Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Have We Got a Show For You!

Halloween 2012 Cooper and Conner 063

I must say I’ve never wanted to gobble up veggies so badly in my life!!!


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I think Cooper and Conner feared I might actually gobble them up!


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What a mouth-watering tomato!!!


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A cucumber never looked so yummy!


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Have we got a show for you!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Selah Will be in Gifted Hands


Have you ever heard of Dr. Ben Carson, neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland?  If you haven’t heard of him, I encourage you to Google his name, read his autobiography entitled Gifted Hands, and watch the movie about his life, also entitled Gifted Hands.  Dr. Carson has an incredible testimony.  He’s been awarded 60+ honorary doctorate degrees, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, successfully separated twins conjoined at the brain, developed brain surgeries/procedures that no one else had ever performed (or even thought to do), plus many more achievements too numerous to list.


But the thing I love most about Dr. Carson is that he gives all glory to God, which is hard to find in the medical community.  God gave Dr. Carson his gifted hands, and he uses his talent for God’s glory.  Dr. Carson is the top neurosurgeon in the world, and he doesn’t take credit for this—he gives all the credit to God.


Why am I sharing about Dr. Carson?


Well, Selah is going to see Dr. Ben Carson November 30!!!


After I wrote THIS post, several people suggested that I contact Dr. Carson to see if he would review her case.  I had seen Dr. Carson’s movie a couple of years ago, but I never once thought about taking Selah to see him.  In fact, the first few times I saw the suggestions from readers that I should contact Dr. Carson for Selah’s case, I dismissed the idea.  Selah already has a great neurosurgeon, and her problems seem to be more neurological/behavioral at this point, so why would we need to see another neurosurgeon?!?!


After about the fifth time of reading comments and emails about taking Selah to see Dr. Carson, I briefly considered it.  Then I talked myself out of it again, viewing the idea from a logical standpoint.  First of all, how would we even get an appointment with Dr. Carson, and then, if we did, WHY would we need to see him?!?!


So, I dismissed the idea completely, for good.


Then, just before bed that night, I opened my laptop (for the first time that day/night), when lo and behold, what to my wondering eyes would appear?!?!


Dr. Ben Carson’s story was open on my laptop.  I hadn’t Googled his name, hadn’t searched for info on him, hadn’t done anything to make his name appear on my laptop.  It wasn’t in an email either.  It was on Facebook!  On someone’s status update (a person I don’t personally know), the very first status update that popped up on my screen, I read words that went something like this, “Have you seen Dr. Ben Carson’s movie Gifted Hands?  Awesome movie about an awesome neurosurgeon offering awesome hope to those with brain issues.”


OK, y’all, that movie was released in 2009, yet someone is urging people to watch it in 2012, at the very time that I had dismissed the idea of contacting Dr. Ben Carson.


Alright God, gotcha, I thought to myself.  I’ll research contacting Dr. Ben Carson to see if it’s even possible to see him.


The following day, which was a Saturday, I called and left a message for Dr. Ben Carson at a phone number in Maryland.  I explained Selah’s diagnoses and her current struggles with behavior issues.  I left my phone number in case someone wanted to return my call.  I prayed that if God wanted Selah to see Dr. Carson, that He would do whatever necessary with that message to make His will known.


Monday morning, just two days after I left that message, I received a phone call from the office manager of Dr. Ben Carson, letting me know that he would see Selah!!!!!!!!  She acted so calm and mature, like this was no big deal, so I withheld my screams and squeals of delight until after I hung up the phone. Smile


I had to fill out some paperwork and send Selah’s medical records to Dr. Carson’s office, which I did quickly, and then I received a phone call last week telling me the date of Selah’s appointment.


November 30.


I was (still am) completely stunned.  I still don’t know exactly why God has Selah seeing Dr. Carson, since he’s a neurosurgeon and, to my knowledge, Selah doesn’t need more neurosurgery at this point.  But I'm trusting God has a plan in this, even though I have no clue what it is!!!


And we found out Friday that Selah’s EEG, that was done the night of her sleep study (Aug. 28), shows Selah is having seizures in her sleep.  We’ve been dissatisfied with Selah’s current neurological care (neurosurgeon is great, but her neurologist doesn’t have time to see her except every 4-6 months).  I called Selah’s neurologist’s office twice to inquire about medicating Selah for her seizures, but was told her neurologist wants to wait until her next visit, which is at the end of February.


We’ve also noticed Selah having “absent seizures” during the day, which I’ve told the neurologist about numerous times.  He still doesn’t want to medicate Selah.  I’m not sure why.  Selah has a documented seizure disorder and she was on Keppra (anti-seizure medication) until 12 months of age, so I’m perplexed as to why her neurologist doesn’t want to treat the current seizures.


So, I sent an email to Dr. Carson as well as to another email address for Johns Hopkins’ neurology appointments to inquire about Selah seeing a neurologist as Johns Hopkins as well.  Johns Hopkins is the top neurology and neurosurgery hospital in the world, so I’m eager to see what God has in store during Selah’s visit there.


Meanwhile, Selah is now on Risperdal, which has improved her daytime behaviors by about 15%.  Her sleep has been more disrupted by Risperdal though, which wasn’t expected.  Keep praying for Selah, for answers, for help to give her the best quality of life with the best opportunities for her future.


Thank you!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Road Trip!

We're road tripping to Oklahoma for the National Team Roping Finals. Our oldest two sons, Parker and Sawyer, are roping in the competition Friday-Sunday, and I'm so excited to get to watch them!!!

Unfortunately, Sawyer broke his wrist Monday night in a team roping accident. He's such a tough cowboy--he's planning to rope despite his broken wrist. He won't let anything prevent him from roping in this event!!!

Satan's been trying diligently to steal the joy of this trip and to rob the boys of their team roping achievements. He will not win!!! Parker had a high fever, severe headache, body aches, and vomiting yesterday (said he felt worse than he had in his life!), but his fever has broken and he's on the road to recovery. He ropes tomorrow (Friday), so keep him in your prayers for a speedy and full recovery. He, too, won't let anything prevent him from roping!!!

Not even 20 minutes into our trip, we had a tire blow out on the RV. But, again, Satan won't win! We made it to a tire shop and God wins again!!! He always does--praise Him!

Oh, speaking of His victories, I keep forgetting to report here that the IRS finally accepted our 2009 adoption of Chrissie!!! Hallelujah! After almost a year of defending ourselves, with all required receipts and evidence, submitting everything four separate times, involving our senator and a tax advocate, we're so grateful to have that mountain moved. Thank you to those who prayed for that situation.

So grateful for the protection and provision of our faithful Father. It's always an awesome adventure when your guide is the King of kings!

Sent from Lorraine's iPhone

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Adeye’s at it Again!

Click HERE to check out an awesome giveaway on my friend Adeye’s blog.  She’s at it again, and this time she’s hosting a giveaway to help bring 65 orphans into forever families.  Love Adeye and her compassionate, generous, selfless heart. 


There are 51 links to 51 fundraisers.  This is a great way to buy some Christmas gifts while you help rescue an orphan, and you also have a shot to win a $100 gift card if you donate and/or share about the giveaway! 


I purchased a shirt (link #40—love those shirts!).  I’m a sucker for orphan shirts that include scripture, so that’s why I chose to purchase that shirt.  I’m always on the hunt for an adoption shirt with scripture…let me know if y’all know of any others.  So far, I think I might have collected every single one of them!!!


Anyway, I pray for abundant blessings upon these families who are working so hard to bring their children home.  I know there are countless others out there.  Sometimes the need seems insurmountable, but we have to remember that every penny adds up. There’s no donation too small.  If each person would give something, it would quickly add up to something significant.  Every donation matters.


Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I had something cross my mind this morning that I hadn’t really thought about before. Then I felt the Lord nudging me to share it here.  Perhaps He plans to use this as a little encouragement to someone out there?!?!


For most of my life, I was pretty much petrified of needles.  And the sight of blood.  I would nearly pass out at the sight of either.


I recall many occasions when I had to sit down and breathe deeply because I saw someone’s blood.  Seriously.


One time my little brother cut his hand with a pocket knife.  I accompanied him to the doctor’s office.  I still vividly recall my sweating palms, weak knees, and swirling head.  I recall a nurse telling me to sit in a chair, and helping me to that chair--outside of the examining room so I could avoid fainting due to the sight of the blood.


I also recall trying to be the brave sister when my older brother would lock himself in the bathroom, or in the car, when he knew he had to get a shot, whether it be due to immunizations or penicillin.  I stayed with him on more than one occasion, for moral support, but really it was because I feared the needle as much as he did.


I recall my first pregnancy, the utter shock when they said they’d have to take blood at the first appointment.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  NO!!!  Being pregnant didn’t have to involve needles, did it?!?!


I recall praying and believing that God would never give me a medically fragile child because I wouldn’t be able to stay in the examination room for any check-ups, and I surely wouldn’t be able to go near an operating room, ER, or hospital.  Gosh, I didn’t even think about immunizations in a healthy child and how that would involve needles!!! 


Well, the part of this story that I felt God might use as some encouragement is that I no longer fear needles.  Or blood.  Or OR’s, ER’s, or hospitals.  In fact, I can help guide a needle to draw blood when a nurse can’t get it in a particular child’s vein (mainly because I know certain veins in certain kids and which veins roll and which veins are at a particular angle, which veins require deep pressure and which ones require light, just because I’ve watched so many blood draws…and attempts at blood draws).


And God has sent me several medically fragile/needy children to care for, even when I prayed and believed He’d never ask me to do that because there was simply NO WAY *I* could do it.


The truth is, *I* could NOT do it, but God could.  It wasn’t like I woke up one day and realized that I was healed of my phobias.  And it wasn’t like I waited for God to heal me before I said YES to caring for a medically needy child.  Nope, it was all part of God’s process.  My obedience, despite my fear, and His healing, despite the timing.  It would all work out for His glory, His plan, His timing.


I cannot even count the number of ER visits, OR visits, medical procedures, days spent in the hospital beside a kiddo (or my hubby), nor do any of the procedures bother me in the slightest.  This is not because *I* made this decision, it’s because God did.  I had nothing to do with it but to obey whatever God asked of me, despite my fear or feelings of how I could never do so and so or such and such!


I pray someone will be encouraged by this today.  Be encouraged to obey, even if all of the fears and kinks haven’t been worked out.  If God leads you into something, He’s going to lead you through it.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  He might even bring you to a place you never thought you could go.  The truth is that *we* can’t go most places on our own, but with God, all things are possible.









Monday, October 22, 2012

Do You Know the 3 Genetic Variations of Ds?

October is Down Syndrome awareness month.  I’ve enjoyed browsing various Facebook status updates this month related to Down syndrome facts and awareness.  I’m still pretty clueless about all the Down syndrome facts, but one thing I know for sure:  children with Down syndrome don’t deserve to be locked up in dark rooms, kept in cribs 24/7, and discarded as trash.


I know, without a doubt, that Cooper and Conner would be further ahead developmentally if they would have been given a chance.  Unfortunately, in their former country, people with Down syndrome are not given the same opportunities as “typical” children.  In fact, most people with Down syndrome in Ukraine are tucked away, hidden from society, believed to be mistakes, unworthy of an education, incapable of learning, seen as a burden instead of a blessing.  This same viewpoint was held in America at one time, too.  Education is key.


I just wish we’d have gotten to our sons sooner.  Six years of living in a crib 24/7 without stimulation, without love, without family, well, I just cannot imagine.  But our boys are still full of love and hugs, even after years of abuse and neglect.  People say that extra 21st chromosome is where love and hugs are found.  I’m not sure that a typical child locked away for six years would transition to family life as well as Conner and Cooper have.


When Cooper and Conner first came home, many people asked if we were sure they both had Down syndrome.  Even the medical personnel questioned this.  When the boys spent 8 days at Dell Children’s Hospital in March (right after they came home), genetic tests were ordered.


The genetic testing confirmed that both Conner and Cooper have Down syndrome.  But, interestingly, they both have different types of Down syndrome.


The three genetic variations that can cause Down syndrome include:

  • Trisomy 21. More than 90 percent of the time, Down syndrome is caused by trisomy 21. A child with trisomy 21 has three copies of chromosome 21 — instead of the usual two copies — in all of his or her cells. This form of Down syndrome is caused by abnormal cell division during the development of the sperm cell or the egg cell.
  • Mosaic Down syndrome. In this rare form of Down syndrome, children have some cells with an extra copy of chromosome 21. This mosaic of normal and abnormal cells is caused by abnormal cell division after fertilization.
  • Translocation Down syndrome. Down syndrome can also occur when part of chromosome 21 becomes attached (translocated) onto another chromosome, before or at conception. Children with translocation Down syndrome have the usual two copies of chromosome 21, but they also have additional material from chromosome 21 attached to the translocated chromosome. This form of Down syndrome is uncommon.


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Conner has Trisomy 21, which is the most common genetic variation of Down syndrome. Conner has three copies of Chromosome 21 (instead of the usual 2). 



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Cooper has Translocation Down Syndrome, which accounts for less than 4% of all cases of Down syndrome. Cooper has the traditional two copies of the 21st chromosome, but he also has additional material from the 21st chromosome that has attached (translocated) to another chromosome, resulting in Down syndrome.


No matter the genetic reasoning behind their Down syndrome, Cooper and Conner both deserve love and life.  It’s been quite miraculous to witness how much progress both boys have made over the past seven months.

  • Both boys are now eating soft foods (not just pureed foods).
  • Both boys are learning to feed themselves and will pick up soft finger foods and place the food into their mouths.  They will also hold a spoon and will attempt to feed themselves, as long as someone is close by to keep them from throwing the spoon! Smile
  • Both boys are mimicking sounds.  Conner has said Momma several times.
  • Both boys are much smarter than many people think.  They’re able to make associations and predictions.  They have definite likes and dislikes.  They are both mischievous and laugh whenever the other one does something wrong (like grab something and throw it across the room just because it’s within reach).
  • Cooper is S-T-U-B-B-O-R-N!!!  He can do far more than he leads people to believe.  Fortunately, I’m more stubborn than he is, so I will wait him out, which sometimes means an extra 1.5 hours until one of us gives in.  It’s usually Cooper who gives in, but not without a fight. Smile Cooper is great at fooling people into believing he can’t do something, when he really can, he just knows how to work his cuteness in his favor. Smile
  • Conner gives wet kisses often. And he hugs everyone he sees.
  • Cooper is learning to show affection through hugs instead of hitting (which is what was modeled for him for his first six years).
  • Both boys are growing exponentially and amaze us every single day with how much they’re learning and doing and progressing.  Each time the boys’ teachers and specialists write their goals, it seems that they meet the goals by the end of the week, and sometimes by the end of the day!
  • Conner is now walking independently and has finally chosen this as his preferred mode of transportation.
  • Cooper is now taking a few steps independently, and he will walk alongside someone for long distances as long as he has the security of holding someone’s hand.
  • Both boys are sweet blessings of the Lord.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Big Fat Thank You…and Party Favor Winners

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Our family’s going CRAZY over how much you blessed us and the special needs orphans at Village of Hope in Guatemala!!!


I bet you can hear us all shouting with squeals and screams of gratitude and glee, “THANK YOU!!!!!!!”


WOW, a total of 53 toys were donated to Village of Hope—Guatemala, in memory of Chrissie’s 7th birthday.  The toys valued at $2,833.02!!!  (Actually, a few extra toys were donated (not from the Amazon Wish List) that are not included in this total figure!!!)


A total of $915 was donated via the ChipIn, in memory of Chrissie.  A few more donations were mailed, but those are not accounted for in this total.


That means a total of $3,748.02 was given in memory of Chrissie’s 7th birthday.  Actually, it’s probably closer to $3,800 because of the extra gifts and donations that haven’t been accounted for yet.


I bet you’re saying “WOW” now, too!!!!!!!  And I think I hear your squeals and screams of delight!!!


Isn’t that just amazing?  A week long fundraiser in memory of our daughter blessed our socks off AND will bless the socks off special needs orphans in Guatemala.  God is good!!!


I’m so very grateful to each and every one of you who prayed, shared, and donated.  This was all made possible by you.  God poured out His abundant blessings upon this fundraiser, and my mouth is now gaping as I stare at the totals, a picture of His goodness. 




THANK YOU!!!!!!!!


Oh, and no party is complete without passing out the party favors!!!  Below is a list of the party favors winners.


Winner of Sterliing Silver and 14K Gold Necklace is Roberta Fanelli



Winner of Autographed Boss Your Heart Book is Christine N




Winner of Boss Your Heart little girl’s shirt (size 2T) and girl’s stampers is Chelsea T



Winner of Boss Your Heart shirt (size 2T) and Boy Stampers is Kathi Lolla




Winner of Boss Your Heart shirt (size 3T) and cowboy owl pillow is Kelsey Jakubauskas




Winners of the handmade bead necklaces from Uganda:

  1. Dannon McMullen Jones
  2. Lyn
  3. Kara
  4. Lydia Whitt Rosencrants
  5. rdf30s
  6. Laura Lynn
  7. Emily Schmidlin



Winner of the USANA Children’s Vitamins is Shelley


Winners, please email me at BossYourHeart (at) gmail (dot) com to give me your shipping address (please write “Boss Your Heart party favor winner” in the email subject line so I can find your email more easily).  Be sure to include in your email the shipping info (shipping name and address).


Winners must contact me and give me this information within one week (7 days) or a new winner will be chosen.


PS  It was on this very day in 2010 that Chrissie became an American citizen, as she stepped foot for the first time on US soil.  Our plane arrived in Houston, and Chrissie exited the plane, walking through customs and into the airport saying, “Hi, y’all!” to everyone.  She met all the members of her forever family for the very first time.  She knew her siblings and greeted them with warm, gentle, genuine hugs.  Oh how we look forward to the day Chrissie greets us like that in heaven!!!


PPS  Happy 21st birthday, Samantha!!!!!!!  We’re so very proud of you!  We love and miss you!!!

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Last Day of Boss Your Heart Birthday Benefit

Today would have been my mom’s 68th birthday.  It’s still hard to believe the shock the night of December 23, 2011 delivered.  It’s still hard to understand God’s plans, because we have such painfully limited vision of the bigger picture.  I’m grateful for the one constant in all of this unexpected change—we still trust, worship, and adore our Savior, regardless of our limited understanding of His ways.  No matter what, His ways are ALWAYS higher.  Always.


Today is the final day of the Boss Your Heart Birthday Benefit.  It’s been good this past week to have my mind focused on helping special needs orphans at Village of Hope—Guatemala, in memory of Chrissie.  Satan would love to steal our joy, especially with two birthdays back to back, exactly a week apart, of two of the most special people in my life (Chrissie and my mom), who both now reside in heaven instead of here on earth.  But Jesus has already won this battle, so we keep our eyes fixed on Him.  I remind myself often that Chrissie and my mom are the blessed ones, getting to eat all the brownie batter they want in Paradise.  Earth is not our home, heaven is, and I look forward to the day when we’ll all be reunited again.


Christmas 2009 044


Helping orphans, particularly in memory of Chrissie, brings joy and peace that passes understanding.  Having so many of you join us on this mission truly does wonders for our hearts.  To see so many people, most of whom we’ve never met, give so selflessly—it’s just overwhelming.  That overwhelming feeling squeezes the sadness out of our hearts as Jesus replaces it with His joy.


I’ve been completely blown away by the incredible support displayed in this mission.  53 of 56 toys on the Village of Hope—Guatemala Amazon Wish List have been purchased (and we still have today!).  These toys were not inexpensive either, in fact, many of the toys cost over $100/item, and yet God has chosen to bless this toy drive abundantly by providing so many selfless and caring givers.  And, in addition to the 53 toys purchased, $815 in monetary donations has been given.  I am in awe.  There will never be adequate words to express our gratitude.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Today is the last day of the toy drive.  Be sure to get in on the giveaway of party favors, too (leave a comment on THIS post to enter).  Hurry, everything will end at midnight CST, Oct. 15—tonight.


Here are the details again—it’s not too late (up until midnight CST Oct 15):

  • Purchase a toy online by clicking HERE. This link will take you to the Amazon wish list for Village of Hope—Guatemala. When you purchase toys directly from this Amazon wish list, when you check out, you will see the option to have the toys shipped to my friend Gina, who will then ship ALL of the toys directly to Village of Hope—Guatemala. Think BIG—gather your small group buddies, Sunday School class members, neighbors, Facebook friends, and your family to pool your money together to purchase sturdy toys that will withstand much lovin’ from many special needs orphans. Perhaps you could donate a toy in honor of a loved one as a Christmas gift? Think out of the box and let’s bless the socks off the orphans who will soon be living at Village of Hope—Guatemala.
  • You may donate your gently used toys, in a good condition, to Village of Hope—Guatemala. VOH will need good sturdy toys that will hold up to the love of many children. Thrift stores and garage sales often have fabulous toys at fabulous prices. If you’d like to donate gently used toys, you will need to ship the toys directly to my friend Gina, and then she will ship all of the toys directly to Village of Hope—Guatemala. Click HERE to contact Gina for shipping details (or email her directly at
  • Donate money directly to Village of Hope—Guatemala, in memory of Chrissie. Tax-deductible donations may be given directly via the Chip-In gadget below. Our goal is to raise $7,000 because Chrissie would have turned 7 on her birthday this year on earth (October 8, 2012).
  • HURRY, Chrissie’s virtual birthday benefit is only ONE WEEK long! October 8, 2012-October 15, 2012. We’ve got 7 days to raise $7,000—that’s $1K per day. God can do this! Spread the word, pray, donate! Help us help orphans in memory of Chrissie. Thank you!!!
  • Oh, and we’ve got some fun “party favors” to throw in. See details on this post.

All donations given in memory of Chrissie during her virtual Boss Your Heart Birthday Benefit will be dedicated to purchasing much needed toys, educational items, and play equipment for Village of Hope—Guatemala. Your donations are tax-deductible and all funds donated in memory of Chrissie will go directly to Village of Hope—Guatemala to help provide FUN (in addition to faith, family, and future) to special needs orphans in Guatemala.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Yesterday blew me away.  40 toys have been purchased from the Village of Hope Amazon Wish list, in memory of Chrissie.  WOW!!!  I cannot thank you all enough.  This is happening because God’s army is working together for the least of these.  What a beautiful thing.  Your prayers are so important to this benefit, and every time you share this story, it’s a chance for someone else’s eyes to be opened to God’s love for the orphan and His provision, right down to the details of toys.  Thank you so much!!!


Just in case you’d like to view a small glimpse of what the special needs orphan in Guatemala will experience when they play with one of the many toys that have been donated in memory of Chrissie, watch this video:

Oh my, how we miss that laugh.  This video was taken just 8 days after Chrissie got home from Serbia. That is JOY, folks, PURE JOY!!!


The Jack-In-The-Box toy that brought so much laughter to Chrissie was donated to us, just like you’re donating toys to the special needs orphans at Village of Hope in Guatemala.  I know without a doubt that the toys donated will bring joy, smiles, and laughter to these kiddos, just like this toy brought to Chrissie.


Thank you so much for praying, sharing, and donating.  I can’t express my gratitude adequately, not sure there are words.  Our hurting hearts receive so much comfort and healing when we see God’s people move in memory of our daughter.  This salve is better than any boo-boo bandage out there.  Thank you.


PS  Don’t forget to click HERE to register for a party favor and to view the story of the Boss Your Heart Birthday Benefit.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Love the Way God Works!!!

I just love watching the various ways God works.  His ability to accomplish His will is beyond my ability to fathom.  Well, everything about our mighty Father is basically beyond my ability to fathom.


Take a look at these screenshots of a friend’s Facebook page (the first photo is the status update of Chelsea, and the second photo is a screenshot of the comments that followed Chelsea’s update):

photo 1

photo 2


OK, I’m just blown away by this.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how God works!!!  He sent a dream (multiple dreams) to Chelsea about Guatemalan orphans last night, and He rattled her so much that she got up at 4:30AM and purchased toys for the orphans, in memory of Chrissie!!!


As if that wasn’t enough to bless me this morning, I then saw that one of Chelsea’s friends also had a dream about an orphan last night, then saw Chelsea’s status update AND WAS MOVED to purchase a toy in memory of Chrissie.




I just can’t get over how God works.  Man, can I get a shout out for how much we adore God and His miraculous ways?!?!  WOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Alright, now for an update on where we’re at with the Boss Your Heart Birthday Benefit for special needs orphans at Village of Hope in Guatemala.  As of 1PM Thursday 10/11/12 (love that date!), over 35 toys have been purchased/donated and $702 have been donated to purchase toys/educational items/play equipment for the special needs orphans at Village of Hope.


Let’s get another big shout out for this success!!!  Go God and go God’s people!!!  Y’all ROCK!!!  Keep up the fabulous work of praying, sharing, and donating. 


Oh, and just to remind you that there’s no judgment or criticism in any way for those who aren’t able to donate.  Please know that my pleas are not made with a critical spirit, I’m just rallying for the special needs orphans at VOH who are so heavy on my heart.  The more we share the need, the more people’s eyes will be open, the more hearts will be touched, the more lives will be affected, the more smiles will be brought to orphans.  “Prayer and Share” are equally important (if not more!) than donating because this is a team effort.  God’s hands and feet are not from just one person.  It’s all of His people working together, serving the orphan in whatever way He calls.  Praying and sharing the need are ways to serve.  Prayer is the most important ingredient of this benefit, and I’m so very grateful for every prayer lifted, every shared message, every ounce of support, and every toy and dollar donated.  This is all for His glory.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!


Click HERE to enter the “party favor” giveaway and to view the info about the Boss Your Heart Birthday Benefit.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Toys for Guats


It’s time to get this party started, peeps!


We’ve raised $535 for Village of Hope—Guatemala and 20 toys have been purchased via the Amazon Wish List.  We’re SOOOOOO grateful for all those who have so generously and selflessly given, shared, prayed, and supported this benefit in memory of our precious princess.


Keep up the good work!  Let’s all do our best to raise awareness for this “Toys for Guats” mission!  (Not to be confused with ‘Toys for Tots’:-)


Click HERE to view more about the reasons why we’re begging you to help us with this benefit.


Click HERE to get registered to possibly win some party favors (giveaways)!


Thanks for sharing, praying, giving, and supporting—you mean the world to us!!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sad Hearts Transformed to Smiley Ones

Last night, we celebrated what would have been Chrissie’s 7th birthday.  I’ve got pictures to share below, but first, I’d like to remind you to help us spread the word about the online toy drive benefiting special needs orphans at Village of Hope in Guatemala, in memory of our princess


Click HERE to read more about that in case you missed it.  We absolutely cannot do this without your help and support.  We need you to help carry out Chrissie’s legacy here on earth.  Help us help orphans in memory of a very special princess who was once a Serbian orphan.


There’s lots of ways to help, and there’s even some fun party favors involved!  Read, pray, share, donate.  We’re so grateful for your help.


“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” –John 14:18

2012 good camera pics 256

In case you didn’t know, Chrissie’s FAVORITE food in the whole wide world was BROWNIES, so, of course, we celebrated what would have been Chrissie’s 7th birthday with some ooey, gooey, chocolate-caramel overload brownies that Chrissie would have loved.  Yum!

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We were blessed to have our precious friend, Rowan, join us for the celebration.  Rowan was recently released from the hospital after his 53rd surgery, with the most recent surgery being a massive brain surgery.  What a miracle to have him standing in our home on what would have been Chrissie’s 7th birthday!

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Not only did Rowan bless us with a hand-drawn picture, roses, cupcakes, a princess balloon, a hand-made Chrissie bookmark for my Bible, and a beautiful card, but he also blessed us immeasurably by blowing out Chrissie’s candles (see video below).  Rowan is truly a hero, such an amazing inspiration and blessing to many, but such a special young man to our family.  Click HERE to read a little more about his amazing God-connection to Chrissie.

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God always decorates for Chrissie’s parties.  Can’t beat this custom decoration—God painted the sky with a heart in the middle of the clouds, just above Chrissie’s grave (look at the blue heart shaped sky in the center of the clouds and use your cloud picture imagination to see it):

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Chrissie’s horse, Navidad, joined us from the pasture.

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After it got dark, we brought some fun glow-in-the-dark pink princess balloons to Chrissie’s grave.  It’s a tradition for us to release balloons in memory of Chrissie, but we’ve never released glow-in-the-dark balloons.  What fun!

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The camera flash ruined the effect of capturing the glow of the balloons, but they were really awesome. :-)

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We said a prayer, then sang happy birthday again to Chrissie, then released 7 balloons.  (It was really dark by this time, so the camera had a really hard time capturing the balloons.  The night setting on the camera made it look like there were more than 7 balloons in the sky, but there really were 7 glow-in-the-dark balloons released.)

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Every single time that we’ve released balloons, there’s ALWAYS one balloon that doesn’t go up into the sky.  Always. 


We have a pond on our ranch that Chrissie named “Lake Palic”, after a beautiful lake in Serbia near the small town of Subotica, where Chrissie’s orphanage was.  There’s ALWAYS one balloon that hovers over our Lake Palic.  Always.


The three photos below capture the presence of this one pink glow-in-the-dark princess HELIUM balloon that hovered over our Lake Palic after its release.  It didn’t fly toward heaven with the rest of the balloons.  The photos below show the balloon with its reflection in the pond.

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I LOVE how God sends us reminders of His presence.  When there’s no reason why this one balloon should have stayed around and hovered over our Lake Palic, we have no doubt that it’s God.  He gently whispers His presence to our hurting hearts and somehow turns that sad face to a smile.  He’s just so good at that!


And speaking of God’s smiles, here are a few snapshots of what Rowan and his mom brought us.


Rowan always draws the best pictures for Chrissie, and his explanations always turn a sad face into a smile. 

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And, of course, Rowan’s mom knows how to bring smiles, too.  I love the card she chose for us, but I love the hand-quilted bookmark even more. 

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God is good, and He displays much of His goodness through the actions of His hands and feet here on earth, the ones who serve Him by loving on others.


God is using all of you who have donated in memory of Chrissie to bring smiles to special needs orphans in Guatemala.  When these orphans play with the toys you’re donating to Village of Hope—Guatemala, in memory of Chrissie, the sadness in their hearts will feel the love of their Savior, turning sad faces into smiley ones.  Just as you’ve turned our sad hearts into smiley ones, these orphans will feel that same love.


Thank you so much for praying, sharing, and donating.  Keep up the awesome work!  We couldn’t do this without you!!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Boss Your Heart Birthday Benefit

She had spent the first three, almost four, years of her life in cold metal crib in a Serbian orphanage, waiting for her mommy and daddy to come for her.  When an American woman, a wife to a US Embassy employee, came to visit her orphanage one day, the little girl stole the woman’s heart as she pleaded for this woman to find her mommy and daddy.

The woman thought surely someone in America would adopt this precious little girl who was born with severe congenital heart defects.  Surely some doctor in America could fix her broken heart.  The woman advocated for the little girl.  Several families committed to adopting her, but each time, each family backed out once they found out her heart condition wasn’t compatible with life.

Meanwhile, God was working on the hearts of a family in Texas whom He had hand-picked to be this little girl’s forever family.  He had opened their eyes through a dream, a nightmare that ended up being reality.  The family prayed for God to show them exactly who God wanted them to adopt…they knew it was an urgent matter.

God showed them the photo of this precious little princess, the very princess who had been begging for her mommy and daddy to come rescue her.  The family knew without a doubt God was asking them to adopt her, regardless of the severity of her heart conditions.  And they wouldn’t back out.

In a matter of months, the family was approved to adopt the little girl.  On October 6, 2010, in the small town of Subotica, Serbia, the little girl met her forever mommy and daddy in the lobby of her orphanage.
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The little girl placed her hands on her mommy’s face, looked her in the eye, and said (in Serbian), “I love you, Mommy!” She then turned to her daddy and said (in Serbian), “Daddy, I like chocolate.” The little girl had already stolen her parents’ hearts, before they even met her, but tears streamed down their faces as they held this precious treasure in their arms.

On October 8, 2010, the little girl got to celebrate her 4th birthday with her new mommy and daddy at her orphanage in Serbia.  She was a VERY happy little girl, and her parents were overflowing with joy.
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Her parents gave her many birthday gifts, which the little girl opened delicately.  She treasured each gift as if she’d never opened a package before, which was no surprise since orphans don’t get gifts.  Her favorite gift was the jewelry, although her parents had no idea she loved jewelry so very much, this is what God told them to bring for her. 

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The little girl would no longer be an orphan. She was chosen and treasured, and she knew it from the day her parents walked into that orphanage building.
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Her name would be selected by God:  Christyn Joy Patterson, although she would think her name was “Christyn Jewelry Patterson”. She would be called Chrissie, and her name would mean “One who holds Christ in her heart, full of joy.”  She would live up to that name more than her family ever imagined.
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She would sleep peacefully, snuggled in the love of her new mommy and daddy.
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She would climb into her mommy’s suitcase, eager to cross the ocean to meet the rest of her family in Texas.
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She would instantly bond with each and every family member.  It didn’t matter if it was her first day home—she knew without a doubt that each person in this family was meant for her.

She would discover love.
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And family.
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And faith.
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And fun.
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And even more toys.
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And she would radiate JOY to every person she would meet.
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She would quickly become the princess of the family, and rightly so.
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She would say, “This is MY Daddy and MY mommy.”
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She would make many fabulous memories, too many to display in photos. (Click HERE to view a slide show of Chrissie’s life as a Patterson.)
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And God would even orchestrate Christian doctors to care for Chrissie and her heart condition, doctors who were willing to encourage Chrissie’s family along the way, doctors willing to take a risk, doctors willing to fall in love with a little miracle princess.

Chrissie’s family would throw her an unforgettable princess party on the night before her open-heart surgery because Chrissie LOVED parties. 
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It wasn’t a birthday party, as she had celebrated her birthday in Serbia just six months prior, but the little princess wanted everyone to sing her happy birthday.  So they did.  And she wanted candles.  So they gave her some.  And she wanted so badly to blow out her candles.  Only she didn’t have enough breath, due to her heart condition, to actually blow, but that didn’t steal her joy.
Little did anyone know that would be the last night Chrissie would spend in her home on earth.

On April 19, 2010, Chrissie underwent massive open-heart surgery.  She died that same evening, but God brought her back after 20 minutes.

Then she died again a few days later for an hour, but, again, God brought her back.

On May 19, 2010, Princess Chrissie left this earth to eternally dance with Jesus.

Her forever family would never be the same, but they would always serve and love the same Jesus.  They would start a ministry in memory of their beloved daughter, Boss Your Heart Orphan Ministries.  They would do everything in their power to help orphans in their distress, according to James 1:27.  They would vow to honor their daughter and keep her legacy alive.  While they miss their daughter greatly every single day, they cling to the hope and promise through Jesus Christ that they will one day be reunited again in Paradise.

But while they wait for that day to come, they continue to daily help orphans on this earth, in memory of Chrissie. 

This year, in memory of Chrissie’s 7th birthday, the Patterson family is hosting a virtual birthday benefit so that everyone can participate!  They’ve chosen a specific orphan ministry that is dear to their heart, a ministry they feel honored to support in memory of their daughter.

This year’s online Boss Your Heart Birthday Benefit, in memory of Chrissie’s 7th birthday, will benefit

The purpose of Village of Hope is to provide family, faith and a future to the least of these by providing holistic orphan care to special needs orphans, primarily focused on those living with HIV/AIDS in a family style setting. Each family style unit will consist of house parents as well as 6-8 children in the home. Our hope is to create a family unit as God intended- a family to provide life- long support as well as teach the children to have life values. The goal is to avoid institutional living and prevent children from being thrown out on the streets when they are 18. Because adoptions are closed in Guatemala there is little hope of the children ever begin adopted into families of their own. One part of our vision is to develop relationship in the Guatemalan Evangelical churches, to come along side of them, educating them on God’s heart for the orphan, as well as open their eyes to the gift of adoption.

Did you know that Village of Hope—Guatemala is a brand new ministry, starting from the ground up?  (Click HERE and HERE to view the blogs of the two American missionary families who are living in Guatemala, building the village brick by brick.)  They started with nothing, and they have watched God faithfully build this village.  It has taken, and will continue to take, much time, dedication, and hard work, but the missionaries and non-profits behind Village of Hope—Guatemala are 100% committed to caring for special needs orphans in Guatemala.  VOH will undergo licensing with Guatemalan authorities this fall, and they will need to have toys and educational items and play equipment as part of their licensing.  Right now, they have nothing in this department, so they need OUR help!

Did you know that YOU can make a difference in Guatemala right now, from your computer?  Yep, it’s true.  Chrissie’s family is hosting an online BOSS YOUR HEART BIRTHDAY BENEFIT to bless Village of Hope—Guatemala with toys, educational items, and play equipment!!!

VOH missionaries and teams have been working so very hard to get the village ready, but there’s something they’re desperately in need of—TOYS!!!!!!

In early 2013, special needs orphans will call Village of Hope—Guatemala their home.  If these orphans walked through the doors of VOH today, they’d find faith, family, and future, but they wouldn’t find much FUN because Village of Hope—Guatemala has nothing for the children to play with—YET!  We plan to change that, with your help!!! 

Remember those photos above of Chrissie playing with toys?  Well, we want ALL of the orphans at Village of Hope—Guatemala to have that same kind of fun!  VOH will provide faith, family, and future, and we want to help them provide FUN as well, in memory of a very special princess who loved to have FUN!

And, besides, what better gift to give at the celebration of a 7-year-old’s birthday party than TOYS?!?! 

So, spread the word and pray, pray, pray, cuz we want this virtual birthday benefit to be BIG, as big as the love and joy our princess shared with us!  (Well, nothing could be that big, but we’re still praying for BIG!)

Now, let us share the details with you. It’s really simple:
  • Purchase a toy online by clicking HERE.  This link will take you to the Amazon wish list for Village of Hope—Guatemala.  When you purchase toys directly from this Amazon wish list, when you check out, you will see the option to have the toys shipped to my friend Gina, who will then ship ALL of the toys directly to Village of Hope—Guatemala.  Think BIG—gather your small group buddies, Sunday School class members, neighbors, Facebook friends, and your family to pool your money together to purchase sturdy toys that will withstand much lovin’ from many special needs orphans.  Perhaps you could donate a toy in honor of a loved one as a Christmas gift?  Think out of the box and let’s bless the socks off the orphans who will soon be living at Village of Hope—Guatemala.
  • You may donate your gently used toys, in a good condition, to Village of Hope—Guatemala.  VOH will need good sturdy toys that will hold up to the love of many children.  Thrift stores and garage sales often have fabulous toys at fabulous prices.  If you’d like to donate gently used toys, you will need to ship the toys directly to my friend Gina, and then she will ship all of the toys directly to Village of Hope—Guatemala.  Click HERE to contact Gina for shipping details (or email her directly at
  • Donate money directly to Village of Hope—Guatemala, in memory of Chrissie.  Tax-deductible donations may be given directly via the Chip-In gadget below.  Our goal is to raise $7,000 because Chrissie would have turned 7 on her birthday this year on earth (October 8, 2012). 
  • HURRY, Chrissie’s virtual birthday benefit is only ONE WEEK long!  October 8, 2012-October 15, 2012.    We’ve got 7 days to raise $7,000—that’s $1K per day.  God can do this!  Spread the word, pray, donate!  Help us help orphans in memory of Chrissie.  Thank you!!!
  • Oh, and we’ve got some fun “party favors” to throw in.  See details at the end of this post.
All donations given in memory of Chrissie during her virtual Boss Your Heart Birthday Benefit will be dedicated to purchasing much needed toys, educational items, and play equipment for Village of Hope—Guatemala. Your donations are tax-deductible and all funds donated in memory of Chrissie will go directly to Village of Hope—Guatemala to help provide FUN (in addition to faith, family, and future) to special needs orphans in Guatemala.

Party Favor Details:
  • We’ll be giving away a few items as party favors.  Here’s how you can be entered in the contest to win one of these fabulous prizes:
    • Share Chrissie’s Boss Your Heart Birthday Benefit on your Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.  Leave a comment here to let us know.  (One entry per share, leave a separate comment per share please.)
    • Donate.  Leave a comment to let us know you donated.  (One entry per donation—it doesn’t matter if you donate money or a new toy or a used toy, just donate. :-)  Leave a separate comment for each donation please.
And last, but not least, here are the party favors:
Thank you so much for praying, sharing, and donating in memory of Princess Chrissie.  Since we don’t have our daughter in our arms to hug this birthday, our hearts are feeling the hugs of the support from all of you.  We are most grateful.
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