Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rare Disease Day

Sawyer gets to go home today, praise God!!!  His inflammatory marker labs are now in the normal range, which means it's not a Crohn's flare up (or it was healed—thank you, Jesus!). He's still super lethargic/fatiqued/exhausted, but on the road to healing. Thanks so much for praying!


On another note, today is Rare Disease Day.  Click HERE to read about the various special needs in our family.  Some of these special needs are rare diseases, but most occur much more often than many people realize.


I decided to just copy and paste (below) the info on our blog regarding special needs, with hopes of encouraging more people to be willing to step out of the comfortable boat and walk on the waves with Jesus.  He is faithful!  Every child was created in the image of God, special needs or not, ALL are precious in His sight!


In an effort to protect and respect the privacy of each of our individual children, it is my desire to not publicly share which child(ren) have which diagnoses. However, it is also my desire that our family be an encouragement to all families who are considering adopting a child with special needs, have a child with special needs, or would like to know more about a variety of special needs.

Below is a list of the variety of special needs we've experienced in our family. I am only listing these to be an encouragement, not to boast or intimidate in any way. Believe me, we are just an ordinary family living the life God has called us to, and it is only by God's grace and power that we've been able to live the life He's called us to. God always equips the called, He doesn't necessarily call the equipped. In most of these cases, we didn't have a CLUE about dealing with these special needs, but we trusted God to teach us. He just asked for our obedience, and He's been so faithful to carry us through each special need.

Also, I want to share that some of our children came to us with diagnoses that we feel are inaccurate. Please do not let a label scare you away. Some of our children had very scary labels attached to them, but once we got them home and started research, therapy, specialists, etc., we realized either God had healed that special need or the child never had that special need. There are also those times when one adopts a child with no known special needs or a mild special need, but the child ends up having far greater needs than anticipated. We've lived that story as well, but the encouragement I'd like to share down that path is that the unexpected special needs can be true of birth children as well. The fact is that God is in control; we are not. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and He knows exactly what He's doing when He places a specific special need into a family, whether by birth or adoption. May He be glorified through it all.

I pray this list of special needs will encourage you to take that leap of faith and trust God's will, even when the labels seem far too scary. Our God is more than enough, and many times the labels are inaccurate. Satan would love to use fear to keep us from obeying God's will. Trust and obey God; rebuke Satan.

Please contact me at BossYourHeart [at] gmail [dot] com if you would like to know more about how we've dealt with any of these special needs. In many (but not all) cases, God has done miraculous healing on earth with almost every special need listed, but even if healing on earth is not God's will, remember that ALL are precious in His sight. Trust Him, as He promises to work ALL things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Special needs in our family:

  • Holoprosencephaly (when brain fails to separate correctly into right and left hemisphere)
  • Severe brain malformations
  • Chiari II Malformation
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Agenesis of Corpus Callosum (missing the section of the brain that connects the right and left hemispheres)
  • Multiple brain calcifications
  • Mental Retardation
  • Low IQ
  • Developmental Delays (physical and mental)
  • Learning Delays
  • Severe congenital heart defects (Conner's were healed on earth by God; Chrissie's were healed in heaven by God. We would adopt both kids again in a heartbeat, regardless of outcome. :-)
  • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Pulmonary Atresia (missing pulmonary artery and valves; no blood flow from heart to lungs)
  • Dyslexia
  • Depression
  • Sensory Integration Dysfunction/Disorder
  • Bilateral Club Foot (both feet clubbed)
  • Down syndrome
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Older Child Adoption
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
  • Severe Food Allergies (including anaphylaxis)
  • Allergic Colitis
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Pre-Diabetes
  • Allergy to sunlight
  • Vision Problems: various issues involving a developmental ophthalmologist, astigmatism, near-sightedness, far-sightedness
  • Bipolar Disease
  • Schizophrenia
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Encopresis (passing stool to purposefully soil underwear after successfully potty trained)
  • Tourette's Syndrome
  • Tic Disorder
  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Mood Disorder
  • Eczema
  • Parasites (internal and external)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Rickets (Vit. D deficiency which causes bone issues)
  • Sleep Disorders and Insomnia
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Epilepsy/Seizures
  • Open fontanels (soft spots on skull) at a late age (Cooper came home from Ukraine at age 6 years 9 months with both of his fontanels still open)
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Various issues requiring physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and feeding therapy
  • Drug and alcohol exposure in utero
  • Hearing loss
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Speech delays, non-verbal children
  • Strabismus

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an unexpected end." ~Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Update on Sawyer

Sawyer spent yesterday afternoon and much of the evening in the emergency department of Dell Children’s Hospital.  They started IV fluids and drew blood to run labs.  Sawyer’s gastroenterologist is out of town until tomorrow, so the GI doc on call took Sawyer’s case.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to see Sawyer in the ED, so he consulted via phone with the ED pediatrician and decided Sawyer should be admitted.


We got into Sawyer’s room last night around 8:30PM.  He has received continuous IV fluids, with only 300ml of output in about 20 hours (meaning he’s only peed once, which was ultra concentrated), so he was quite dehydrated.  Just getting rehydrated does wonders!


Sawyer slept well last night.  He’s been able to eat a little (which is more than he’s eaten over the last week!).  He’s lost 11 pounds in 8 days.  Not good, obviously, particularly for a young man who struggles to eat enough calories and fat to maintain an acceptable weight, which is still in the less than 10th percentile.


Sawyer’s white blood cell count is low, which they believe is due to the immune suppressing effect of his Remicade infusion drug for his Crohn’s disease.  None of the other labs have indicated anything wrong, so that’s good.


Sawyer’s stomach pain has been contained to a strip down the center of his stomach, where his lymph nodes are.  Our pediatrician was concerned that there could be bacterial infection in the lymph nodes, and with Sawyer’s suppressed immune system, infection could move quite easily into his blood, causing sepsis.  Our pediatrician knows Sawyer well and knows that he’s super tough.  He knows that when Sawyer presents with severe illness, it’s bad.  When Sawyer’s willing to go to the hospital, it’s really bad.


However, just getting hydrated via IV has made a big difference for Sawyer, praise God!  He looks about 25% better already, just with IV fluids.  The hospital pediatrician put him on Pepcid (to line his gut), as well as Zofran (for nausea).  The combination of everything, dashed with loads of prayer, seem to have helped Sawyer greatly.


We are waiting to see the gastroenterologist who is on call to see what his thoughts are.  Hospital staff wants to make sure this isn’t Crohn’s related, which would be the responsibility of the GI department.


Thank you for praying for Sawyer.  We are so grateful!  Please continue to pray for wisdom, accurate answers, and healing.  Sawyer has a rodeo this weekend that he’s supposed to compete in, so he really wants to be restored to full health quickly so he can participate.  Remember, this is the boy who team roped with a broken arm, without a cast and without medication, without complaining and without following our advice that he NOT rope!!!  He’s one tough cowboy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

To the hospital we go

Sawyer's pediatrician thoroughly examined Sawyer, then consulted with his gastroenterologist. They both feel Sawyer needs to be admitted to the hospital for at least 24 hours for further tests and slow intravenous rehydration.

Their concern is that Sawyer probably had Norovirus last week, but it may have developed into a bacterial infection that might have entered his bloodstream. He may need IV antibiotics. They want to avoid putting any meds into his gut right now.

I will update once I know more. A simple CBC will help determine a lot, but both doctors believe hospitalization is necessary at this time.

Thanks for praying!

Sent from Lorraine's iPhone

Pray for Sawyer

Sawyer has been sick with what appears to be a stomach virus. Fever, chills, violent vomiting, body aches, migraine headaches.  He came down with it last Tuesday night, a week ago.  Parker had a similar virus a few days prior, so that’s what we assume Sawyer has had.


It’s now a full week after Sawyer was hit with this, and he is still severely ill.  His stomach’s killing him.  He’s barely able to drink water.  He said he feel sicker right now than he did when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s in July 2012.


I’m thinking he’s dehydrated.  The Remicade infusion drug he takes for his Crohn’s suppresses/weakens his immune system, which is most likely why he’s had such a hard time recovering from this illness. 


We’re going to see our pediatrician this morning to see if he wants to admit Sawyer to the hospital or if he has any other ideas of how to help Sawyer heal from this illness.  We believe he has the Norovirus because our pediatrician told us he’s seen a ton of Norovirus cases recently.  Last night, when I googled “Norovirus”, I read that about 300 people in the US die of this virus each year, mainly the elderly, young children, and those with weakened immune systems.  I don’t think Sawyer is near death in any way, but I’d love to have extra prayer coverage that he would be healed quickly without further complication.


Thank you!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ukraine Without Orphans

Oh what a joyous moment to watch the above video.


To see a Jesus-loving family in Ukraine who adopted six kids with HIV. 


And a pastor in Ukraine who fosters 31 orphans. 


To see a special friend, Paul Pennington, co-founder and co-director of Hope for Orphans, speaking at the recent Summit orphan conference in Kyiv, Ukraine.


To witness God moving His Church to care for orphans in their distress, worldwide.


To God be all the glory!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Gluten Free Questions

Recently, I’ve been considering switching our family to a gluten-free diet to see if we notice any health improvements.  There’s SO. MUCH. INFORMATION. available that it’s quite overwhelming.  It reminds me of the early days of my homeschooling decision.  I was inundated with information, so much so that I was so completely overwhelmed that I didn’t know where to start.




Baby steps.


I’d love to have one simple source that would just walk me through how to make this change.  I haven’t found that source yet!  I have all types of sources that provide general information about why to consider going gluten-free, but I want the how-to-implement-gluten-free-simply-and-affordably-in-a-large-family site!!! :-)


I have a few questions:

  1. Is there a simple way to determine whether or not a food has gluten in it?  I know that gluten is not an ingredient that gets listed in the list of ingredients, making it more challenging to determine if an item contains gluten.  Is there some kind of simple rule or tip or way of determining whether or not a food contains gluten?!?!  If not, is there a site that is easy to navigate to help determine whether a food is gluten-free or not?  Maybe an iPhone app where you can type in the exact food and have it tell you if it contains gluten or not?!?!
  2. Some sites say that ALL grains are sources of gluten, including rice, corn, quinoa, etc.  Other sites say the type/amount of gluten found in rice, corn, quinoa doesn’t usually negatively affect gluten-free diets.  Help!
  3. No one in our family has tested positive for Celiac’s disease, but it’s my understanding that we could all have gluten sensitivities.  I also understand that gluten could be responsible for many health issues, including many auto-immune diseases, behavior disorders, skin problems, brain issues, ADHD, and the list goes on and on.  With Sawyer’s Crohn’s disease, Matt’s ulcerative colitis, Selah’s mood/behavior/brain issues, Ella’s severe ADHD, and the variety of other smaller health issues throughout our family, I figured going gluten-free is certainly worth a try.  BUT, WHERE DO I START?!?!  I’d love to have a better understanding of how to implement this for the entire family.  Do I first need to go through our pantry, freezer, and refrigerator and toss out every item containing gluten?  (BTW, is gluten in certain spices, too?)  Is there a site that walks people through how to implement this change?  I’ve done dairy-free, egg-free, and corn-free for Sawyer for years (and for me for almost two years when I was nursing Sawyer), but I didn’t do that for the whole family.  I’d love a site to walk me through how to have success implementing gluten-free for the whole family.
  4. Recipes!  Is there a site or book with great recipes?  Every morning, I toss meat into our crock pot.  It cooks all day, then I shred it and toss together some type of meal, normally a casserole.  I’m able to stretch how many people the meat will feed by adding other fillers, such as rice, noodles, potatoes, etc.  How do I do this gluten-free?  We often eat things like Chicken-n-Dumplin’s, King Ranch Casserole, Chicken Alfredo, Chili with Beans (over Fritos and/or cornbread), lots of soups and stews, enchiladas, Mexican casseroles, Tater Tot Casserole, etc.  We have bread (Artisan bread, crescent rolls, biscuits, etc.) with almost every meal, as a filler (plus, we all LOVE bread!).  Does a bag of frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts from Sam’s have gluten?!?!  Do I try to use our same recipes and substitute gluten-free ingredients?  Help!

Basically, I’d love for someone to just walk me through this.  Best place to start, best recipes to use, best affordable gluten-free foods, snacks, substitutes.  And, oh, how glorious it would be to find all of this info on ONE site!!!


I’m overwhelmed!  Help!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Just some things to ponder…



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Clinical View vs. Biblical View

In September 2011, I wrote THIS post after several people contacted me regarding their concern and confusion regarding a message they felt was being portrayed at the Empowered to Connect adoption conferences.


Yesterday, two more people contacted me with the same confusion and concerns.


The message that is causing so much confusion and concern via the Empowered to Connect conferences is that people should not have large families, particularly large adoptive families.


My friend Dawn, the momma to nine beautiful treasures through adoption, wrote a little bit about this yesterday on her blog.  Dawn recently attended the Empowered to Connect conference and felt she was being told that her family was too large and they shouldn’t adopt more children.  She wrote about her experience and thoughts HERE.


I highly respect Dr. Karyn Purvis, as well as Michael and Amy Monroe.  I have attended several adoption conferences just to hear Dr. Karyn Purvis speak and glean from her wisdom.  I’ve read her book, The Connected Child, multiple times and it has helped immensely with my parenting, particularly parenting children who come from hard places.  I think the ministry of Empowered to Connect is extremely helpful and so very needed.


However, I strongly disagree that man should to take charge of his family size.  This is a clinical viewpoint, not a Biblical one.  No where in the Bible will you find God telling us to limit the size of our family.  No where. 


I want to encourage people to allow God to determine the size of their families.  God is the One and only who Authority who should be trusted regarding this issue.  Do not let man discourage you from having a large family, whether it be through the number of biological children you have or the number of adoptive children you have.


And do not be discouraged if God chooses a small family for you.  Or no children.  Do not try to follow man.  Follow God.  Period.  He loves you passionately and has a plan to give you a hope and a future, which won’t look the same as anyone else’s hope and future.  His plan is tailor made for you by the best Crafter and Creator in the entire universe. 


His plan is going to look different for each of us because God created each of us individually, and He has an individual plan for each of us.  Our families will not and should not look the same.  We’re not to emulate man’s view of family, we’re to seek God’s will and obey what He wants for our family, regardless of what man says.


So, my advice to everyone is to seek God’s will first and foremost.  Do not be encouraged or discouraged by people who are pro-large-family or pro-small-family.  Do not be discouraged by a clinical viewpoint on family size, be encouraged by a Biblical viewpoint. 


Be encouraged by God and obey His will for your family, for He is good and His plan is perfect.


Here’s the copy/pasted version of that post I wrote in September 2011 in response to this same concern:


There’s a challenging balance between educating pre-adoptive families and scaring the heck discouraging them. I often times wonder how much to share myself. There’s definitely an amazing adoption movement going on in the US right now, and I, for one, think it’s awesome.

There are lots of ministries popping up here and there, many aimed at helping adoptive families, which I think is awesome and so very needed. What I don’t like is when someone (either an individual or a group of a ministry) discourages someone else from adopting when God has clearly called him/her to adopt.

Things like…

How will you take care of everyone?

Aren’t your hands full as it is?

What about your other kids?

How can you possibly give each child the love they need and deserve?

What about yourself? How are you going to have “me” time?

Don’t you think you’re in over your head?

It looks like the kids you have already have enough “problems”? Why do you want to add to that?

How do you plan to provide for so many kids?

When will you realize that you can't save them all?

Haven’t you ever heard of family planning?

The truth is that God is the One who plans our families. His Word tell us that children are a gift of the Lord, a delight, a blessing from Him. He says that blessed is the man whose quiver is full of children. No where in God’s Word does He give advice or commands about limiting the number of children we have.

God’s Word also clearly commands us to care for orphans. Numerous times. There’s no mistaking how God feels about orphans.

So, when you put those two concepts together, that children are a blessing and orphans are to be treasured, why then should anyone on this earth criticize large adoptive families? (Or just large families in general?)

I personally believe that if God calls you to adopt, it shouldn’t be up for others to judge. (God’s Word also clearly states how He feels about people judging others.) God will equip those He calls, and our obedience to Him should matter more than our concern over what others might think/say.

I have to share from personal experience, that we were clueless with our first adoption. God called us to adopt an older child (11 years old), who had been through more than we could fathom, who would have to leave older siblings behind in her birth country, who couldn’t speak English, and, yes, we were totally unprepared. (We thought we were prepared, but nothing could have prepared us for our first adoption journey.) But, guess Who did prepare us? GOD! The very One who called us to that journey to begin with! Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? Yes.

In fact, with all of our adoptions, God has actually used our naivety in order to accomplish His will. If we had known what we were committing to, we probably would have disobeyed God’s call numerous times! It would have seemed too much, too hard, too complex, too exhausting, but God knew that we would struggle with obedience had He shared ahead of time what we would go through with each child, so, instead, He allowed us to stay na├»ve enough to be obedient. After He received our wholehearted obedience, He slowly unraveled what we would have to face with each child, but He never left us to do this job alone.

He’s always been right by our sides, empowering us, encouraging us, educating us, and equipping us.

Through all of this, He is shaping our hearts to look just a wee bit more like His, to have a better understanding of seeing His children through His eyes, to lessen our desire for easy, to gain strength as we embrace hard, for that is what our Father does in ALL circumstances. And our greatest desire is to be more like Him. Oh, there’s so much to learn through the blessings of adoption, most of it that I never knew I needed to know, nor could I have learned without walking this path alongside Him. I could have read about it in books and on blogs (which I did and still do), but nothing would have actually circumcised my heart the way He has (and continues to do) as He leads me faithfully along this path.

Which brings me to something I feel very strongly about: If there’s an individual or ministry out there discouraging you from adopting, and God has clearly called you to adopt, I boldly ask you to disregard this so-called earthly “wisdom” and simply obey God’s calling. Your heart will never be the same. And that’s a good thing.
Now, if you’re adopting for any other reason than because God asked you to, then I think it is wise to seek the counsel of adoption-friendly pastors, experienced adoptive friends, as well as adoption ministries. Make sure you seek the counsel of those who truly understand God’s heart for the orphan as well as those who value children and believe they are a blessing, as this is what aligns with God’s Word.

It is important for you to know that adoption is not for the faint of heart, there will be many challenges, trials, and tribulations, but there’s nothing too much for God. Ever. And when you seek His guidance, His wisdom, His training, His strength, He will empower you, encourage you, educate you, and equip you, for He is faithful. He may choose to empower you through the earthly wisdom of a ministry, encourage you through another adoptive family or friend, educate you through a book, and equip you as you study His Word and seek His face, but no matter how He chooses to do His work in you, it's so important for you to know and firmly believe that He will NEVER forsake you. Ever.

And I believe He will never forsake the orphan either. Yes, there are a rising number of disrupted adoptions, but even so, I personally believe God is able to redeem that. "And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) Even through disrupted adoptions, God can work in the hearts of the family who must disrupt, He can work in the heart of the child whose adoption is being disrupted, and He can work in the hearts of the child’s new family. For when we are weak, He is strong, and when we are broken, we are totally reliant upon Him to fix us.

This might shock some of you, but I firmly believe that it is better for an orphan who lives in an abusive/neglectful situation to be adopted by an unprepared family who courageously answers His call, even if it ends in disruption, than to remain living in the pits of hell. Yes, I do. I firmly do. I’ve visited those pits of hell, and, believe me, I’d want someone to rescue me.

Don't ever forget that we must depend upon God to empower us, encourage us, educate us, and equip us. Often times, He offers support and wisdom through His people and ministries on earth, but, in the end, it is His Word that is plentiful, His grace that is sufficient, His strength that is mightiest, and His love that is never-failing.

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

Monday, February 18, 2013

Who Watched This?

The video above (watch it HERE if it’s not working above) is a recording of Dr. Ben Carson’s live speech given at the National Prayer Breakfast.  I don’t usually talk politics, but this has me outraged. 


Dr. Ben Carson is the world renowned pediatric neurosurgeon who Selah saw at Johns Hopkins Hospital in November 2012.


If you watch the video (or already saw it live), you will notice that Obama doesn’t seem very happy to be listening to Dr. Carson.  In fact, I felt that he was downright disrespecting Dr. Carson.  He doesn’t clap for him, he doesn’t welcome him, he doesn’t laugh at his jokes, he wipes the sleep out of the corners of his eyes repeatedly.  An attitude of total disrespect. 


Watching this made me want to cry.  As a Christian, I want to love the way Christ did, extending love and grace to those who ruffle my feathers, but I’m having a hard time mustering up these feelings for our president after I watched the way he disrespected Dr. Carson, a distinguished, godly man who was invited to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast.


It doesn’t matter which political party you identify with, this type of public disrespect is disheartening.  Dr. Carson was INVITED to speak.  Having met Dr. Ben Carson in person, having read his books, having watch his movie, I feel like I know this man, I adore his heart.  He is humble and wise and compassionate.  It truly crushed my heart to see our president disrespect Dr. Carson in this manner. 


Watching this video made me decide that I’m going to pray for Dr. Ben Carson to become our next president.  He’s retiring from his neurosurgery practice this summer.  Oh, what a difference he could make to bring our nation back to its roots, the foundation set by our forefathers.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Life and Justice Conference 2013

Matt and I are so excited to be attending the Life and Justice Conference 2013, a catalyst calling the body of Christ to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.


From the unborn child, to the elderly, to those with special needs, to those who are enslaved, to the orphaned and abandoned, there are SO MANY who need YOUR voice.


Are you looking for ways you can do MORE?  Are you trying to find your calling?  Are you passionate about helping those who cannot help themselves? 


We’d LOVE for you to join us!



The conference, in partnership with Focus on the Family, Children’s Hope Chest, and others, will offer education, inspiration, and encouragement to do MORE for those in need. 


Topics include:

  • Adoption and Orphan Care
  • Caring for the Elderly and Those with Special Needs
  • Genocide
  • Human Trafficking
  • Pregnancy/Pro-Life Ministries


This is such an incredible opportunity!  We sure do hope to meet you there!  Click HERE to register.


Friday Schedule

March 8, 2013 Conference Schedule

Friday, March 8th: Session and Speaker

8:00 – 9:45am

9:45 – 10:15am
Worship: The Desperation Band

10:15 – 11:00am
Pastor Brady Boyd and Jim Daly: Justice and the Dignity of Life

11:00 – 11:45am
Gabe Lyons: The Common Good

11:45am – 1:15pm

1:15 – 2:30pm
Breakout Session 1
See Breakout 1 Sessions for more information

2:30 – 2:45pm

2:45 – 3:30pm
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez: Who is my Neighbor? Reaching out to the Immigrant

3:45 – 5:00pm
Breakout Session 2
See Breakout 2 Sessions for more information

5:00 - 7:00pm
Dinner on your own OR “Behind the Scenes” of the movie, NOT TODAYwith a free box dinner and discussion with star and producer. Limited seating – sign up at Registration.

7:00 – 7:30pm

7:30 – 8:15pm
Tom Davis: You are God’s Hope for the Orphan

8:15 – 9:30pm
Exhibits and Vendors in the Lobby

8:45 – 10:15pm
NOT TODAY – Special invitation to screen a new human trafficking movie, coming to theaters April 2013


Saturday Schedule

March 9, 2013 Conference Schedule

Saturday, March 9th: Session and Speaker

9:00 – 9:30am
Worship: The Desperation Band

9:30 – 10:15am
Serrin Foster, Feminists for Life: The Feminist Case Against Abortion: Why Women Deserve Better

10:15 – 10:30am

10:30 – 11:45am
Breakout Session 3
See Breakout 3 Sessions for more information

11:45am – 1:15pm

1:15 – 2:00pm
Glenn Packiam: The Heart of Justice

2:00 – 2:45pm
Michael Miller: The Poverty Cure

2:45 – 3:15pm

3:15 – 4:30pm
Breakout Session 4
See Breakout 4 Sessions for more information

4:30 – 4:45pm

4:45 – 5:30pm
Dr. Kneeland Brown: Let Justice Roll Down

Concert: All Sons and Daughters

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Little Heart Breakers

CooperConnerValentines 077

Happy Valentine’s Day from our precious little “heart breakers”. Smile


“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

1 John 4:7-8

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

40 to Forever


Click HERE to check out a novel idea to help orphans.  A mission to save 40 lives in 40 days, in conjunction with Lent.  Lent begins Feb. 13, and there are so many ways to fast during this season.  Please prayerfully consider what God might have you do during Lent, and if you need some help, perhaps this site will help.


As a bonus, there are lots of awesome giveaways!


I just love how God gives His people such a wide variety of ideas to live out James 1:27.  Thank you, Jesus!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Conner the Cowboy!

Hope you enjoy the above video of Conner!  Isn’t he just the cutest?  We adore him! 

If you’re having trouble viewing the video, click HERE.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Picture Schedules

Selah’s behavioral psychologist recommended I create a picture schedule to possibly help Selah with transitions, to possibly help expand her attention span, and to possibly help Selah to learn how to play with toys appropriately.  I need to create something that is portable and pretty much non-destructible. 

I’ve had a thousand thoughts running through my head about how to best accomplish this.  I love the idea, and I want to do this for Cooper and Conner as well.  (Cooper and Conner use object schedules at school and are moving toward picture schedules right now.)


For those who have no idea what an object or picture schedule is, it’s simply a tool for showing a child what to expect next in their day.  Think of a child who cannot read.  Instead of typing out a schedule for the day for that child to follow, one would try to make a schedule the child would be able to understand more easily, so pictures of that day’s activities would probably work better than mere words written on a page.  An object schedule is similar, only real objects are used to help the child understand what is next.  For example, with a picture schedule, when it is time to brush teeth, a picture of a toothbrush would be appropriate.  If you were using an object schedule, you would show the child the actual toothbrush to help them understand it’s time to brush teeth.  Picture and object schedules are often successful with young children and people with special needs.

Simon Says ABA Autism Keyring Activity - PECS Visual Aid for Autism Therapy

I’m excited to work on this project, so I’d LOVE to have your input.  I will need to schedule quite a bit, from wake up to bedtime, with each moment being scheduled.  Right now, we follow a good schedule with a set wake up time, set snack time, set lunch time, set nap time, set afternoon snack time, set dinner time, set bath time, and set bedtime.  However, the free play times in between each of those activities isn’t scheduled, other than that we try to be outside as much as possible.  We will need to schedule specific play activities into our free time.  This will be challenging because Selah doesn’t care much about playing with toys or sticking with any activity for more than a few seconds, but that is partly the purpose of having such a highly structured day—to teach Selah (and Cooper and Conner) how to play appropriately with toys, how to stick with an activity longer than 1-2 minutes, how to transition more easily, etc.

OK, so it’s your turn.  Please, please, please if you have a resource, suggestion, idea, etc., leave me a comment or email me at BossYourHeart {at} gmail {dot} com.  I am so looking forward to hearing your ideas!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


A big huge CONGRATULATIONS is in order for our beautiful Samantha, age 21, who got engaged this weekend to her sweetheart, Chip!  God is so good, and we’re so happy for both of you, Samantha and Chip!


I was 21 when I married Matt.  Best. Decision. Ever.  FO SHO!!!  I praise God for bringing Samantha and Chip together, and I thank Him in advance for the many glorious blessings He will shower upon the two of you as you live your lives for His glory.


Way to go, Samantha and Chip!  We’re so happy for you two!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mattie Won!!!

Back in December 2012, our 14-year-old daughter, Mattie, successfully completed her first Both Hands project.  She was (is!) the youngest project leader in Both Hands history!  Mattie felt called by God to lead this project, as a way of personally living out James 1:27, serving the orphan and the widow. 


Mattie worked for months to organize her Both Hands project.  The team of servants God blessed Mattie with would work together to bless a widow in our area whose husband died four years ago of cancer.  This widow’s home and yard and driveway were in complete shambles.  She had no one to help her clean it up and rebuild the areas that were completely rotten, sunken in, falling apart, infested with pests, unsafe, and in need of major repair.


This widow was immeasurably blessed by the work of Mattie’s Both Hands team. 


But the blessings didn’t stop there.  The team members gathered supporters to donate to the Both Hands project, in a similar way that people who participate in fundraiser walks/runs/marathons/jumpathons, etc. would gather supporters to donate toward their cause.


The donations would go directly toward orphan care at Village of Hope in Guatemala, where are good friends, the Block family, serve as founders and missionaries.  While one hand served the widow here in our area, the other hand would serve the orphan in a third world country, hence the idea behind the Both Hands name and concept—working together to live out James 1:27, serving the orphan and the widow. 


Oh what a blessing this project was for multiple people:  for the widow whose home and property was transformed by a team of teenagers and a few adults (parents to the teens).  For the orphans in Guatemala whose lives would be made better by the funds raised to help them.  For the team members who selflessly gave of themselves, from the fundraising and organizing, to the 10+ hours of sweat and energy poured into the manual labor required to repair and clean up the widow’s home.


Oh, but, once again, God’s blessings upon this project didn’t stop there!


Amy Block asked me to call her last night.  She specified to call when no one else was around.  I wondered what in the world Amy needed to discuss with me privately.


Well, I had completely forgotten that when Mattie completed her Both Hands project, her name was entered into a mission trip giveaway where the winner would receive a free mission trip to serve at Village of Hope in Guatemala.


Amy painted this picture in my mind of her daughter, Havyn, and her teammate’s son, Malakai, both former orphans from Ethiopia who now live as missionary kids in Guatemala, who were working as a toddler team to draw the winner of the mission trip giveaway.  Here are some pictures of these two precious blessings reaching into a bowl full of names who were entered into this giveaway, all the names of people in the US who organized a Both Hands project to benefit Village of Hope in Guatemala:



Well, imagine my complete shock to hear Amy announce to me that this is the name that was drawn from this bowl full of names:


Amy asked me if I would take photos of Mattie as we shared this exciting news with her.  Mattie had already gotten ready for bed, but my husband insisted she get up and come to our bedroom because we had something very important to discuss with her, something that couldn’t wait until the following morning.


Mattie nervously sat down at the foot of our bed.  When Matt shared with her that she WON the mission trip to Guatemala, he snapped a few photos of her reaction:

Mattie VOH winner! 007

Mattie VOH winner! 010

Mattie VOH winner! 011

Mattie VOH winner! 001
Mattie VOH winner! 004
I think she was excited, don’t you?


Thank you so very much for this opportunity, Block and Ucherek families, founders of Village of Hope in Guatemala!!!  I know God has BIG things planned for Mattie through this trip.  The timing of such a huge reward is incredible, as Mattie and I just returned from a Christian retreat that I took her to as her 15th birthday present.  Mattie’s heart has been so burdened for the orphan, and she’s been praying for God to give her more opportunities to serve the orphan, particularly overseas.  I think He’s already answering Mattie’s cry for opportunities to do MORE!!!  Amazing!

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