Friday, December 31, 2010

Mattie's 90-Day Challenge!

(Note:  This blog entry was scheduled originally to post 12/31/10, but it posted 12/30/10 by mistake, so I removed it and rescheduled it.  You may get this entry twice!  Sorry!)

Mattie is our 12-year-old biological daughter.  She recently read the ENTIRE BIBLE in just 90 days!!!  I hope her testimony will be an encouragement to you.  The way Mattie lives her life has certainly been an encouragement to me.  I was so impressed by Mattie's discipline and diligence with her daily Bible-reading plan.  Most every morning, Mattie was awake earlier than anyone in our home in order to read her daily Bible assignments without being interrupted.  Here is what Mattie wrote about her recent Bible-reading experience:

Sunday, December 26, I finished reading the entire Bible in 90 days. I got the idea from Randy Bohlender’s blog ( He had done it before and talked about it, but I never thought it was possible. Until he started his second time around, then I felt an extreme excitement. I kept telling myself, “No Mattie, you don’t have time. You’re too busy.” But I couldn’t say no to the Holy Spirit’s nudge. So, the next day I started the reading I once thought impossible. On my first day, I felt overwhelmed with the reading. It was 10-20 chapters a day. I really felt like quitting. The days seemed to fly by, until I was on day 80 and it hit me, I have read a ton of chapters a day for 80 days!! Only 10 more, it was possible! Finally, day 90 came around, and finishing climbing the mountain felt great. I learned a big lesson in perseverance. I also gained so much Bible knowledge. My favorite books as of now are Psalms, Esther, John, Romans, Philippians, James, and Revelation. Before this, I never knew the Bible was so action packed and real life. I can relate to almost every story, and I love it! I thank God every day for allowing me the privilege to read His Word freely. We live in a blessed country, don’t we? It’s given me a new passion and love for His Word. If you feel that Holy Spirit, you can sign up at, then click Read Plans, then scroll down to Bible in 90 Days. Be blessed!

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”  1 Timothy 4:12

Selah (age 11 weeks in this photo) enjoyed listening to Mattie read the Bible aloud to her.

And don't forget:
We now have TWO GIVEAWAYS!!!
1.  A sterling silver Boss Your Heart necklace hand-made and donated by Rachael Scott of The Vintage Lane.

2.  A limited edition Boss Your Heart book signed by Lorraine.

If you want to be entered in the GIVEAWAYS (a copy of the limited edition Boss Your Heart book), be sure to do one (or more) of the following things by midnight TONIGHT, 1.1.11:
On January 1 at midnight, one person will win a Boss Your Heart book (the limited edition) and one person will win the Boss Your Heart necklace donated by Rachael.  You'll get one entry in each giveway for doing any of the following things (one entry for each "share" you make):
  • Leave a comment here (go to the linked post and leave a comment there) to let me know you're joining the Boss Your Heart Bible Challenge 2011!  (This post also has a variety of Bible reading plans for you to choose from!)
  • Join the Facebook Boss Your Heart Bible Challenge 2011 group.  Click HERE.
  • Share, SHARE, SHaRe!!!  Encourage others to join the Boss Your Heart Bible reading challenge by sharing this on your blog/facebook/twitter/email, etc.  You'll get 1 entry for each method you share!  (Tell me how many times you shared it by leaving a comment on this post.)  Let's work together to invite people around the world to "Boss Their Hearts" in 2011!!!
  • Place the Boss Your Heart button/badge on your blog!  (You'll find the button and codes by clicking HERE.)
Remember, the first day of Bible reading begins TODAY, but it's never too late to Boss Your Heart! 
 Join up anytime, but you only have until 11:59PM on January 1, 2011 to be eligible for the giveaways!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another Giveaway!!!

We now have TWO GIVEAWAYS!!!
1.  A sterling silver Boss Your Heart necklace hand-made and donated by Rachael Scott of The Vintage Lane
 (Thanks Rachael!!!)

2.  A limited edition Boss Your Heart book signed by Lorraine.

If you want to be entered in the GIVEAWAYS (a copy of the limited edition Boss Your Heart book), be sure to do one (or more) of the following things by midnight 1/1/11:
On January 1 at 11:59PM, one person will win a Boss Your Heart book (the limited edition) and one person will win the Boss Your Heart necklace donated by Rachael.  You'll get one entry in each giveway for doing any of the following things (one entry for each "share" you make):
  • Leave a comment here (go to the linked post and leave a comment there) to let me know you're joining the Boss Your Heart Bible Challenge 2011!   (This post also has a variety of Bible reading plans for you to choose from!)
  • Join the Facebook Boss Your Heart Bible Challenge 2011 group.  Click HERE.
  • Share, SHARE, SHaRe!!!  Encourage others to join the Boss Your Heart Bible reading challenge by sharing this on your blog/facebook/twitter/email, etc.  You'll get 1 entry for each method you share!  (Tell me how many times you shared it by leaving a comment on this post.)  Let's work together to invite people around the world to "Boss Their Hearts" in 2011!!!
  • Place the Boss Your Heart button/badge on your blog!  (You'll find the button and codes by clicking HERE.)
Remember, the first day of Bible reading begins January 1, 2011, but it's never too late to Boss Your Heart! 
 Join up anytime, but remember, the drawings for the necklace and book will be at 11:59PM on 1/1/11!

Boss Your Heart Bible Challenge 2011, Plus a Giveaway!

It's a New Year!

"Boss Your Heart" into a New You!
You're invited to join the
Boss Your Heart Bible Challenge for 2011!

If you aren't familiar with Chrissie's "Boss Your Heart" story, please click HERE to read about it.  Chrissie bossed her heart and taught many people around the world the importance of bossing their hearts, too.  But, if we don't know what God's Word says, we could boss our hearts down a very dangerous path!  In order to boss our hearts into submission/alignment with where God wants our hearts to be, we must know what His Word says.  The Bible says our hearts are deceptive; therefore, it is imperative that we hide His Word in our hearts.  God has designed our hearts with a hole in them that can only be filled by Him, and by reading His Word daily, we will begin to truly know Him, to know His Word, to understand His will, to fill the void that's intended to be filled by our loving Father.  As we devote daily time to reading His Word, we will begin bossing our hearts in Chrissie fashion, into submission with our Father's Word and His sovereign will.

The challenge begins January 1, 2011. 
There are lots of ways to join this challenge, and lots of ways to successfully complete this Bible-reading mission! 

If you'd like some help with picking a Bible reading plan tailor made for you, here are some options:
  • Simply pick your Bible reading plan HERE!  This is a great app to download to your phone, iPad (iPod, iTouch, etc.), and any other tech gadget so that you can have access to your Bible reading plan at all times!  Pick from a variety of plans such as read the Bible in a year, read the Bible in 90 days, topical Bible reading plans, devo style name it, there's a plan for everyone on this site!  You can even restart if you get too far behind and need a do-over or you can adjust the schedule if it's not working as well as you would have liked!  Here are the plans you can choose from on this site...all are customizable:
  • YouVersion (the source for the plans listed above) also has a Facebook page.  Click HERE to "like" it!
  • Here's another source where you can sign up to read the Bible in a year, have them email you a daily assignment (love that!), plus choose what style you'd like from classic to chronological and a few other varities.
  • Bible Gateway is another online source for accessing the Bible in almost every language!
  • A lot of Bibles have a one-year reading plan as well, so you might prefer to pick up your Bible and follow the reading plan that it offers.
  • And, of course, let's not forget about the precious leadership of the Holy Spirit!  Perhaps the Spirit's been whispering a plan to you to lead you through God's Word through 2011!  Dive in!
I've started a Facebook group for those who would like to "sign up" there to join the Facebook Boss Your Heart Bible Challenge 2011 group!  Just click HERE to join the Facebook group!

On January 1 at midnight, one person will win a Boss Your Heart book (the limited edition).  You'll get one entry in the giveway for each of the following things:
  • Leave a comment here (on this post) to let me know you're joining the Boss Your Heart Bible Challenge 2011!
  • Join the Facebook Boss Your Heart Bible Challenge 2011 group.  Click HERE.
  • Encourage others to join the Boss Your Heart Bible reading challenge by sharing this on your blog/facebook/twitter/email, etc.  You'll get 1 entry for each method you share!  (Tell me how many times you shared it by leaving a comment on this post.)  Let's work together to invite people around the world to "Boss Their Hearts" in 2011!!!
  • Place the Boss Your Heart button/badge on your blog!  (You'll find the button and codes at the end of this post.  Leave a comment here to let me know you put it on your blog.)

Remember, the first day of Bible reading begins January 1, 2011, but it's never too late to Boss Your Heart! 
 Join up anytime!

Make it a "Boss Your Heart" New Year,
and  a "Boss Your Heart" New You!


To get one of the following buttons, copy and paste the code into a blog post or into an blog sidebar gadget (pick an "HTML gadget" on Blogger) or widget (pick a "text widget" on Wordpress).

Code for a 200 px wide button:
<div align="center"><a href="" target="_blank"> <img border="0px" src=""/> </a><br><a href=""><font color= "#C12283"><font face="arial"><font size="4">Grab This Button!</a></font></font></font></strong></center>


Code for a 180 px wide button:
 <div align="center"><a href="" target="_blank"> <img border="0px" src=""/> </a><br><a href=""><font color= "#C12283"><font face="Arial"><font size="4">Grab This Button!</a></font></font></font></strong></center>

Code for a 160 px wide button:
<div align="center"><a href="" target="_blank"> <img border="0px" src=""/> </a><br><a href=""><font color= "#C12283"><font face="arial"><font size="4">Grab This Button!</a></font></font></font></strong></center>

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ours Forever

Today, December 29, 2010, a judge in Texas declared three of our lovies to be official, legal, and forever members of our family!  We give all glory to God for delivering these precious blessings to our family!  And many thanks to our amazing social worker and awesome attorney for your generosity in helping our family and for having hearts to help the least of these.

Kiefer Thomas Patterson
Born May 20, 2008 in Thomas, Haiti
Welcomed into our family April 2, 2010
Matt chose the name "Kiefer" (pronounced Kee-fur) and "Thomas" is the place where Kiefer was born in Haiti.  Our boys have a pattern with their names:  2 syllables, ends in -er, is a last name used as a first name (Parker, Sawyer, Asher, Kiefer), so we try to stay within that pattern when selecting a boy's name.

Ella Hope Patterson
Born January 12, 2005 in the USA
Welcomed into our family November 23, 2010
"Ella":  Shining Light (also the name of my great-grandmother who died when my grandmother was only 7 years old)
"Hope":  hope, expectation, belief; a virtue taken from I Corinthians 13:13, "And now these three remain:  faith, hope and love."

Selah Karis Patterson
Biological baby sister to Ella Hope
Born October 1, 2010 in the USA
Welcomed into our family November 23, 2010
Diagnosed with congenital hydrocephalus at 5 months gestation; the doctors believed she wouldn't be born alive.  By the grace of God, Selah is doing well today with a shunt that drains fluid from her brain.
"Selah" (pronounced say-luh):  pause and reflect upon God's goodness, taken from the Psalms.  A literal translation of the Hebrew word selah is "Let those with eyes see and with ears hear."
"Karis" (pronounced "care-is":  taken from the Greek word "Charis", meaning that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness; a gift of grace.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Heart Candy

"You make the goodest food I ever ate!"
~Ella Patterson, Age 5

Sweet candy for my heart! Thank you, Ella

Saturday, December 25, 2010

CHRISTmas Love

"You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High."  Luke 1:31-32

Unconditional Love, delivered as a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

Thank you, Mary, for modeling so beautifully how to embrace God's plan for our lives and for modeling the joy of motherhood, even when the child isn't conceived traditionally.  Unconditional love.

Thank you, Jesus, for agreeing to obey God's will and walk in earthly shoes where you would endure much suffering, pain, and even temptation on earth.  Unconditional love.

Thank you, Jesus, for taking the punishment for our sins, even when you were so perfectly perfect.  Unconditional love.

Thank you, God, for offering us the FREE GIFT of salvation through the perfect gift of your perfect Son, Jesus Christ.  Unconditional love.

We are grateful for God's good gift of unconditional love!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Chrissie, please give Jesus BIG HUGS (the signature Chrissie-finger-gripping-neck-squeezing kind) to our Savior from all of us.  We love you and we miss you, Chrissie, and we can't wait to be with you and our King of Kings for all eternity!!!  You were such a treasured gift of unconditional love!!!


"Love one another deeply."
1 Peter 1:22


Friday, December 24, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Christmas...

a Christian version:

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the church,
The chosen were singing out His Son's birth.
The Bibles were open to Matthew that night,
and praises were sung to a heavenly height.
The pastor spoke boldly the Word we all love,
About our sweet Jesus who came from above.
The spoke of salvation to those who were lost,
For whom Christ had died for upon Calvary's cross.
He knew through the years we'd been bound up by sin,
But we could be free if we'd just let Him in.
So open your hearts all you people who know,
And let Jesus make your soul white as snow.
Heed the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
About His great work that they've carried on.
The Epistles of Paul will show us the way,
Revelation tells us of the glorious day.
At the sound of the trump and the twink of an eye
We'll be caught up with  Jesus to a cloud in the sky.
We'll sit down with Jesus to a wonderful feast,
Then come back with Him to bind up the beast.
There'll be no dying, no sickness, no tears,
We'll reign in His glory for one thousand years.
And after these things a new heaven and earth,
And all because of our dear Savior's birth
So "Follow Me Children we hear Jesus say,
That He is the Truth, the Life, and the Way.
~Rick Semos
Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree

Praise the Lord, our little Christmas angel (Dariya, who we're the Christmas warrior for on the RR angel tree) has $2640 raised for her ransom!!!  Now, is there a family out there ready to bring home this precious bundle of joy?!?  Pass the word around that Reece's Rainbow has several children with large grants right now, so it's a great time to commit to adopting a special child!

Also, if you haven't already given to the Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree, please click HERE to donate!  It is the goal that every angel would receive atleast $1,000 towards their adoption during the Christmas fundraiser, and there are lots of little angels out there who NEED your help! 

Many thanks to all who have donated already.  You are changing the futures of orphans around the world!  Please pray that every angel would have their forever families commit to them, and that the funds would be raised to help these families rescue their lovies!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Attn Racquell Werbe

You (Racquell Werbe) left a comment that you wanted to purchase a Boss Your Heart book.  I emailed you, but your email was returned to me.  If you still want to purchase a book, please paypal $25 to and be sure to leave your mailing address in the comment on paypal.

Thank you to everyone who purchased a book!  We've sold them all, and each person who purchased one should be receiving it this week.  (The books were mailed Saturday via Priority Mail with USPS.)  If you purchased a book but it doesn't arrive this week, please let me know.

We're still aiming for Valentine's Day for the "real" book release!  It's fun to think about Chrissie teaching others to "boss their hearts" during the one holiday of the year that is all hearts!!!  I'm thinking of those conversation heart candies that say things like "I Do"...I think they need to make one that says "Boss Your Heart"! :-)

Hope all of you are preparing your hearts for the celebration of the birth of our Savior, the King of Kings!  Four more days till Happy Birthday, Jesus!  I wonder if Jesus has a party in Heaven?  If He didn't before, I bet Chrissie throws Him one this year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

One Last Christmas

One Last Christmas by Matthew West
(music video--if you are reading this via email or in RSS reader, you must visit the blog at to watch the video.  Get your tissues.)

It's been 7 months since Chrissie went to Heaven.
It seems impossible that she's been gone for SEVEN months.
I can still see her, smell her, feel her little fingers pressing into my neck with her tight hugs.
It can't be seven months.
But it is.

As I listened to this song (One Last Christmas), I reflected upon Chrissie' last Christmas.  I guess it was her only Christmas, really.  I thought I might feel some guilt or regrets about how I might have done things differently if we had just known it would be Chrissie's last Christmas.  Instead of thinking of things I would have done differently, I was overwhelmed with gratitude that Chrissie was with our family for her last Christmas.  We spent every day of the advent season reading from God's Word, learning about Jesus' lineage (through the Jesse Tree devotional), and focusing on the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  Chrissie was so excited about having a birthday party for Jesus, and looking back on it, I really wouldn't change a thing about the way we celebrated Christmas for Chrissie's last Christmas.

Also, as I listened to this song (One Last Christmas), I realized that there was a very cool story out there that I had never heard (Dax's story).
I'm sure there are just as many people who have never heard of Chrissie's story.
And there are thousands of families who have lost children whose stories will not be spread around the world.

But God knows each and every story.
He knows the number of hairs on each of our heads.
And He knows each tear we cry.
God knows our pain personally because He, too, lost His Son.
His One and Only Son.

For you.
And for me.

With the hope that the story of His Son would be spread around the world.

For your salvation.
And for mine.
And for all those who have never heard The Good News.

Share His story.
Spread it around the world.
There's no story as important as His.

The Christmas Story.
Read it in Luke, chapters 1 and 2.
Then spread the story.

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Celebrating 18 on the 19th...

18 years ago, on December 19, 1992, I married the man I had always dreamt of marrying.
God blessed me more than I could have imagined.
I had always had an idea in my head of the type of man I wanted to marry, but I truly didn't believe that man existed.
Until I met Matt.
God put the desire in my heart for a man just like Matt because He had created my husband for me.
Kinda crazy to think that God worked all this out before we were even knit in our mothers' wombs.
I'm so grateful God is in control and not me. 
His plans are always so much better than I can ever fathom.
Thank you, God, for blessing me with such an awesome husband.  I'm not deserving, but I am most humbly grateful.

19 years ago, I gave my husband (fiancee at the time) the following poem:

I guess you could say that in some ways,
I've always loved you.
That doesn't sound right, I know,
because I haven't always known you,
but I've always known certain qualities
that were important to me,
and in my mind and heart, I've always
carried an image, a fantasy, a wish, I guess,
of a wonderful person I could love totally.
You've given me what I've always wished for:
fun and laughter,
concern and understanding,
a friend to depend on,
a lover to cherish,
a partner in everything I do...
Thinking about you--
how you make me feel,
how I feel about you
and all that you are--
I realize that all my life,
I've always loved you in my dreams.
Now that you've come out of my dreams
and into my life,
I can tell you
that I've always loved you
and that I always will. 
~Gary LaFollette

18 years and counting.
I love you more than yesterday, Big Daddy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Are You Longing for Your Little One to be Home?

Click to watch a video to Third Day's song about a family longing to bring their little one home.

If you're celebrating Christmas this year without a child (or children) who you're in the process of adopting, please leave a comment so we can pray for you and your children.  It's so hard to be separated during the adoption process, and it's particularly difficult during Christmas when we long to hold our lovies and whisper the good news of Jesus Christ to their hearts.

If you're waiting to bring your lovie home, hang in there.  God is good; His timing is perfect, even when it may not feel that way.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Christmas Carol {video}

How is it that I had never heard this sweet song, Christmas Carol?!?  Someone posted it on my Facebook wall, and I'm glad I listened to it!

Please pray for every orphan to have someone claim them as their very own "Christmas Carol"!

"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you."  John 14:18

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Boss Your Heart Books: Limited Edition

I have a limited number of Boss Your Heart books for sale in time for Christmas.  The price will be $25/book, which includes domestic priority mail shipping.  We will not be making any money off the sale of this special edition book, as this project was done using a rush service from a local printer so we could have them in time for Christmas.  (Rush means the cost was much higher than a non-rushed job.)  This limited edition book which will be signed by me (if you want something specific written inside, just let me know).  It is a simple spiral-bound book with 320 full-sized pages (8.5x11").  The Boss Your Heart book is a compilation of the posts from Chrissie's 31-day hospital battle.  It's neat to see it all printed and bound, and wow, it's so easy to flip through it and peruse God's miracles!  I had no idea I had written so much!  My hope with recording Chrissie's journey was that she would one day be able to read first-hand all that God did in her life, but God had other plans to use Chrissie's story to mend broken hearts around the world.  I continue to be amazed by all God did through the life of a former orphan, and I'm grateful to have it all recorded in this book.

Mia Carter is the gracious woman who God called to step in and tackle this book project.  She's a mom to a little girl in Heaven as well, and Mia has a Boss Your Heart necklace and followed our story since we left to go get Chrissie!  She's been an absolute godsend for this project, and I am forever grateful for her hard work, dedication, perseverance and flexibility throughout this project!  We hope to release the books sometime in the near future (aiming for Valentine's), but I wanted to offer these limited edition books to you all just incase someone wants to have one in time for Christmas.  I do not plan to print more of these, so this will be limited to the first 20 requests.

If you would like to purchase one of the limited edition Boss Your Heart books, please email me at  You may also leave a comment here if you would like to.  If you do not hear back from me within 3 days, please email me again.  It's so very hard for me to keep up with emails these days, but I pray none of the emails will get lost in the busyness of life.

I pray abundant blessings on you and yours during this Christmas season.  May Jesus shine brightly in your home and hearts!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

More Blessings!

After you read this announcement, you'll understand why the blog's been in hibernation lately.

Tuesday, November 23, God blessed us with a special surprise and sent us two more precious blessings!

The Patterson Family joyfully announces the arrival of sisters from Texas:

Ella (age 5)
"shining light"

Selah (age 9 weeks, hydrocephalus baby) 
"pause to reflect upon God's goodness"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Need Your Help!

For six months now, God has been asking me to publish Chrissie's 31-day hospital battle into a book.  I had no idea why.  The idea started with so many of you readers who would leave comments or contact me via email (and sometimes even via phone!) to encourage me to publish Chrissie's story.  I blew it off for a while, thinking there's no way I would/could ever do such a thing.  I'm not an author, and I have NO contacts in the publishing world, and I really didn't understand why anyone would want to BUY a book about Chrissie's story when they could read it for free on our blog!

But God continues to place this project in my path over and over and over again.  It's to the point now where I just have to obey, even if the task seems insurmountable.  I don't even have enough time to keep our blog updated.  I have so many messages to post here, and I only get to about 1/10th of them!  I have thank you cards in memory of Chrissie to mail still...these were created in June or July, yet they still sit in a box on my floor, some addressed, many not, none with stamps.  My life is so busy, I simply cannot imagine sitting down to figure out this whole book thing.

But God doesn't accept excuses.  He asks for obedience.  Simple obedience.  So, I am now to the point, after six months of avoidance, where I have to just obey and move toward figuring this book thing out.  I've emailed a few people who have some experience in self-publishing, and all have offered to help in this way or that, but I haven't done a thing on my end.  I really don't know what path to take as there are so many options. 

I feel like God wants me to just publish the part of Chrissie's story where she battled for  31-days until He called her home.  (That is the time frame when most of you got to know Chrissie's story by praying for our precious angel during that time.)  I feel like He wants me to keep the story in journal format, true to life, unedited (not even addressing grammatical errors and misspellings to preserve the authenticity of the battle).  I feel like He wants me to keep make sure the comments from the readers are kept in the story as well.  And the photos should stay, too. 

Seems easy enough, huh?  Not so much!  I have to do formatting of all of this and figure out what size book and the font and the layout and how to separate the comments from the "diary" (blog entries) and where to put the photos and a book cover and ISBN, etc., etc., etc.  It's a lot more work than it sounds like, but God continues to remind me that He is asking for my obedience.

I feel like God is saying to use any proceeds from the book sales to help orphans.  My greatest desire would be to get this book published by early December (through self-publishing) and offer the books as Christmas gifts, with the proceeds going to help our Reece's Rainbow Angel child, Dariya, who we are the fundraising warriors for.  (He's given me a few ideas on who to help with the proceeds, and we all know there's never enough money for adoptions/orphans, so the possibilities are endless as long as there are book sales.)

But first, there has to be a book! :-)  So, I am posting this to ask for your help.  If you have any ideas, if you're connected or have any expertise in the publishing world, if you can help me get this book published in the very short time frame that I'm looking at...please contact me!  You can email me directly at or you may leave a comment here.

And on top of this project, I feel like He wants me to do a t-shirt fundraiser as well.  He's even given me a design idea for a shirt in memory of Chrissie and all of the hearts that were mended/changed/touched through Chrissie's life on earth and in Heaven.  I need someone who does graphic design and/or artwork to do the design for me though because I have NO talent in this area!!! :-)  I have a lead on someone who might be able to help me with printing the shirts, but if you have recommendations in this area, please contact me.

My ultimate hope/dream is to do a book and t-shirt bundle in memory of Chrissie for Christmas as a fundraiser to help orphans.  I just need some help, and I know this.  I cannot do it alone (otherwise, I would have already done it and wouldn't even be writing this post!), so please prayerfully consider helping me in this endeavor if you have any advice, suggestions, helps, connections, etc.

I've learned that most families who have lost a child do something at Christmas as a tribute to their loved one.  This is what I think God is asking me to do, but the timing seems impossible.  However, I also know that with God, all things are possible.

Help, anyone?!?

Friday, November 19, 2010

6 Months

It's been 6 months since you were given a whole new life in Heaven, Lil' Miss Chrissie.
It's been a whole different life on earth for us.
We miss you more than words can express.

We are most grateful for this photo we received tonight from Carrie, the friend who made the oh-so-treasured photo quilt in memory of Chrissie.  This photo is of Rowan, Carrie's son, who is miraculously "connected" to Chrissie.  It's quite an amazing connection that is a neat picture of God, and I feel so blessed to have Rowan around because it feels like he's got a direct connection/link to Chrissie, even with her in Heaven, like no one else has.  Rowan came to our ranch to visit in early November, and I took him down to visit Chrissie's gravesite.  After exploring the area for a while, Rowan said something like, "I miss Chrissie.  I need to give her some lovin'."  Then he walked over to the edge of the little fence around Chrissie's gravesite, and he leaned over to send some love and kisses to Chrissie.  Then Rowan's mom, Carrie, took a picture of Rowan by Chrissie's gravesite.  Carrie uploaded the photos to her computer tonight, and she emailed me this photo with the following words in the email:
When I was looking through the pictures, Rowan stopped me at one of him peering over the iron gate at her grave site, looking at her stone.  He said "Mom, you know that's her looking down at me, right?" I was confused at first and I said, "Do you mean YOU looking down at HER grave?"  And he said "Mom, that's just where her body is. She is up there in heaven, but don't you see looking down at me- she's the sun shining down on me?" 

I don't know if you all will be able to notice the "cloud/light/haze" over Rowan, but he says that's Chrissie.  And I believe him.  What an amazing photo that captured Chrissie's presence.
Thank you, God, for sending us this sweet little gift of seeing a glimpse of Chrissie's heavenly being. 
Thank you, Carrie, for sending me this photo.
Thank you, Rowan, for who you are.
Thank you, Chrissie, for who you are.
We miss you and love you, girlfriend!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chrissie's Great-Grandma Has Joined Her in Heaven

Today was the funeral of my Nana, who went to Heaven on November 10, 2010 (on Meribeth's Gotcha Day).  My Nana had Alzheimer's for the last 10 years of her life, which was such a sad thing, a disease I wish they'd find a cure for FAST.  I wish that my children would have been able to get to know my Nana since she was such a loving, kind, generous grandma; the kind of grandma every grandchild should get to experience.

Four of the grandkids shared memories at the funeral.  It was a special time with many laughs shared.  I wish that everyone out there could be blessed with a grandma like my Nana.  She was the type of person who somehow made everyone feel treasured.  She had the love languages pinned down before that was even a buzz word.  She showed love in each person's unique love language, and as her grandchild, there was never a time when I felt like she was too busy to spend time with me.

Every summer, my Nana would invite all five of her grandkids to stay with her in San Antonio for an entire week.  It was like grandma's summer camp.  Sometimes all five of us would go together, and sometimes we'd split it into smaller groups.  No matter who attended which week, our Nana always went all out to make us feel special.  She would prepare each of our favorite meals, she would give us "sweet coffee" (as kids this was a HUGE deal, but it was really about 1/5 coffee, 3/5 cream and another 1/5 sugar...yum!), and she always had yummy desserts and candy for each of us.  She made the yummiest German sweet rice ever and her creamed corn was better than Rudy's BBQ (for you Texans!).

On top of spoiling us with delicious food at every meal, Nana would take us to do all kinds of fun things.  She loved garage sales and thrift stores, and she'd take her grandkids along and wheel and deal for us so we always came home with our pockets full of little treasures.  She'd take us roller skating, to amusement parks, to water parks (Schlitterbahn!), and to traditional parks to play on the tall slides and big swings.  She'd take us on walks around her neighborhood, she'd play cards and games with us, and she'd sit in a lawn chair and watch us play sports in her back yard while she cracked pecans and visited.  She loved to talk and visit.  She could talk for hours, and we loved it.

It was always fun going to Nana's house (I think we went atleast once a month to visit) because Nana always had a stash of goods for us to dig through.  She'd find out what brand of clothing was our favorite, then she'd peruse the thrift store where she volunteered and buy us name-brand clothing at really great prices.  Each time we visited, we'd get to sort through the piles of treasures and select anything we wanted, as long as another grandkid hadn't claimed it first.  (So, it was always a race to get to the back room where the treasures were stored so that we could stake our claim before someone else got to it!)

More than anything, I feel so blessed to have had a grandma who made me feel like the most treasured granddaughter in the world.  Even when I made poor choices, she would find a way to address it yet encourage me to do better without making me feel like a failure.  She loved unconditionally, and she expected nothing in return.  She always made her grandkids feel loved, cherished, treasured, regardless of our abilities or performance. 

One day I hope to be a grandma just like my Nana.  And I'm so glad that Chrissie now has her great-grandma in Heaven to eat brownies together.  Nana made the best chocolate iced brownies.  YUM!  Chrissie, be sure to lick the bowl, girlfriend, and Nana, give Chrissie BIG HUGS for us!  We can't wait to spend eternity with y'all!

We ate at Bill Miller BBQ after the funeral because that was Nana's favorite restaurant.  She especially loved their pecan pie, so most of us had slice in memory of Nana.  (This is the best photo we got of our family...Asher was sighing as he cocked his head back (probably something along the lines of not another photo!) and Parker isn't in the photo, but I thought I'd post it anyway.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Note from Meribeth

Meribeth wrote this yesterday for the blog (on her Gotcha Day), so I apologize that my posting it is a day late!  I hope her words are encouraging to anyone considering older child adoption.  Remember that this post was written by Meribeth exactly two years after she became a Patterson.  Two years ago, Meribeth didn't know one word of English.  She has worked really hard to communicate in English (spoken English and written English), and English is really a very hard language to learn!

We're so proud of you, Meribeth!

From Meribeth:
"Wow, I cannot believe today it's my gotcha day. I have been so greatfull to be with my precious family for two years long. When i was in Colombia I thought it was impossible that a family could pick a child like me, because I knew people only wanted babys or toddlers but God brought me this wonderfull family, that I love more than ever before. My life have changed so much, that i cannot even believe it. I want to encouraged people to adopt older kids, there are so many children that don't have hope for a family, so please stand out and serve the Lord by rescuing this poor children that needs a family.I know it was very hard when I became a part of the family, but now I am a different person, so don't be afraid of doing something that you are called to do but you are scared to do it. Just trust in the Lord and he'll be your strength."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Happy 2nd Gotcha Day, Meribeth!

Two years ago today, we held our Meribeth tightly in our arms during a very emotional meeting with the social services officials in Ibague, Colombia, the hometown of our first adopted daughter.  We didn't know your full story, Meribeth, but God told us that you were ours, no matter what.  I recall the day we had to take you back to the social services office, just a few days after you had been with our family in Colombia, because we felt like we weren't prepared to parent you.  We felt incapable and inadequate, even though we had parenting experience, but we had never parented an older orphan before.  We felt scared as adults becoming your parents, and we can only imagine how scared you must have felt becoming our daughter!

I remember that before Matt and I walked through those Colombian social services doors the morning for our special-called meeting,  that he and I both felt like maybe God made a mistake in calling us to be your parents.  I remember sitting in that office listening to the director telling us that we didn't have to adopt you, that they could give us a different child, one who didn't have the same history as you.  (We didn't even know your "real" history at that moment.)  I remember begging the officials to get your file out and show us the "real" history so we could make a better informed decision.  I remember BAWLING as they brought out a file about 4 inches thick of all of the things you had lived through.  As they sat and read through report after report, letter after letter, article after article, I remember the tears streaming down Matt and my cheeks.  I remember how every single person in that office cried that morning.  I remember how God used that time to CONFIRM for us that you were ours, forever and always, no matter what, when we thought the opposite would happen.  We thought that as we heard your story, we would have justification to walk away, with proof that we wouldn't be adequate parents to someone with your history.  But God did the opposite during that meeting.  As we listened to all that you had to endure in your first eleven years of life, our hearts broke, shattered into a million pieces, for you.  We both knew, without even having to discuss things, that we could never walk away from you.  Never. 

And we are so grateful that God told us not to walk away.  That He confirmed that YOU, Mery Elizabeth Patterson, were the exact child that He had hand picked for our family.  Even though the path was not easy, we want you to know, Meribeth, how truly blessed we are that God chose you to be our daughter.  You are an amazing young lady, and we continue to stand in awe of all you've overcome by the grace of God.  We wish so much that you hadn't had to endure a life of pain, loss, disappointment, neglect and abuse, but we are oh so grateful that God rescued you and that He included our family in His plans for you.  We still don't feel worthy that God chose our family to be in His path of healing for you, but we are are oh so glad that He did!  You are truly one of my heroes.  I cannot fathom how painful, challenging and difficult it would be to leave the only country, culture, language and "home" that you had ever known and enter into a brand new life with a new family in a new home in a new country speaking a new language in a new culture.  I know that it was extremely difficult to do this, Meribeth, but we are so proud of you for your courage and perseverance.  We've been so blessed to see the transformation in your life in just two short years.  You've grown to know Christ intimately, and He is so beautifully transforming you into who He created you to be.  Although it's been challenging for all of us to make this transition, I want you to know that every  hurt, every tear, every emotion, every hurdle, and every struggle has been worth it.  YOU are worth it, Meribeth.  You are beautiful, inside and out, and we are honored to be your forever family.  Thank you for not giving up on us either!  Thank you for allowing us into your heart, Meribeth, even though it would have been easier to keep your heart locked and not let anyone else in.  Thank you for trusting us, even when you didn't really know what that looked like.  Thank you for allowing God to transform you, even when it seemed easier for you to remain in control.  Thank you for your willingness to work on the hard things, to forgive us for our mistakes, to ask forgiveness for your mistakes, and to persevere through the trials and tribulations, and for your courage to press on, even when we all felt like giving up.  Thank you for loving Chrissie wholeheartedly, even though she might not live a long took a big risk by opening your heart up to the possibility of another loss in your life.  Your are truly a hero!

We love you forever and always, no matter what, Smiley, and we are so very proud of you!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How to Join Adoption Blog Hop

Click HERE to join the adoption blog hop!

Scroll down to the bottom of that post (after you click and go to the link) and it will tell you how to join the blog hop.

(Some of you said you weren't able to find the place to join...hope this helps!)

Email me if you still have problems joining up.  It's fun to see the number of adoption blogs growing!  I pray God will use each blog to speak to others' hearts and lead them to His heart for the orphan.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Adoption Blog Hop

Since November is National Adoption Month, I thought it would be great to connect as many people as possible with a variety of adoption blogs.  What's really neat about the adoption community is the amazing support you'll find.  When most of the world will tell you that you're crazy, you will find unconditional support within the adoption community...probably because their eyes have been opened just as yours have.  It's so wonderful to get connected with a community of people who have a heart for the orphan.

There are so many ways to adopt, so many countries to adopt from, such a variety of stories, variety of many ways to connect, so many families to support, so many stories of encouragement.

I had a reader leave a comment to join the November Adoption Blog Hop, which I had never heard of, but I checked it out and think it's a fun way to connect as we celebrate National Adoption Month.  This is also a great way for those interested in orphan care to easily access a variety of adoption blogs from fostering to foster to adopt to domestic adoption to international adoption to disrupted adoption.  If you have an adoption blog, please join the blog hop below!  (Be sure to share in the description what type of adoption(s) you have experience with so others can quickly find the type of blogs that they're seeking.)

Oh, and in an effort to help those looking for adoption resources, I thought I should point out that there's a tab on our blog that says "Adoption Resources" where you can click to find lots more info on adoption and how you can help orphans.  Just click HERE to visit that page.

Have fun with the adoption blog hop, and I hope the Lord leads you to the blog He most wants you to find as He stirs in His people to care for the orphan and live out James 1:27.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Orphan Sunday Blessings

On Orphan Sunday, 2009, our Chrissie was dedicated to our Lord.

She had only been home about 2 weeks, but Chrissie was so excited about being in church.
She received a little pink New Testament Bible from Pastor Sweet (yep, that's really his name!), and oh how she treasured that little Bible.  Chrissie slept with it for months, and I have her treasured pink Bible saved in a spot where I see it daily.  It reminds me of so many things:  the miracle of salvation, the beauty of adoption, the love of a child, the joy of obedience, and the excitement of a sweet 4-year-old girl as she was dedicated to our Lord and received this beloved Bible.

I'm so grateful for the way God orchestrated our lives while Chrissie was with us.
We gave Chrissie a charm bracelet on her dedication day with a heart charm that has a cross in the a reminder of Chrissie's dedication day and a reminder of the meaning of Chrissie's name:  one who holds Christ in her heart. 
The day Chrissie went to Heaven, I put that bracelet on my wrist and I've never taken it off.
It jingles daily as a reminder of my beloved daughter, Chrissie, and a reminder of her dedication day, a sweet blessing from our Lord.

On Orphan Sunday, 2010, our Meribeth chose to be baptized as an act of obedience and an outward symbol of her faith in Jesus Christ.
What a blessing it was for Meribeth's daddy to be able to baptize her!

Once an orphan without anyone to call "Daddy"...

raised to new life, no longer an orphan, adopted by her Heavenly Father for life, and loved by her forever family for always.

How beautiful!

Meribeth, we are so proud of you for allowing God to be your boss, for studying His Word faithfully every day, for praying and journaling your thoughts to Him daily, for trusting Him with your life, even when things didn't make any sense.  We are so proud of who you have become, and we were blessed to see you baptized and raised to new life in Christ.

We love you forever and always, no matter what, Meribeth!

Orphan Sunday: Our Adoption Story

The Patterson Family, November 2007
Matt, Lorraine, Parker (11), Mattie (9), Sawyer (7)
(Our Family Photo Just 3 Years Ago)

I remember when it all started.  When God began to open our eyes.  We were sitting at my parent's house enjoying our Thanksgiving gathering (Nov. 2007) when I received an email (on my phone) from a friend.  This email stood out like no other.  The email talked about an orphan in Colombia who needed a forever family.  As I stared at the photo of the girl in the email, my heart raced, like this 9-year-old girl was mine.

Luz Mery's Referral Photo (pic taken 2007)
"Special Needs Orphan" in Colombia (age and history made her special needs)
Became Mery Elizabeth Patterson ("Meribeth") November 10, 2008

But how could this be?  I had never really thought about adoption.  Why should I?  Our family was perfectly complete with 3 bio kids, two sons and a daughter.  And if I were going to adopt, wouldn't I want to choose a healthy baby, not a 9-year-old girl?!?
Then God showed us this verse:
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families..." 
Psalm 68:5-6

And we just knew God was calling us to our first adopted daughter. 
And He wasn't calling us to a newborn or even a toddler.
He was clearly calling us to adopt a 9-year-old girl (who would be 11 by the time she entered our family) from Colombia who didn't speak English.
You can read more about our adoption journey to Meribeth (formerly Princesa Luz Mery) by clicking HERE.

This is what our family looked like a year after His first adoption calling on our family.
The Patterson Family, November 2008
Matt, Lorraine, Parker (12), Meribeth (11), Mattie (10), Sawyer (8)
Countries represented:  USA, Colombia

So now our family was really perfectly complete.
Two boys, two girls.
Who could ask for more?

And then God gave me a terrifying nightmare about horribly mistreated orphans, and this is how He began to really open my eyes (and consequently our entire family's eyes) to the plight of the orphan.
"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we do not know what to do.  God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows we know and holds us responsible to act." 
Proverbs 24:12

After my dream/nightmare, God gave me an urgency about an orphan who needed us immediately.  I didn't know who, why, when, or where, but I knew it was urgent.

Within a few days of my dream, God sent me an email to show me exactly the child who desperately needed us.  The email read, "URGENT need in Serbia."  Without even seeing the photo of the child or reading the diagnoses, I KNEW immediately this was the child God was calling us to.  And then I saw her photo, and God vividly spoke to me regarding this precious angel, confirming that she was a Patterson, and her name was not "Barbara" as she was known as in Serbia, she was "Chrissie".  Somehow we suddenly felt like we needed her even more than she needed us!
"Barbara",  Referral Photo (pic taken 2008)
"Special Needs Orphan" in Serbia (significant congenital heart defects)
Became Christyn Joy Patterson ("Chrissie") October 14, 2009

God spoke directly to Matt when we prayed about adopting Chrissie, the very same night we found out about her in June 2009.  It was a huge risk, knowing she may not live long due to her severe heart defects. 
But it was a risk we knew we had to take.
These are the Words God showed Matt that night as we sought His counsel:
"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is within the power of your hand to do so." 
Proverbs 3:27
 And we ALL knew we had to obey. 
Click HERE to read the beginning of our journey to Chrissie.
Click HERE to continue that journey.

This is what our family looked like a year after our first adoption.
The Patterson Family, November 2009
Matt, Lorraine, Parker (13), Meribeth (12), Mattie (11), Sawyer (10), Chrissie (4)
Stephanie, Samantha and Emily Hall
Countries Represented:  USA, Colombia, Serbia

Surely our family was now complete!  We didn't feel worthy (or even capable!) of receiving any more precious blessings from God, but in December 2009, God laid it upon our hearts that He was going to deliver us a special gift from Haiti.  God's special delivery arrived in April, 2010, in His perfect timing, and oh my word, he was the cutest little delivery ever.
Kenwetchly, Referral Photo (pic taken Dec. 2009)
Economic orphan in Haiti
Became Kiefer Thomas Patterson April 4, 2010

"...for in you the fatherless find compassion." 
Hosea 14:3

Just two weeks after Kiefer came home, Chrissie had open-heart surgery.   After a 31-day battle in the hospital, on May 19, 2010, God called Chrissie home, to live with Him for all eternity.  We were in shock at the outcome He chose, but, at the same time, we were so grateful He chose us and entrusted us to be Chrissie's forever family.  She was pure joy, a precious blessing straight from our Father, and He fulfilled His promise to Chrissie through our obedience while He grew us in ways we never thought possible.
"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you." 
John 14:18

As we walked the path of grief after Chrissie went to live with Jesus, we felt like we might never ever adopt again.  Our hearts were shattered, we were all quite a mess, but God gently (well, He might have knocked us over the head!) reminded us of why He placed us on this earth:  to care for orphans in their distress.  Exactly one month to the day of Chrissie going to Heaven, God once again displayed His power and glory by delivering another special gift to our family, even when we felt so incapable.  He knew His plan; He knew He would equip us; He knew how to turn our hearts toward Him in obedience.  When we wanted to bury ourselves in the midst of our pain, He entrusted us with another treasure.
Nahomie from Haiti
Welcomed into our family on June 19, 2010 at the age of 17
Became Naomi Faith Patterson August 4, 2010
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." 
James 1:27

And just when we thought our hands and hearts were at maximum capacity, God reminded us that our love is supplied through Him, who gives us all of our strength and ability.  He reminded us that we are nothing without Him, and He reminded us that He equips us to do the tasks He calls us to.  All He asks is that we obey, regardless of how impossible the task may seem.  He is faithful.  He always provides.  His grace is sufficient.  And as soon as we renewed our vows to Him and affirmed our trust and faith in Him, the Author and Creator of life sent us another special arrow for our quiver.
Asher came to our home July 23, 2010 via a disrupted adoption in the USA.
Asher is currently in the legal process of becoming a forever Patterson.

"And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me."
Matthew 18:5

In a total of two years, our quiver of arrows went from this:
(our 3 "American Dream" kiddos)
To this:
(God's "international dream" kiddos)
(L-R):  Parker (14, bio), Naomi (18, Haiti), Asher (8, USA), Sawyer (10, bio), Kiefer (2, Haiti), Mattie (12, bio), Meribeth (13, Colombia)
Countries represented:  USA, Colombia, Serbia/Heaven, Haiti
(Not pictured above:  Chrissie and The Hall Girls, so their photos are below)

Our Princess Chrissie (forever 4, Serbia/Heaven) who was dedicated to our Lord last year on Orphan Sunday, November 8, 2009, and went to live with Jesus on May 19, 2010.

Our beloved Hall girls:  (L-R):  Emily, Stephanie, and Samantha.   Looking back, Sam and Em are really the first two kiddos God lovingly placed in our family, along with their mom, Stephanie.  In 2006, they presented Matt with the Psalm 68 (father to the fatherless) award.  Thank you, God, for allowing us to begin the journey of living out James 1:27 (caring for orphans and widows) by bringing The Hall Girls into our family back in 2003!  (The Halls, who we consider family, live on our ranch and serve alongside us in ministry.  They are a tremendous god-send for our family, and are a huge blessing in our lives.)

On Orphan Sunday 2010, I want you all to know that our family is nothing special, not much different than any other typical Christian family.  Just two years ago, we were living the "American Dream" with a nice house, two nice vehicles, a few nice hobbies, and the average 2.5 nice kiddos (well, OK, we had the full 3 kiddos, but they were still nice!).  We didn't do anything deliberate or extraordinary to change our lives, other than choosing to obey when God asked us to.  God worked in our lives, in our hearts, in our homes, from the inside out, to show us what His focus is.  He broke our hearts for the things that break His.  He opened our eyes and spoke to us through His Word, showing us that we needed to focus on things of eternal value.  He made it clear to us that a relationship with His children is what He most values, and He made it clear that our family should value His children the same as He does.  All He wanted was our obedience.  He took care of the rest.  We are clay in our Potter's hands.  We don't know the final piece of pottery He will form us into, but we trust Him fully with great anticipation to see the pottery collection He is forming in our family.  I wonder which pottery pieces He will entrust to us in the future.  I wonder what our family will look like a year from now.  I know His pottery collection will be beautiful, no matter what, because it is being hand-crafted by God.

Tell your story next year on Orphan Sunday 2011.
What will your family look like?

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves..."
Proverbs 31:8

There's an estimated147 million orphans in the world today.
There's an estimated 6.2 billion Christians in the world today.
Seems like an easy solution to the orphan crisis, agree?
What will you do?

"Take up the cause of the fatherless..."
Isaiah 1:17

November is National Adoption Month.
Take action.
You can do it.
God is faithful.
He will equip His servants. 
Trust Him.
Have faith.

"To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world."  ~Brandi Snyder

blog comments powered by Disqus