Friday, January 29, 2010

Has Your Veil Been Lifted?

The following status update on Facebook has affected me like no other status update I've ever read.  Here are the words being posted by some Facebook users (I'm ashamed to post the following words on my blog):

"Shame on you America: the only country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds, and mentally ill without treatment - yet we have a benefit for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations. 99% of people won't have the guts to copy and repost this. I'm NOT afraid !!!!!"

Wanna see homeless without shelter?

Thousands of Haitians (elderly and infants included) are sleeping outside on the ground. 
They've made "tent cities" as they have no homes or steady structures to take shelter in. 
Haven't seen a tent city in America (unless it was a campout to buy front row seats to a concert)!!!

Wanna see children going to bed without eating?

This is a child brought to a rescue center on 1/28/10 in Haiti who is severely malnourished.
Unfortunately, there are thousands more just like him in Haiti.
Not the typical look of a "hungry" American.

Wanna see elderly without needed meds?

I think this elderly Haitian woman has gone without needed meds far too long.
Visit The Livesay Blog for many more photos of Haitians undergoing amputations without anesthesia, maggots eating the flesh of living people, children being sewn up without "needed" meds.
Don't see that happening in the US.  Nope.

Wanna see mentally ill without treatment?
Haitian boy (from Buckner gallery) thrilled to be alive, flies and all, without treatment.
Probably the same as in America though.

What does Jesus say about all of this?

Jesus is our Rock.  Our Foundation.  All other ground is sinking sand.
Statue of Jesus on the cross in Haiti remains strong and steady while everything around it crumbles. (Photo from Buckner Gallery.)

Matthew 25:34-36, "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Matthew 25:40, "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

Praying God will remove the veil from ALL of our eyes.
"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

Praising God for all the veils He's already lifted.
"Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could so something about it...but I'm afraid He might ask me the same question." ~Anonymous

Thanking all those who have responded to the Haitian tragedy with joyful, selfless obedience, serving the least of these with your love, your prayers, your time, talent and treasure.
"Do unto others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:31

Asking what YOU are doing to help those in need...both in America and around the world?!?
"A friend loves at all times."  Proverbs 17:17

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) — Two weeks after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, the numbers have mounted. The numbers tell stories of death and destruction, as well as a global outpouring of aid.

CNN has compiled the latest, most reliable figures available as the devastation continues to unfold:

150,000: Latest estimate of the death toll, from the Haitian Health Ministry. The European Union and the Pan American Health Organization, which are coordinating the health-sector response, have estimated the quake killed 200,000 people.
194,000: Number of injured
134: Estimated number of people rescued by international search teams since the quake

9 million: Population of Haiti
3 million: Estimated number of people affected by the quake
1 million: Estimated number of displaced people
800,000 to 1 million: People who need temporary shelter
235,000: People who have left Port-au-Prince using free transportation provided by the government. The number who left by private means is undetermined.
At least 50: Aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or higher that have hit Haiti since the January 12 quake

300,000: Children younger than 2 who need nutritional support
90: Percentage of schools in Port-au-Prince that have been destroyed
363: Haitian orphans who have been evacuated

$1.12 billion: International aid pledges
$783 million: Funds received as of Tuesday
$317 million: U.S. assistance as of Monday

17,000: U.S. military personnel in and around Haiti
8 million: Meals the World Food Programme has delivered to nearly 400,000 people
300: Aid distribution sites that are up and running
130 to 150: Flights arriving every day at the single-runway Port-au-Prince airport with aid

12,000: U.N. workers in the country at the time of the quake
53: U.N. workers still missing
At least 82: U.N. workers dead
27: U.N. workers injured or hospitalized
11,500: Americans and family members who have been evacuated
4,800: Americans unaccounted for

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Beautiful!

Happy 12th Birthday, Madelaine Grace
"Do not let anyone look down on your because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."
1 Timothy 4:12

Jan. 28, National Day of Prayer and Fasting for Orphans of Haiti

A call for national prayer and fasting on January 28th for the orphans of Haiti

(Kingsland, Texas) We are deeply grateful to God for all of the Haitian children who have been united with their adoptive parents. We sincerely thank all of the governors, senators, congressmen and government departments who have joined in the effort to secure the safety and well being of these defenseless Haitian orphans. Unfortunately, there now seems to be a mountain standing between the orphans who remain in Haiti and the safe and loving homes of their adoptive families. That mountain is the Haitian Government's new, and still undefined, exit process for children with foreign adoptive parents. With limited resources available to Haitian orphanages, this process has stopped the departure of orphans with humanitarian parole status and directly affects our ability to care for those children orphaned since the earthquake.

I call on all adoptive families, relatives, friends, churches, Christian ministries and all those who care for Haiti's orphans to set aside Thursday, January 28th, as a day of fasting and prayer. We are asking God to intervene, not only for the children in our Port-au-Prince orphanage, Maison des Enfants de Dieu, but also for all the surviving orphanages in Haiti. In addition, we want to include those children who now have no one and no place to go because of the limitations of Haitian orphanages. We would like you to specifically pray:

• For the immediate safety and security of the orphanages, the staff and children. In recent days, we have received verified reports of Haitian criminal gangs targeting orphanages as locations with potential stocks of food and water.

• That God will provide the water, formula, food, shelter and supplies needed by the surviving orphanages of Haiti to care for the swelling number new orphans. Our orphanage alone accepted 40 new orphans on Tuesday, January 26th, but many more have no place to go. The needs of these newly orphaned Haitians are immediate.

• That God will comfort and strengthen orphanage staffs in Haiti. Most have lost their homes and many have lost loved ones. Yet they have continued to selflessly serve the orphans in their care.

• That the ongoing discussions between the U.S. and Haitian governments will quickly produce a workable process to allow orphans to be united with their foreign adoptive parents where they will be safe and loved. And that the cries of the orphans will be heard in the hearts of the negotiators. Each child who departs Haiti opens up much needed space for those children who now have nothing and no one.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

When You Wish Upon a Star

We still don't know anything about the homograft and whether or not it will be a good match for Chrissie.  Apparently the supplier of the homograft thought it would be fun to make us wait even longer by not answering the cardiac surgeon's question.  (Just Kidding!)  The cardiac surgeon's office manager has been trying to obtain the answer to the surgeon's question from the homograft supplier, but the answer has not been given yet.  (I don't know what the question is, but whatever the answer is will give the final determination of whether or not this homograft is a match for Chrissie.)
I'm feeling a bit like Ferris Bueller's teacher:



Still no answer!  AAGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

But God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good. 

Even ESPECIALLY as we wait.

"He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of stars
and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord
and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit."
Psalm 147:3-5

If you're wishing upon stars, try asking our God instead; He is MIGHTY IN POWER.  He heals broken hearts.  He binds up wounds.  It is He who placed that falling star in the sky, and it is He who can tell you the name of the one that just disappeared before your very eyes.

His understanding has no limit.

But mine does.

Oh how very limited my understanding is.

While I'm focused on His healing of a broken heart (literally broken), He is busy lavishing us with good, surprising, perfect AMAZING gifts!

The phone rang this afternoon, and with an unrecognized number appearing on my screen, I anxiously answered it in hopes of hearing something about the homograft.

But it wasn't what I was hoping for.

It was what I was WISHING for!!!

We submitted a Make-A-Wish for Chrissie, and it was the Make-A-Wish Foundation notifying me that Chrissie was granted her wish, and Dr. Porisch (Chrissie's cardiologist) apparently asked the Make-A-Wish Foundation if they could grant Chrissie's wish BEFORE her surgery!!!  What normally takes 6-8 months, took a matter of minutes!  Chrissie has been moved to the top of the Make-A-Wish list, and their team will be coming to our home next week to finalize details!!!

Can you guess Chrissie's Make-A-Wish?!?

Princess Chrissie

Better watch out Cinderella (and Aurora, Belle, Snow White, and every other Disney Princess in history)...

Princess Chrissie is comin' to town!

Thanks Make-A-Wish for making this precious princess' wish come true!  (And for sending our ENTIRE family along to experience Chrissie's wish-come-true!!!)  Disney World has never seen a princess quite like this beautiful-brokenhearted-oh-so-treasured one.  Cinderella doesn't stand a chance with our Precious Princess (who actually looks at pictures of Cinderella and says, "Chrissie!"), LOL!

And all of this was made possible by our Ultimate Party Planner.  You know, the One who heals the brokenhearted, who is mighty in power, whose understanding has no limit.  Sure wish I planned half as good as He does!!! :-)

Happily Ever After!

PS  No, I don't have our Disney World travel date and, no, I still don't have Chrissie's surgery date.  But I can assure you that God does!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lean Not On Your Own Understanding

Is waiting as hard for you as it is for me?!? I am a planner at heart. I love organization. However, God is my Ultimate Day Planner, and I must relinquish all sense of control, in all situations to Him. God asks me to rely upon Him in ALL things, no matter how large or small. I have no control. It is all in His hands, and that's such a good thing!

It's easy to get caught up in wanting to plan for Chrissie's surgery. There's so much to prepare for: the care of our 4 children, our ranch, our pets, meals for the kids, Mattie's birthday on the 27th, appointments, packing to stay at the hospital, getting Chrissie's pre-op appointment, etc., etc., etc.

God says in Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL your ways, ackknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

Lord, help me to live out this verse by Your grace, in all circumstances, ALL of the time.

For those wondering about the homograft (cadaver part) for Chrissie, we are still waiting to hear whether or not it's a match. The cardiosurgeon reviewed the homograft, but needed a specific answer from the supplier, which he has not received yet. We are hoping that by this afternoon (Thurs.), we will know if it's a match, and I'll update as soon as I know. The surgery will for sure NOT be Monday, Jan. 25 or Tuesday, Jan. 26 because the surgeon is not available either of those days. We must first determine if this homograft is a match, and then we'll look at possible surgery dates. (The cardiologist and cardiosurgeon must also mesh their two schedules together, which adds another complexity.)

But, who's planning here?!? Not me. It's all God! :-)

Thank you for praying.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Birthday Blessings

We have so many blessings to be grateful for, but one that we are especially grateful for on this day is the blessing of friends.  When God adopts us into His family, He surrounds us with an amazing family of believers. There are no limits to God's blessings, and our simple minds cannot fathom a single thing He has plannned for us. Yet He continues to amaze us with abundant blessings, many of those He delivers through Christian friendships and selfless siblings in Christ. I pray you'll be blessed by the following story of friendship and birthday blessings, gifts from God Himself.

Our daughter, Mattie, has been raising money to support Abby, a 5 year-old girl who has 2 wishes: to have no more cancer and to adopt a sibling. Mattie has 1 wish:  to help Abby!

So, you're probably asking, "Who's Abby and how do you know her?!?"  Well, I think you'll be blessed to see how God has worked so intricately behind the scenes to "introduce" us to two families we had never even heard of until September, 2009.

The Block Family is a family of 10 who started a fund for Abby's Family, which is called the Pass It Forward Adoption Fund (PIF fund). The Blocks felt called to adopt from Africa (which would end up being their 5th adoption), so they began saving spare change in a pickle jar. Their pickle jar overfloweth when ONE anonymous donor sent them a donation of $20,000 to cover the cost of their international adoption!!! Instead of just thanking God for His blessings and moving forward with their own adoption, The Block Family felt called to pass the blessings forward by raising money to pay for SOMEONE ELSE'S adoption! So, they continued to fill their pickle jar and raise money for The Riggs Family, to one day cover the cost of an adoption wish that their daughter, Abby, has made. Talk about selfless. WOW! The Block Family felt God had blessed them so that they could bless another family. (They just didn't realize how many families they would bless along their path of obedience!)

So, for the month of September, 2009, The Blocks ate beans and rice for EVERY dinner (the ENTIRE month) in order to save money for the PIF fund. Prior to mid-September, I had never even heard of The Block Family. I rarely read blogs, but amidst Mattie's preparation to speak to our church regarding God's plan for the orphan, God directed me (through a whole different series of amazing blessings) to the Building the Blocks blog, which is the Block Family blog. God led me straight to the story of their family eating beans and rice for the month of September, which brought me to tears, and led me to share this with my family. (At this point, I had no idea about The Blocks PIF fund or how/why they started it, or anything, I was just blown away by the heart of this family with their beans and rice story.) We prayed for The Blocks and thanked God for their selflessness, and then shortly thereafter, Matt and I left for Serbia to adopt our 5th child. (Needless to say, we didn't read anymore blog posts for a while.)

God blessed us immensely with the gift of our Serbian daughter. We were blown away with this sweet, precious, happy girl who desperately needed open-heart surgery, yet no one would have known it upon meeting this smiley girl. We spent much time bonding as a family and visiting doctors, aligning surgery dates and hospital visits, etc. throughout the month of October and November. Then, the first Sunday of Advent, our family prayed individually and corporately, asking God to show us what gifts He wanted us to give Jesus for Christmas 2009.

That is when God brought The Block Family back into our hearts. Our daughter, Mattie, said she KNEW God wanted her to help "the beans and rice family" as Jesus' Christmas gift in 2009! We prayed often for God to bless Mattie's fundraising efforts, as she set out to raise $1,000 for the Pass It Forward Fund (which will be given to Abby's Family to support Abby's Wish). To read about Mattie's story of how she did raised money, click here. In short, Mattie prayed continuously, worked tirelessly, and gave selfessly.  God blew Mattie's socks off when she counted all of the monies at the end of December and found the amount to be $3,000! We traveled to the Dallas area at New Year's so that Mattie could personally present the $3,000 donation to The Block Family's Pass It Forward fund, which will be given to Abby's Family in support of Abby's Wish. We felt so privileged to be able to meet this selfless family who God had so beautifully woven into our lives just a few months prior, and Mattie was thrilled to donate the $3,000 that God made possible for her to raise.

Well, God didn't stop there with all of this. On our drive home from Dallas at New Year's, Mattie's heart was filled with joy about her donation, yet she felt burdened at the same time. While I thought it must be that she was feeling a little sad about giving up $3,000 (like most 11-year-olds would feel!), I couldn't have been more wrong!

Mattie felt sad, indeed, but her sadness was because she wanted to do MORE for the Pass It Forward fund for Abby's Wish!!!

Can you believe that?!? An eleven-year-old girl who felt burdened to raise MORE money, after already raising $3,000?!?  Surely this was not MY child.  I am not worthy!

And then, a few seconds after Mattie shared how she was feeling and how her heart was burdened to do MORE, our phone rang. 

And guess who it was?!?

A buyer for Mattie's iPhone that she had put up for sale on Craigslist in December in hopes of raising money to give to support Abby's Wish! Mattie was SOOOOOOOOOOOO excited because she knew that God was confirming that, indeed, He had called her to do MORE!!! Mattie sold her iPhone on our drive home from Dallas, and then she began planning her 12th birthday party...a "benefit" for Abby's Wish!

And guess what she asked for as her gifts from guests...

You got it...

donations for Abby's Wish!!!

And on the evening after Mattie's party, her heart is again overflowing with joy because God gave her teh best birthday gift ever!  $600 to donate to the PIF fund for Abby's Wish!!! And I have a feeling there'll be more donations coming because Mattie's "real" birthday isn't until January 27! (We had her party early due to Chrissie's surgery.)

And guess what else God did?!?

He brought The Block Family all the way to Wimberley to attend Mattie's b-day party (outside in the freezing cold), just to support Mattie in her fundraising efforts. Talk about making a girl feel special!

And guess what else God did?!?

The Riggs Family (Abby's family), sent every member of our family an "Abby's Wish" t-shirt, which we proudly wore to Mattie's b-day party as she raised money to support Abby's Wish. We've never even met The Riggs, but we have confidence that God will allow us to meet them one day, too. God seems to have a thing for selfless people, don't ya think?

Scripture tells us how we're adopted into God's family upon our acceptance of Christ as our Savior, but we never fathomed how God would bless us in our spiritual family. God has surrounded every member of our family with so many giving, caring, selfless, generous, loving, kind, unconditionally supportive siblings in Christ that we sometimes lose our breath about how good God is. To think that a family (The Blocks) would drive about 5 hours with 10 people in a Suburban just to support our little Mattie blows me away. And to think that another family (The Riggs) would spend their time and money to create and send us all t-shirts amidst ALL that they're going through (one daughter extremely ill with Leukemia and a son badly injured in a car accident who is going through rehab) simply takes my breath away.

Praise God for selfless families like The Blocks and The Riggs. And oh how blessed we are to have been chosen to be adopted into God's family. God chooses the best siblings, doesn't He?!? Thank you, God for blessing our family with the friendship and example of these godly families!

Happy 12th birthday, our precious Mattie! May God continue to bless you with amazing siblings in Christ, and may you continue to be an example of selflessness to the world. God has a mighty plan for you, our beloved daughter, and we are so undeserving to be your parents. Thank you God for birthday blessings.

Mattie's heart overflows with joy as she counts the donations
toward the Pass It Forward adoption fund for Abby's Wish!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Possible Match! Please Pray!

I received word Friday evening that a homograft became available that MIGHT be a possible match for Chrissie's needs. We won't know until Monday (or later) if the cardiosurgeon is comfortable with this homograft, but I'd like to ask you all to pray that it will be a PERFECT match for Chrissie! If it is a match, Chrissie will most likely have surgery January 25. Thanks so much for praying!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chrissie's Heart Surgery is POSTPONED!

Chrissie’s surgery has been postponed because an acceptable homograft (AKA "cadaver part") that they need for her has not yet become available. It is my understanding that Chrissie will have a cadaver pulmonary artery installed in her heart (since she was born without one), along with some other “parts”, which have to be added to the pulmonary artery, and her cardiosurgeon has not yet felt comfortable with any of the homografts that have become available over the last couple of months. Chrissie’s homograft order was placed back in November, 2009, and several homografts have become available since then, but none of those have been acceptable for use in Chrissie’s heart. I’m not sure what all of the specific requirements are, but I know the cardiosurgeon is being very cautious about which homograft t he accepts for use in repairing Chrissie’s heart, which is a good thing, given she has so many heart defects and pulmonary issues.

So, Chrissie remains on the waiting list for her homograft, but her cardiologist said that her health is stable in the meantime. We know that God has all of these details already planned out, right down to the specific homograft and the date of Chrissie’s surgery, so we have no need to worry or fret. We will just patiently wait for Him to disclose the details to us. Waiting develops patience, and I am always in need of opportunities to practice patience! :-)

As far as prayers go, we aren’t really sure what to pray, other than God’s will be done in His perfect timing, of course. Praying for this part to become available means that a “healthy” child of similar size to Chrissie must pass away, so that is not a prayer we feel really want to pray. We just ask for God’s good and perfect will to be done in His perfect timing, and we always trust in His omniscience and sovereignty. We have no control, which is a good thing. We want all glory to be given to our amazing God, the Lord of Healing, Jehovah Rapha.

We’ve been told that we will be called the moment an acceptable homograft arrives, and Chrissie will be able to have her surgery within a week or so if its arrival. We don’t know if the wait will be days, weeks, or months, but we know our Jehovah Rapha knows, and we will definitely let everyone know just as soon as we hear something.

Thank you for joining us on this journey, and we are so grateful for your prayers!

PS If you have a blog, please post Chrissie's prayer button (below or over on the right of my blog) on your blog. It is so heavy on my heart that Chrissie needs as many prayers as possible lifted to Him on her behalf, and getting her button out there will help spread the word to prayer warriors around the world. A Reece's Rainbow volunteer made the button for Chrissie, right down to Chrissie's specifications of having scrolls and pink! We are so blessed! Thanks Lucille! (Oh, the button will automatically update with the new surgery date once we are given that info. Lucille is going to change the button to say "Winter of 2010" as the surgery date for now.)

To Grab This Button

Be sure to right click on the box below and then select all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Children are a Gift

(click photo to enlarge)
Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from Him.
Psalm 127:3

We are forever blessed by His glorious gifts.

Thank you, God!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Lord Looks at the Heart

Our entire family, from the tallest to the smallest, is studying The Purpose Driven Life as our "New Year's Resolution" for 2010.  (God recently used this book to bring some amazing healing to our Colombian daughter, Meribeth, who has suffered much trauma in her young life.)  We began our Purpose Driven adventure January 2, which means that today we read and discussed Day 3.  (We got started a day late due to a camping excursion that we took and couldn't locate our books on Jan. 1!)  God led us into a deep conversation during our family devo time this evening.  The conversation revealed some unhealthy competition between two siblings, and how we sometimes, unknowingly, allow our lives to be driven by things that are not of significance in God's eyes.  This occurs when we care more about what others think about us than what God thinks and says about us.  (The best part of how God ended our conversation and healed a hurting heart comes at the end of this blog, so make sure you read all the way through!!!)

Let me begin with a short description about our reading today from The Purpose Driven Life.  The title of Day 3's reading is "What Drives Your Life?"  Rick Warren describes the things that many people allow to drive their lives, such as guilt, fear, resentment/anger, materialism, and the need for approval.  He goes on to explain how these things keep us from living the Purpose Driven Life that God has planned for us.  We must seek to discover God's purpose for our lives in order to live a life of purpose, His purpose.  We must let go of all of the things that might be our driving force, and ask God to be our One and Only driving force.  The "Question to Consider" at the end of Day 3's reading is this:  "What would my family and friends say is the driving force of my life?  What do I want it to be?"

Each member of our family took turns answering this question after we discussed in depth all that we got out of Day 3's reading.  When our 11 year-old daughter, Mattie, answered this question, she said things such as "helping others, caring about others, putting others before myself, building others up instead of tearing them down."  We all agreed that yes, those are definitely things we would say about Mattie and what drives her, which all goes back to Jesus b/c that is Who drives Mattie to do those things and live a selfless, compassionate life.  However, the conversation quickly revealed that Mattie's heart was hurting.  How could a heart of such selflessness and compassion be hurting so deeply?

It all boils down to beauty.  The world's definition of beauty.

You see, Mattie welcomed with open arms an 11 year-old sister into her life just a year ago.  This sister just happens to be 4 months older than Mattie.  This sister also happens to be a beautiful Colombian girl who has a beautiful face, gorgeous, to-die-for hair, a petite body...and she happens to look great in all of the hippest clothing and fashion.  

There was a time when Mattie was the only princess in the family.  She longed for a sister.  She prayed for a sister for YEARS.  God answered her prayers.  And Mattie even said to her daddy, on the day we committed to adopting Meribeth, the following words, "I know I won't be your little princess anymore, Daddy, but it's worth it to save the life of a child." 

Little did Mattie know what those words would actually mean.

Mattie has matured beyond measure over the last year:  emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  She has learned more in the past year than many people learn their entire lives...selflessness.  Mattie has poured out her heart for the love of her Colombian sister.  She has given until there was nothing left to give.  She joyfully shared her mom, her dad, her brothers, her time, her room, her bed, her closet, her clothes, her bathroom, her jewelry, but, most of all, she shared her heart, her whole heart, with her sister.

However, what happens when you put two girls, who are only 4 months apart, side by side as sisters overnight?  Competition.  Jealousy.  Sibling rivalry.  Love.  Growth.  Maturity.  Selflessness.  Love.  Learning.  Compassion.  Pain.  Love.  Joy.  Laughter.  Tears.  Love.

So, what does all of this have to do with a  hurting heart revealed during a discussion of Day 3 in Purpose Driven Life?  Looking at others for approval.  Looking at the world to tell us who we are.  Looking at the world's definition of beauty.  Not allowing God to be our driving force in every decision we make.

You see, Mattie will always be her daddy's little princess.  Nothing could ever change that.  But, princesses want to be beautiful.  They don't just want their daddies to tell them that they're beautiful and treasured, they want the WORLD to tell them that they're beautiful and treasured.  Unfortunately, the world defines beauty differently than our Daddy does.  The world looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

Mattie had been comparing her beauty to that of the outward beauty of her Colombian sister.  Mattie had been confused about her own beauty because of what she hears the world saying every time we go out in public.  "Oh, your sister is so beautiful."  "Oh, your sister has such gorgeous hair."  "Oh, your sister could be a model." 

"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."  Proverbs 31:30

That is what God says about beauty.  May we never forget it.  While the world might look at the outward appearance and ew and awe over the physical beauty of a person, the Lord looks at the heart. 

Nothing is more beautiful than a selfless, compassionate, kind, caring, generous, loving, giving heart.

Do you think that God cares about the hurting heart of an 11 year-old girl who has gotten confused about His message of beauty?!?

You betcha!

You MUST click HERE to see what God did to show Mattie just how beautiful she is and how much He cares about her!!!

This is amazing!

You really have to click HERE (or on the other "HERE") before you read any further!!!

Don't read anymore until you promise you have clicked HERE (or on either of the other 2 "HERE"s) AND READ atleast the TITLE of this blog post!!! (You'll be blessed to read the whole blog post, but if you don't have time to click HERE, this is the title of Amy Block's blog post from tonight:

A Heart Like Mattie's

That is the title of a blog post about having a heart like Mattie's!!!  Our Mattie.  Our princess. 

And, Mattie said with tears steaming from the corner of her eye after reading this blog post, "Mom, she called me beautiful!"

If that isn't God, I don't know what is.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."  Colossian 3:17.

Now that's beauty.

Thank you, Lord Jesus.  Glory to God in the highest!  We praise You and give You thanks, Daddy!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Eve at Fossil Rim Wildlife Adventure!

Yesterday (Dec. 30), we loaded the family into our RV and headed to Arlington to ring in the new year at Six Flags and meet an adoptive blog family who our daughter, Mattie, is trying to raise money to support their Pass It Forward adoption fund for Abby's Wish.  As we were driving down I-35, we saw a billboard for Fossil Rim Wildlife Adventure Park in Glen Rose, Texas.  We had visited this park when our bio kids were toddlers, so being the spur-of-the-moment adventuresome family that we are, we decided to pull over in Glen Rose, start the generator and sleep in the parking lot of the community center so that we could visit Fossil Rim the morning of the 31st prior to our Six Flags Over Texas outing.

Fossil Rim is a 1700-acre drive-thru wildlife safari featuring a variety of native and African animals , but they wouldn't allow us to drive our RV through the park.  However, we decided to have a guided tour on one of their open air vehicles, which was WAY better than trying to see animals from our RV.  This was a SUPER-FUN treat as we got our own personal tour guide who knew a lot about animals (not quite as much as our animal-loving children though! :-), AND the animals came right up to us to be hand-fed and petted throughout the ranch.  All of the kids loved it, and we're grateful we had the opportunity to do this before our rainy, cold Six Flags outing!

We (Matt, Lorraine and Chrissie) are now sitting in our RV in the parking lot at Six Flags Over Texas where it's raining and 33 degres.  We aren't taking Chrissie out in this weather, so we're watching Barney, reading, coloring, talking, playing, and blogging!   The older kids are bundled in ski clothes enjoying the rides and feeling like we're in Colorado!!!  We have a great view of the rides and lights from the warmth of our RV, so we're quite content in here.  We have our oldest "adopted" children, Emily (16) and Samantha (18), with us, so our other 4 kids are in good hands while enjoying the park.  (Emily and Samantha and their mom, Stephanie, are part of God's ministry in our family.   God wove them intimately into our family about six years ago, and now they live on our ranch where Stephanie teaches our children at the homeschool academy God created for our family as He called us to adoption and orphan rescue ministry.)  Samantha and Emily were our first "adopted" children, even though they're not officially adopted, we view them as family members.  We are blessed beyond measure!

Hoping your family is warm and safe this New Year's Eve, and we wish you a blessed 2010!  Here are some Fossil Rim photos:

The Patterson Party of 9 on the open air vehicle at Fossil Rim.

Chrissie (age 4, Serbia) and Meribeth (age 12, Colombia)

Mommy and Chrissie enjoying the COLD tour!  (My head isn't really that tall, I promise!)

Samantha and Emily Hall, trying to stay warm!

Daddy and his precious princess, Chrissie.  (Chrissie is wearing Mattie's old ski coat, which was HUGE, but WARM!)

The animals ate right out of our hands!

A beautiful chocolate fallow buck.

Parker was taking a photo of this axis buck with his phone as I snapped a digital photo.  The buck wanted to know all about Parker's phone!

Sawyer loved feeding the animals right out of his hand, and at one point
an ostrich tried to steal his glove (not in this photo).

Forgot what type of animal this was, but he was pretty!

This giraffe was so sweet!  He ate from everyone's hand, and he didn't want us to leave.  What good manners he displayed!

This is an antelope bull (I think) who fell in love with Mattie and Meribeth.  He would have climbed into the truck with us had we let him!  What a sweetie!

This guy was literally kissing Sawyer!!!

And another bull who wanted to get in the truck with us!  Parker was trying to keep him from stealing his cup of food!  All of the other animals were whining (literally) when this guy came around.  Apparently he was the big bully who everyone was afraid of!!!

Y'all come back now, ya hear?!?
blog comments powered by Disqus