Thursday, November 29, 2012


What a trip this has been!

We left Austin Wednesday early afternoon and arrived in Baltimore Wednesday evening. We just thought Selah was difficult to manage--we ain't seen nothin' yet!!

The wrangling began going through security. We requested handicapped travel, but they didn't do anything special except allow us to board in one of the first groups.

We chased Selah around the Austin airport for almost two hours prior to boarding. She climbed stairs and tried to jump over railings and through windows.

One of the hardest things with Selah is that other people (who don't know what a miracle girl she is, who don't have a clue about her multiple brain malformations, seizure disorder, mood/behavior disorder, etc.) and they silently judge. People, including airline staff and airport security, just don't understand why we can't get this girl under control. And, I'm sure in my pre-parenting days, I would have thought the same thing when seeing an out-of-control-wild-child.

I used to think all ill-behaved children just needed better parenting. Whatever. God has taught me that some of His children would act certain ways even if JESUS were their earthly-in-the-flesh daddy!!!

Anyway, we boarded our flight, strapped Selah into her car seat, then promptly apologized to the poor woman sitting in front of us. Selah fiercely and wildly kicked the back of her seat. Over. And over. And over again. The more I tried to stop her, the more Selah kicked.

Then the not-so-kind older couple in front of us (who weren't having their seat backs kicked) continued to glare and shake their heads. Jesus help them understand and have compassion. And help me, when I'm their age, to reach out to the exhausted mom and wild child to help instead of hurt.

Finally, after an hour of Selah raging uncontrollably, she gave in and fell asleep.

But that only lasted about 45 minutes. Praise the Lamb for those 45 minutes of peace though!!!

I had consulted with Selah's neurologist prior to travel, and he gave us his advice on medications to use to help calm Selah. We have Selah her prescription medications before and during the flight, but this girl seems to just not be affected by medications the way a typical child would.

I walked the narrow airplane aisle with Selah countless times, to the point where I could identify passengers, but let's just say God has this girl living on a ranch in the country for a good reason. Praise Him for wide open spaces and plenty of roaming territory!!!

No one on that flight could have been happier to land than ever before. Oh the stress burns in my shoulders just typing about it!

So, let's move to happier subjects.

Look what greeted us in our hotel room. Happy thoughts. It was actually packaged much prettier, but I couldn't take a photo until Selah fell asleep because it was too chaotic. By that time, Selah had destroyed the packaging. :-)

My amazing friend Lisa got us the hotel room. (THANK YOU, LISA!!!). God's provision is so abundant. I never even asked anyone, not even God, to provide us a place to stay in Baltimore, and, yet, He still faithfully provided. God's put quite a few things in place to make this trip possible and to confirm that we're on the right path, and His hotel provision through Lisa is one of those things. Complete with books for Selah, snacks, candies, and water. Oh, Abba Father, You are sooooo good!!! (And thank you, again, Lisa--you're such a treasure!!!). I didn't mention that God has used Lisa to meet many needs for our family, including many wants, over the years. From staying at her family's beautiful beach home after Chrissie went to heaven, to watching Selah as an infant so I could take Asher to therapies, to passing along clothes and shoes and costumes, to providing meals...Lisa is just a rare and precious jewel to our family. (And she's so very humble she's going to turn all shades of red when she reads this. Love you, Lisa! :-)

Our hotel room even has a Johns Hopkins Hospital historical print. Perfect, I said.

Selah slept between Mattie and Meribeth our first night in Baltimore, even though the hotel set up a pack-n-play for her in our room. She only slept in it for about 45 minutes. :-). Praise God Mattie and Meribeth are with me. It takes all three of us to make it through each hour with Selah. I seriously cannot thank them enough for all their help.

Our beautiful sunshine slept in Thursday morning and snuggled with Mommy for a few minutes before ransacking the room. :-)

We took the hotel shuttle to rent a car so we could make it to Selah's various appointments.

Selah rolling her eyes for Mom's never-ending photos!

It took longer than expected to get our rental, so we skipped lunch and rushed over to Selah's neuro ophthalmology appointment at the Wilmer Eye Institute in Johns Hopkins Hospital.

I'm so impressed with this facility. First of all, being in the top neurology hospital in the world brings a comfort and peace that can't be described. There are neuro patients everywhere, so it feels like Selah fits right in, instead of feeling like a behavior outcast most everywhere we go.

Second, Selah's ophthalmologist was SOOOOOO thorough. We spent about 3 hours being examined. The doctor even carefully reviewed Selah's images from her MRI's and CT scans, and she pulled me into the room to show me her findings.

Selah has underdeveloped optic nerves, known as optic nerve hypoplasia, due to her holoprosencephaly. This often causes blindness or severe vision loss, but Selah appears to have what this doctor believes is normal vision. Miracle again!

The doctor also recommended not to use the dilating drops that Selah's Austin ophthalmologist prescribed because it appears that Selah is using both eyes equal amounts and both eyes have equal amounts of mild strabismus, which is not even worthy of treating unless it worsens. Hallelujah!!!

After Selah's appointment, about 5:30PM, we had the honor and blessing of meeting up with another adoptive family whose son, Jesse, is a patient of Dr. Carson's. Jesse has been in Johns Hopkins Hospital for 9 weeks now, but he's supposed to get to go home tomorrow, praise the Lord!!!

This precious family has several kids (adopted with special needs) whose behaviors resemble Selah's. Peace, love, support, and acceptance enveloped my heart as God blessed us with a couple of hours with another mom (and her daughter for our girls) who lives such a similar life and is unfazed by Selah's behaviors. Thank you, Jesus! Please pray for Jesse and his family as they almost lost him several times. He's now trached and requires 24/7 skilled nursing care. Many of his doctors say he shouldn't be alive, and he won't survive should he get another severe respiratory infection. God knows differently and He's shown Himself boldly through Jesse.

After this divine meeting with Jesse's mom, we headed back to our hotel. (Oh, I got a ticket for parking in a non-parking spot. Oops!!! Had no idea--neither did the security guard. The guard also commented that the police usually ticket and tow, so we praised God for allowing our vehicle to stay in that non-parking spot!!!). Oh, and our key fob on the rental didn't work, and it's this strange key that doesn't have a "real key", just a plastic nub deal. Probably some city slicker deal this country girl is clueless about, just like the non-parking spot I would have never identified! Anyway, we couldn't get back into the vehicle at first, but discovered the key fob has a little switch knob deal that slides to release a real key. Perhaps for emergencies like ours. Ugh!

Anyway, we made it safely back to our hotel. We discovered a Wendy's across the street and drive through to get Frosty treats to reward the girls. Selah had never tasted a Frosty.

Let's just say she LOVED it!!! She patted her belly and signed and shouted MORE, MORE, MORE!!!

Then it was bath and bedtime. Selah's sleeping next to me tonight. Praying for some good rest and some awesome doctor's appointments tomorrow!

Pray that I'll be able to find a parking garage and the right buildings tomorrow. Johns Hopkins is massive and there's the old part and the new part. It's very much like a university campus, so getting around without a tour guide as a first-time visitor is kind of crazy, to say the least!

Selah will see a sleep specialist at Noon and Dr. Carson at 2:30. Pray for wisdom and guidance and good discussion between us all on how to treat Selah to give her the best life and potential possible.

Thank you so much! Nightie night!

PS. I posted this via my iPhone, so please forgive typos and autocorrections that don't make sense. Too exhausted to proof read!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Real Men

Today we’re flying to Baltimore, but I wanted to take a minute to point you to THIS blog post.  Please take a minute to read it.  I was so very blessed to read another adoptive mom describe how she’s married to a real man, with a description of his character.  I forwarded that blog post to my husband to thank him for who He is, and to remind him that I love being married to a “real man”.


Thank you, Matt, for who you are in Christ and all you do for His Kingdom.  Thank you for unconditionally loving the least of these, and for being such an awesome daddy and husband.  We love you!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Baltimore Peeps?

Selah, Mattie, Meribeth, and I are flying to Baltimore tomorrow.  Selah has an appointment Thursday with a pediatric ophthalmologist who focuses on neuro ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins Hospital, then with a sleep specialist Friday, followed by the oh-so-exciting-cannot-believe-this-day-is-almost-here appointment with Dr. Ben Carson Friday afternoon.


I’ve been warned by several people that Baltimore isn’t a safe place to stroll around.  We’ll be renting a car and driving instead of walking.  We won’t have a lot of free time, which is good, but if we do end up having some free moments, does anyone have recommendations of what we could take Selah to do? 


Keeping Selah penned up in the hotel is going to be impossible.  It’s extra challenging to try to help Selah remain in control during doctor’s appointments and throughout waiting room stays, so we’re going to need to find a place to let Selah run around and play and climb and jump.  A safe place, of course.



Monday, November 26, 2012

Purposeful Portions

I recently learned about the Amazon Affiliates program.


If you’re an Amazon shopper, please consider making your purchases via the Amazon shopping link in the right sidebar of our blog. 


A portion of your purchases will be donated to orphan care if you go through the link on our blog (or right HERE)!


I’m supporting another adoptive family by clicking her Amazon link each time I make an Amazon purchase.  I’m even planning to set up my Amazon auto-ship orders via her link.  Such an easy way to sew into orphan care.  Suddenly, my every day purchases are making a difference for others.  Way cool.


If you’re doing some Cyber Monday shopping via Amazon, please click HERE to get into Amazon, then make your purchases so that a portion of your purchases will make a difference for the least of these.  Thanks!


PS  You can shop for anything within Amazon, as long as you enter the Amazon site via our link, a portion of your purchases will go to orphan care.  Cool, huh?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy 2nd Gotcha, Girls!

Two years ago on this day, just two days prior to Thanksgiving day, God sent us two surprise blessing, Ella and Selah, biological half-sisters.

Ella (age 5)

"shining light"


Selah (age 7 weeks in photo)

"pause to reflect upon God's goodness"



Ella and Selah were truly a total surprise to us.  We only had a few hours to pray and prepare our hearts and home for the addition of two children.  We had zero baby supplies.  No diapers, formula, bottles, clothing, blankets, crib…nada.


But Jehovah Jireh provided abundantly. 


The morning of Thanksgiving, a friend showed up and dropped up more baby supplies than we had space for!!!  I purchased clothing at a local resale shop, and in a matter of two days, we had all we needed…and more!!!  No kidding.

These girlies are such blessings to our family.  God knew that Ella would be Kiefer’s best playmate, and Selah would bring healing to areas of our hearts we didn’t think would ever heal after losing Chrissie.  God knows our needs so much more deeply than we do, and oh how He pours out blessings when we obey.

Obedience in this case felt scary.  We didn’t know Selah’s future.  We wanted to protect our hearts from losing another child.  The doctors’ prognoses were grim.  But our hearts were in love, and we were reminded of CS Lewis’ quote:

“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”


And so our journey began.


An unforgettable journey that has brought much love, blessing, joy, and yes, even challenges, into our lives.  God writes the most amazing stories.  He really is the best Author out there.


Today we praise Him for choosing to share His treasures, Ella and Selah, with our family.  Thank you, Jesus!


PS  If you haven’t read about Selah’s recent diagnoses, you’ll be blessed to read about what an absolute miracle girl she is.  Just go to our blog and look for the “search this blog” box.  Type “Selah” in that box and go read some of the recent posts about her.  We’re supposed to leave this Wednesday, Nov. 28, for Baltimore.  Selah’s appointment with Dr. Ben Carson (world’s best neurosurgeon—google “Gifted Hands”) is Nov. 30.  We’ve had a horrid stomach virus attack our family, so please pray against Satan’s attempt to intervene with Selah seeing Dr. Carson (who is a believer and gives God the glory of His abilities).  We need wellness in order to go!!!  God is able!!!  Thank you!

Thursday, November 22, 2012



Today I’m grateful for so much.  Not things, but people.  People like you, my invisible friends who support us through thick and thin.  Grateful for family and friends.  Grateful for relationships.  Grateful for all the children God has blessed us with. 


But the thing I’m most grateful for is my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Grateful one day I’ll be reunited with my precious princess Chrissie, as well as my mom, my grandparents, and many other loved ones who knew Jesus as their Savior.  Grateful for the love, grace, forgiveness, hope, and eternal life offered to us through the blood of Jesus Christ.


If you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s post, I encourage you to do so.  And then I encourage you and your loved ones, whomever you’re celebrating Thanksgiving with today, to bless Village of Hope—Guatemala with a donation.  Perhaps you’d like to donate in memory of a loved one or in honor of someone special.  The first $3,000 in donations will be matched, so your donation will be doubled.  Double blessings.  Thank you, Jesus!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I will never be able to express my gratitude for the outpouring of support for the Boss Your Heart Birthday Benefit/toy drive for Village of Hope—Guatemala.  I am still astounded by the amount of toys purchased to bless the future kiddos at Village of Hope, in memory of Chrissie.  This Thanksgiving is a time for us to count our blessings and show gratefulness.  I have a fun opportunity that I’m sharing below, a way you can bless Village of Hope in Guatemala this Thanksgiving.


But for now, back to the toys.  All toy purchases via Amazon were all shipped to a friend of a friend where they were stored in her garage until they could be carefully and lovingly packed up and shipped to Guatemala.  Can I get a big shout out to my friend Gina and her friend who stored, packed, and arranged for shipping of the toys?



There were so many toys that it took six massive boxes to get them all packaged for shipping.  Gina’s a whiz at packing, too, so she got everything in the boxes as compactly and efficiently as possible.



Shipping from the US to Guatemala is EXPENSIVE.  God provided the funding to get all of the toys to Guatemala.  Jehovah Jireh always provides.


My friend Amy (the one who is serving as a missionary in Guatemala—starting up Village of Hope) promised to take photos of the toys once they arrive in Guatemala.  I’ll be sure to share them here.  Please pray for the children who will play with these toys.  They need someone to pray for them because they most likely don’t have a mommy or daddy or family to pray for them, and everyone can use prayers. 


Speaking of children and families, I’m sharing a message below with you so you can challenge your family and friends to GIVE to Village of Hope this Thanksgiving, out of our abundance.  There’s a generous donor who is matching the first $3,000 in purchased bricks. Donate today and help build homes for special needs orphans at Village of Hope in Guatemala.  You can even have a home named after you!!!  How awesome!!!


Here’s the info:


Living out a life of Thanksgiving…

(borrowed with permission from my friend Amy Block’s blog)

Without hesitation, when asked, people all over America this Thanksgiving will respond by saying the very thing they are most thankful for in their lives is their family.


Family… the very thing that literally millions of children face life without.

Here at Village of Hope we understand the importance of family and that is why we exist- to bring FAITH, FAMILY and a FUTURE to those who have none. We choose to do ‘family style’ homes for orphans instead of an institution because we understand that is what the Lord desires.

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

There is simply no biblical model for institutional care - so while clothing, feeding and giving toys to a child are all wonderful things- the one thing a child truly needs- is a family to call their own. A mother and a father who are willing to invest in their future, help them discover their gifts and strengths- to care for them , encourage them and show them they have a purpose and they matter.

Because international adoptions are closed in Guatemala the orphans here have little hope of being adopted into a forever family. These children must face a bleak future- alone. We cannot stop but to ask ourselves-how will these children be able to one day function in a family unit? But even more- how can they have a clear view of their God who loves them if they don’t have an earthly father to model who He is?

We all know living in an institution isn’t what is best for a child- studies prove it- but more importantly we have seen it with our own eyes. The “fatherless” are the most vulnerable people in the world because they lack the very person God intended to protect and provide. But as the body of Christ we have a responsibility to live out James 1:27- to care for orphans. We are called to action.

At Village of Hope each child will be placed in a family- in a home- with a mother and father figure who will be the ones who tuck them in at night, pray with them, help them with their homework, cook dinner with them, counsel them and teach them.

This Thanksgiving we challenge you to gather your precious family around the table, enjoy the blessings the Lord has provided- and then give back out of that abundance. Encourage your family to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of the children in Guatemala. Thank Him through your obedience by caring for the orphan in a tangible way. Together your family, aunts, uncles, cousins truly can make a difference in the life of a child.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

To purchase a brick in your family’s name….

Give HOPE, brick by brick. Village of Hope - Guatemala from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.

We have been blessed by a generous donor who is matching the next $3,000 in bricks purchased! This means that each brick you buy, up to the first $3,000, will be DOUBLED… doesn’t get much better than that!

  • -Buy 10 bricks/$250 - Get a free VOH tshirt!
  • -Buy 20 bricks/$500 – Get a free VOH tshirt and VOH bag.
  • -Buy 40 bricks/$1,000 – Get a free VOH tshirt, VOH bag, and a necklace/earring set hand-made by a Guatemalan woman.
  • -Buy 100 bricks/$2,500 - An engraved plate (2" x 4") with your family name on the wall in one of the homes for children as a reminder of those that provided that wall and prayed for each of them.
  • -Buy 200 bricks/$5,000 - A plaque ( 12" x 10") with a photo and text (of your choice) will be hung in the home and the room will be named after your family (painted on the wall)
  • -Buy 1,200 bricks/$30,000 – Provide an entire HOME for a FAMILY! Get a free VOH tshirt, VOH bag, plaque (as described above), and family name on the outside of the home.


**As you reflect on all that you are thankful for, please consider giving toward one of the above options in honor or memory of a loved one! Though some of our family may not be on this earth any more, their legacy lives on and can bless the lives of those without a family!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nuff Said



Sometimes I don’t even get to the shower part. Smile


Fixing my eyes on all things eternal.  Thank you, Jesus!

Monday, November 19, 2012

God’s Provision

Whoa, are you serious?!?!


My very own iPad?!?!


From these nice people? 

Awwwww, these girls are so cute! 

And they sent this to me? 

Oh, not just to me, but to Conner and Cooper, too? 

Oh my goodness gracious, how sweet!!!!!!!



OK, let me see how this thing works.


Oh, wow, it’s a PIG!!!  I love pigs!



And a goat!  I can touch the goat!




Listen.  Goats say, “BAAAAAAAA!!!”  I can, too!  Listen to me!


No way, a CAT!!!  How does this thing know about all the animals I love and all the sounds I love to make?


Wow, this is the coolest gift ever!!!  I promise to share it with Cooper and Conner.  I’ll even show them how it works.  Please thank the generous, giving, kind family who sent this to us, okay?  And, Mommy, you’re right—God does always provide!  Thank you, Jesus!!!


Oh, and, Mommy, will you please ask all those awesome people out there what apps they recommend for me and my brothers?  I think we will need games for toddlers who like instant gratification.  You know, our attention span is about 5 seconds, so we like fast results.  And tell those people thanks in advance because they always have great advice.  Thanks!


And is there any way you can thank the people who make these games?  It’s really hard for my brain to make my finger touch the things I want to touch, but these games help my brain and my finger work together.  How do they do that?!?!  So awesome!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kings and Queens

Today is National Adoption Day, a day to raise awareness for the boys and girls around the world just waiting to celebrate their adoption.  Adoption is redemption.  Someday the status of waiting children around the world will change from “orphans” to “kings and queens”.  Oh, the glorious majesty to be in His court.  Jesus, send families to rescue orphans, to bring Your redemption to the least of these.


Click HERE to watch this AWESOME video and listen to the TRUTH of this song.  I LOVE it!!!!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sticks and Stones

This little cowgirl was up most of the night vomiting last night.

photo 3


Poor baby was vomiting every 20-40 minutes for hours.

photo 4


Eventually, a twig came out!!!!!!

photo 2


Yes, you read that correctly.  A twig.  Much like the one she’s holding in the photo above, only shorter.


photo 5


Yes, a small stick came out of Selah’s stomach via her mouth last night.  I was stunned.

photo 3


It was about the size of my pinky.  Maybe 3 inches long and 1/2” in diameter. 

photo 4


How in the world does one swallow a twig?!?!?!  Look at that innocent face!

photo 5


I seriously do not have an answer to this mystery.  No one had any idea that Selah had ever put a twig in her mouth, much less swallowed it.  And we’re continuously following her around like hawks, which leaves me baffled as to how Selah could have actually swallowed something of this size without gagging—or spitting it out. 


I know Selah loves all things sticks and stones, dirt, dust, and ranch, and all things cowboy, just like her brothers.  But eating sticks?  No one does that!

photo 2


Not even Kiefer the Kowboy!!!  I just can’t fathom how something that large could be swallowed.  It didn’t even appear to have been chewed.  Just a whole twig.


Praise God it came back up successfully.  I shudder to imagine what damage this twig could have done to Selah’s intestines had it not come back up.  We would have never known it was in there either.  So far, there’s been no signs of any damage, praise God.  No blood in her vomit, no blood in her stools, no signs of pain or complications. 


Oh, Jehovah Rapha, heal this little cowgirl, and Lord, please always surround Selah with your angels of protection.  Thank you, Jesus!

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