesn't always have to be $ we are called to help with. And for a few lucky ones it means we have been called to bring a child into our home to love as we do all our other children because that is our gift. There are many things people can do to take care of others.

 We do have nice things and I think most people think we have a lot more than we really have financially.  We've always been private and kept things to ourselves, but since we are taking you on our journey, we should bring you into our world.  We've read many, many places on how to save $ to adopt so you don't go broke.  It's kinda funny because I'm so cheap, I could have written most everything I've read and expanded on them! lol  Phil says if something costs $10, I'll find a way to pay $5 for it.......and he is right.  I honestly don't think if I was a billionaire I'd not find a way to save $ on purchases - that's just me!  I've been buying stuff up in bulk when it was on sale, buying for Christmas with clearance items in July, buying off-seasons, & shopping the discount stores even before "saving as much $ as you can on purchases" was the cool thing to do.  

We work hard too and I'm not saying that entitles me to anything - think about how hard the Africans work everyday just to have food and water - I don't think i could ever carry those heavy pottery pieces filled with water on my back.......unless I had to for my family and I to survive!   But my point is that Phil & I learn how to do things ourselves and save lots of $.  When we bought our house, we got a really good price for it and  WE remolded it.  Unless it was something that was structural, we studied up on how to do it and WE did it!  We do that with everything we can.

I don't buy name-brand.....unless I can purchase it on clearance, second-hand & as cheap as anything from Wal-Mart on sale!  lol  Unless it's something I HAVE to have for an occasion that popped up, I don't usually pay full price at Wal-Mart if I can help it - I shop for bargains with food, shampoo, and those type items, but I cannot always pay cheap, cheap prices for those, but I do my best!  However, I almost always buy the cheapest brand....unless it's ketchup and I cannot handle the off brand in it.......yeah, poor me.  lol    

Ladies, Please don't get offended with what I'm gonna say next!   I read about people going to get pedicures or manicures  and there is nothing wrong with that.  But hold your jaw, I've never had a pedicure, massage, and only 2 manicures in my entire life.  2 manicures - our wedding and another occasion I'd completely bitten off my fingernails & was showing jewelry - both of those manicures came from a beauty college and they did a great job! Well, those of you that have ever looked at my hands can probably believe it; I definitely have work hands and that's o.k. with me! lol 

We don't trade vehicles often and have had 3 vehicles since we married - 1 we had no choice in purchasing because we had totaled another vehicle.  We may shop around for a year before we make a purchase like that and we have purchased wrecked and repaired vehicles to save money.  This last vehicle we purchased was strictly because we needed more room.  We've told the kids they had better take care of it because it is going to last until the tires fall off. lol

O.k. you can chuckle at this one too, but no one in the house really goes to get hair cuts but Colt. For Phil, he & I cut his hair with clippers & scissors.  I get maybe 2 haircuts a year from a beautician.  I use to cut Colt's hair, but I cannot make it look right so we pay $10 every 8-10 weeks to get his hair cut.  Why every 8-10 weeks?  Well, because I trim it up around his eyes & ears until it looses it shape.  And for Macy Jade, you guessed it; I cut her hair too.  We may not have the best hair around, but maybe my scissors are the fault of that.  Oh well, it doesn't seem to bother any of us! lol  It's just hair and it grows back.....eventually.  I'm a beauticians worst night mare when I come in to finally get the 4" dead ends cut off of my hair I've been cutting on for 6 months. 

I could go on and on about how we rarely spend full price and about how cheap I am, but I would have a book.  I think you get the idea though.  Yes, some of my cheapness has come out of necessity for staying home for the last 8 years and some of it is I'm just plain ole' cheap!   We can all make sacrifices when it's important enough to us and staying at home was another calling from God so we adapted our lives so I could be here.

The bottom line is GOD DOES PROVIDE!   Nothing here is really ours anyway. When we die we don't take it with us!  The more we get; it seems the more we want!   We just have to take that first step in faith; trust me it's not an easy step!!!  I don't know where the $ is coming from  to adopt our kids and pay all the medical bills, but God knows and I have faith in Him.    I believe we have to use our gifts to help ourselves and to have common sense in spending.  I don't think He is going to just drop down a bucket of $ into my bank account - however that would be nice.   It's about the choices we make, sacrificing (however how is leaving material things off for an orphan really sacrifice?) and just being obedient.  Please don't take this to mean we never do anything, but we decide what is important to us and cut corners to make it happen.  We have been blessed! 

What would you do to bring your child home?  Yes, we are talking about orphans, but one or more of "those orphans" is/are our child(ren) & no different than Colt and Macy Jade to us.  If you had a child in another country, would you do all you had to bring him/her home to you?  We are really doing no different than most others would do for their kids.   We are just ordinary people cutting more corners on things that aren't necessities.  We are fundraising with shirts, sales, coffee,  sitting in the hot sun all day on the 4th of July meeting some of the nicest people.......but it was HOT and any other way we can help raise the $ ALONG with changing our lifestyle too.  We  hope that along our journey, we can also raise awareness and understanding of the situations in other countries, orphans, and on our soon to be multiracial family.   It's not much to ask to get our child(ren) out of a foreign orphanage!  In our house, we are all learning to live without more and I believe we will be happier in the end for itWe have never ever wanted to ask for help, but we will do whatever it takes to bring our child(ren) home - even if it means turning off the DirectTV and humbling ourselves to ask for help!   (0:  

They say money isn't everything, but it sure helps the world turn round.....I know this may seem contradictory to my entire post.  I'm not referring to financial needs for materialistic items.  It takes a lot of $ to adopt internationally and to help these orphans and others less fortunate.   Also, ask someone that has a sick child and getting services denied because insurance will not pay and they cannot pay $30,000+ a month to help save the life of their child.  Alone, we cannot not concur much, but together I believe we could turn the world.  

We are a work in process........To God be the Glory! 

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support!  You have all been a blessing & encouragement to us!  Please continue to pray for us and ALL our children!