Thursday, March 28, 2013

Orphan Justice

“Choosing to stand by and do nothing where we see injustice, suffering, and evil is wrong. It is sin. We must take active steps to care for orphans. To do anything less is blatant disobedience.” -Johnny Carr, page 20 of Orphan Justice


I was given the privilege of reviewing a new book (just released March 1) on orphan care called Orphan Justice…How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adopting by Johnny Carr. 


WOW! So far, I LOVE this book. I hope to do a short review chapter by chapter over the next month or so, but while you wait for me to finish reading the book, I strongly encourage you to purchase yourself a copy. There’s some fabulous information in this book that I haven’t found anywhere else yet. It’s almost a how to book, but better—how to care for orphans beyond adopting—for EVERY Christian, but more than that because it gives the why’s in addition to the how-to’s. Because God calls ALL of us to care for orphans!  This book gives each person practical, doable ways to live out James 1:27, caring for orphans.


“I see time and again that caring for orphaned and vulnerable children is not often on the radar screen for many Christians.  Somehow, in our concern for living “a good Christian life,” many of us are missing God’s passion for the fatherless.” –Johnny Carr, page 15 of Orphan Justice


“Cursed is anyone who denies justice to foreigners, orphans, or widows” (Deut. 27:19 NLT).  To our God, taking care of orphans isn’t just a “great idea.”  It’s critical.  Why?  Because every man, woman, boy and girl—including orphaned and vulnerable children—has been created in God’s image and is precious to Him.”  -Johnny Carr, page 16 of Orphan Justice


“Stop and consider this:  Just like the children of Israel, we, as God’s people, will be judged for withholding justice from the oppressed and the orphan.  If we have the means and the capability to care for orphaned and vulnerable children, yet fail to do so, we are in direct disobedience to God.”  -Johnny Carr, page 17 of Orphan Justice

Chapter 1 is entitled “True Religion, Orphans and My Family”.  It tells a little about Johnny Carr’s family and his journey into the world of adoption, while at the same time, opens the readers eyes to the truth of God’s love for the orphan, as well as His mandate that we, as Christians, step up and do something, anything, to care for orphans in their distress.  Way to spur us on, Mr. Carr!


Click HERE to purchase your copy of this book today.  I encourage you to read it aloud with your children.  Ask God to show you how He wants you to step up to care for orphans beyond adopting.  Then obey.


PS  If you have questions you’d like to ask the author of this book, Johnny Carr, please leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to get all questions answered. 

Monday, March 25, 2013



You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” 

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Friday, March 22, 2013

Modest Swimsuits

As summer rapidly approaches, many are in search of the perfect swimsuit.  For our family, we try to pursue modesty, but finding a modest swimsuit these days is quite the challenge!


I wanted to share a few sites that have super cute, modest ladies swimsuits.  The suits are more expensive than Wal-Mart suits, but, for our family, we’re willing to spend more money on modesty.  Of course, we would LOVE to find swimsuits that are modest AND inexpensive, so if you have any suggestions for us, we’d LOVE to hear them!!!


Here are the sites we’ve found that offer cute modest suits:


Do you have a favorite site for cute modest swimsuits?  Please share!

Thursday, March 21, 2013



Today is World Down Syndrome Day.




Three 21st chromosomes.


One of God’s greatest gifts to the world.


If you don’t know someone with Down syndrome, I encourage you to pray for God to lead a person with Down syndrome into your life.  Your life will never be the same.


Lots of people say hugs are found on the 21st chromosome.


I think they’re right.




Along with lots of smiles.  And laughter.



And love.



So grateful for the gift of our sons who are blessed with that extra 21st chromosome.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Splashes of Joy

Cooper and Conner have loved water since the time they had their first real baths in Ukraine (in a bathtub instead of just an orphanage sponge bath).


Their precious faces fill with joy any time they get to splash in the water.



I think swimming pools are a glimpse of heaven for these boys!



Spring Break brought us some wonderfully warm weather, so we fired up our hot tub and decided to swim.  At the mere sight of a swim diaper being pulled out of the closet, Cooper started flapping and got so excited.  I was quite impressed that he remembered the swim diapers and what that would mean—SWIMMING!  After I put Cooper’s swim diaper on him, he got up by himself and walked right out the door, all the way to the pool, barefooted!  That boy couldn’t wait to get in, all because he knew what that swim diaper meant.  Not another soul was in the pool at that time, nor had anyone gotten in the pool since last summer! What a great memory Cooper has!




Cooper and Conner picked up right where they left off last summer in the pool!  They seriously love the water!  Both boys love to put their faces in the water, blow bubbles, kick their feet, and swim everywhere using their flotation devices.  If you look at the above photo, you’ll see that both boys have their faces buried in the water as they swim.  So awesome!




We couldn’t keep Cooper out of the big pool, even though it was much colder water than the hot tub.  He used his feet to kick, kick, kick to explore the big pool.




Beautiful Selah loves the water, too.  Such fun to have the blessing of a pool for these water babies!  In the above photo, Cooper is peering down the river that leads to the pool, wanting to make a break for it and run to the pool!



Kiefer thought the pool was way too cold.  He’s a hot tub guy!  Notice Cooper floating on his back behind Kiefer in the above photo.  Smile



The dog kept an eye on the kids in the pool.  Thank you, Maggie. Smile



Ryder preferred to rest in the stroller.


Feels like the dog days of summer around here!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Exceedingly Abundantly

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” –Ephesians 3:20-21

Ephesians 3:20-21 is my verse for 2013.  I didn’t select this verse, but God did.  He showed me this verse on December 30, 2012, during a sermon preached by our pastor, leading us into the new year.  I had read that verse countless times before, but it never struck me the way it did on that day.  God impressed upon my heart that this would be my verse, applied by God, for 2013.


On that day, I had no idea what this might look like for me in 2013.  The words “exceedingly abundantly” were the words that really stood out, as if they were spoken aloud in bold font.  Many people claim a word for each new year, a word they believe God has shown them to be the focus of the upcoming year.


Words like:

  • intentional
  • grace
  • love
  • forgiveness
  • diligent


Those are just a few of the popular words people have claimed for 2013.


For me, God gave me the words “exceedingly abundantly” for 2013.  He probably selected two words for me because I have such a hard time narrowing things down to just one word. :-)  And “exceedingly abundantly” implies far greater abundance than the lone word “abundantly”.  To remove “exceedingly” would be to rob God of how abundantly He planned (plans!) to bless us for 2013!


I had no idea what these words would mean for 2013, nor how they might affect my life.


If I had tried to dream up what those words might look like specifically for me in 2013, I would have fallen so short of what God had planned for my 2013.  That’s exactly what this verse says!  “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…”


It’s only March, just three months into this new year, but He has already done exceedingly abundantly above all that I could ask or think.






Above all that I could ask or think.


Exceedingly abundantly doesn’t even begin to describe all that He has already done specifically in my life in just the first three months of 2013.


My description of all that He has already done would pale in comparison to the reality of what this verse looks like for our family in 2013.  I would be doing Ephesians 3:20-21 an injustice by trying to describe what exceedingly abundantly looks like for us.


Love beyond our ability to fathom.


Joy beyond our ability to fathom.


Peace beyond our ability to fathom.


Kindness beyond our ability to fathom.


Goodness beyond our ability to fathom.


Faithfulness beyond our ability to fathom.


Possibilities beyond our ability to fathom.


Financial provision beyond our ability to fathom.


In a nutshell, God’s provision for 2013 has been exceedingly abundantly above all we could even dare to imagine. 


One of the unexpected ways God has lived out exceedingly abundantly in 2013, is that He has blessed us with helpers.  We didn’t even realize that we needed helpers.  Or wanted helpers.  Or would ever have helpers.  Above all we could ask or think.  Helpers to come alongside our family to bless us exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think.  And guess what?  One of our helpers moved in with us this weekend!!!


Exceedingly abundantly.  I told you so!


It is my pleasure to introduce you to KJ:



KJ is like a daughter to us.  We’ve known her for about seven years.  Back when we met her at church years ago, when she was just in junior high, we had no idea she would eventually live with us!  Exceedingly abundantly.


Everyone in our family loves KJ.  She is an amazing helper who loves the kids and jumps in to help at every opportunity.  Nothing intimidates KJ!  What an unexpected blessing for 2013!


Blessing beyond measure.


Exceedingly abundantly.


To Him be the glory.


Thank you, Jesus!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


We’ve been super busy this week, but I wanted to take a quick moment to ask you all to continue to pray for direction for Boss Your Heart Orphan Ministries.  We had the privilege of meeting with Tom Davis and his wife last Saturday in Colorado Springs.  Tom Davis is the CEO of Children’s HopeChest.


I met Tom back in the fall of 2010 when we were both featured guest bloggers on the same panel at the Together 4 Adoption Conference in Austin.  My friends Amy Block and Angel Wier both know Tom personally.  I took a photo of the 3 of them together at the conference, not realizing then that God might use that time of meeting Tom to bring us to lunch 2.5 years later in Colorado Springs!


Tom has graciously offered for Boss Your Heart Orphan Ministries to partner with Children’s HopeChest, to have access to their abundant resources, as well as their staff in many countries.  This is an incredible opportunity!


It is our hope to begin this new opportunity by building a children’s home for orphans with special needs in memory of Chrissie.  We want to do a family style setting where children would be with house parents, as similar as it gets to a real family.  It’s also our hope that we can do this in Guatemala at Village of Hope, but we have some more praying to do and lots of logistics to work out.


It’s our hope to do a campaign in memory of Chrissie during the time frame of April 19-May 19 of this year, which will be the 3rd anniversary of Chrissie’s 31-day hospital battle.  We always do a t-shirt fundraiser during that season, and it was always our hope to have a benefit during that time as well.  We’re praying for God to show us what He’d like for us to do this year.


We would greatly appreciate your prayers.  Thanks so much!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Life, Justice, and Us

Matt and I are so blessed to be at the Life and Justice Conference in Colorado Springs. 

photo 2


God has been placing a heaviness on Matt’s heart over the last few months that he needs to do more for the orphan.  Matt’s been praying for God to reveal what He wants, what His next step is, what He has planned for Boss Your Heart Orphan Ministries.


God led us to this conference.  There’s so much good and helpful information being shared at this conference.  It’s so encouraging to listen to Biblically-based messages regarding God’s heart for those who have no voice, for the least of these, for the oppressed.  Life and justice.


There have been so many fabulous speakers sharing fabulous messages. 


Here’s a video clip I took at the opening of the conference:


Matt and I are having lunch today with Tom Davis, founder and director of Children’s HopeChest.  He’s an author.  An orphan advocate.  A dad to bio children and adoptive children.  A man with a heart like His. 


Will you please pray for God to speak to us through Tom Davis?  God birthed the Boss Your Heart Orphan Ministries through the life of our precious daughter, Chrissie.  God has allowed us to make a difference here and there through Boss Your Heart Orphan Ministries, but Matt feels that there’s so much more that God has planned.  He’s anxious for God to reveal the next step.  We would greatly appreciate your prayers that God would reveal His plans for us and Boss Your Heart Orphan Ministries.


Here are a few random photos from the conference:

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

photo 5


A new movie, Not Today, is coming to theaters April 12.  The movie reveals child trafficking in India.  We got to meet with the producers, main actor, and voices behind the movie.  I highly recommend the movie.

photo 1

photo 3


We woke this morning to huge snowflakes.  We spent time on our knees praying for God to speak to us boldly and clearly today, thanking Him for this opportunity.  There are just so many different directions and opportunities to Boss Your Heart Orphan Ministries to take.  Word of God speak!

photo 5

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pringles for Rowan


If you’ve followed our blog for a while, you’ve heard me speak about our special friend, Rowan, whom we adore.  He’s such an inspiration and a great blessing to our family.  Rowan has truly blessed our family in more ways than we can count (and so has his mom…and his sister, who designed our Boss Your Heart shirts!). 


Now we have a chance to bless Rowan!


Would you like to help?  It won’t even cost you any money, just a little time.


Rowan is allergic to everything except potatoes.  Seriously.  He receives 90% (or more) of his nutritional needs through a specialized non-allergenic formula that is fed to him via G-tube (a feeding tube inserted into his stomach). 


Rowan can eat potatoes and potato products via mouth, as well as a few hard candies, but that’s it.  Can you imagine how boring that diet would get?  Oh my!


Well, for a limited time, Pringles is selling Sea Salt and Pepper flavored chips.  Rowan LOVES these!!! 


Unfortunately, Rowan’s mom hasn’t been able to find these limited edition Sea Salt and Pepper Pringles in her area.  She already purchased all of the cans she found, and she’s checked her city and surrounding cities for more without success. 


If you’d like to bless Rowan, please search for these limited edition Sea Salt and Pepper Pringles in your area.  Wal-Mart carries these, but they usually stock them near the registers, not with the other chips.


If you find any cans of the limited edition Sea Salt and Pepper Pringles, please, please, please purchase all of the cans you find!  I will personally reimburse you for your expenses. 


You may mail them directly to me at PO Box 1708, Kyle, TX 78640, and I will personally deliver them to Rowan. 


When your shipment arrives, please include a copy of your receipt, along with your mailing address, and I will mail you a reimbursement check.


If you’d like to send Rowan a note of encouragement, that would be awesome, too!


Thanks so much for your help!!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Happy 1 Year Home, Coopie and Connie

On this day, a year ago, Cooper and Conner arrived in Texas at the age of six years.


They were emaciated and lifeless.  Their first week home was spent at Dell Children’s Hospital.  God immediately began a mighty healing work in the lives of both Cooper and Conner.


The difference three months of love and nutrition made in Conner’s life was nothing short of miraculous.



Both boys have changed so much over the past year, it’s hard to believe these are the same boys!!!

day 10 kremenchuk 026

Above photo taken February 2012, in Ukraine

Below photo taken February 2013, in Texas

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Praise God for redemption.


Sweet, beautiful, glorious redemption.


All glory to God!


Madison Nine, prayer warrior for Conner and Cooper, created a one-year-home video of the boys.  I’ve posted it below, or you may click HERE to view it.  Thank you so much, Madison, for creating this photo montage!  We love it!

Both boys were severely malnourished, abused, and neglected for the first six years of their lives, in an orphanage in Ukraine.  They’ve now doubled their weights, they’re receiving proper nourishment, they’re chosen, they’re cherished, they’re loved beyond measure.


Neither Cooper nor Conner were able to walk when they arrived home, but now they’re walking everywhere.


Cooper had severe bilateral club foot.  Now his feet are straight and functional.


Neither boy was able to chew food when they arrived home.  In fact, the doctors ordered surgery to place a gastric feeding tube in Conner.  But on the day of surgery, Conner started drinking from a cup, and from that day forward, things have progressed miraculously right before our eyes.  Both boys are eating real food now, chewing and swallowing like big boys!!!


Both boys are able to sign words to communicate.  Conner especially likes to sign, and he has about ten words he signs consistently.


Cooper and Conner were not able to attend school in Ukraine because children with special needs are hidden from society, unworthy of love, attention, education.  Now, Cooper and Conner attend school in our area and are both thriving.


For us, the very best thing about the boys first year home is the amount of love they’ve brought to our family.  It’s truly joy indescribable. 


All glory to God for the miraculous work He has done!


We love you Coopie and Connie, as Selah affectionately calls Cooper and Conner.  We are so blessed to have you in our family.  Thank you for being you. 





  • 16 pounds (March 4, 2012—age 6 1/2 years)
  • 33 pounds (March 3, 2013—age 7 1/2 years)

Length (head to heel)

  • 32 1/4” (March 4, 2012)
  • 34” (April 1, 2012)
  • 39”  (One year later: March 3, 2013)

Length (hip to heel)

  • 15” (March 4, 2012)
  • 16” (April 1, 2012)
  • 19 1/2”  (One year later: March 3, 2013)

Length (shoulder to wrist)

  • 10” (March 4, 2012)
  • 10 1/2” (April 1, 2012)
  • 12”  (One year later: March 3, 2013)

Waist circumference

  • 14” (March 4, 2012)
  • 17” (April 1, 2012)
  • 18 1/2”  (One year later: March 3, 2013)

Wrist circumference

  • 3 1/2” (March 4, 2012)
  • 4” (April 1, 2012)
  • 5”  (One year later: March 3, 2013)

Ankle circumference

  • 4” (March 4, 2012)
  • 4 1/2” (April 1, 2012)
  • 6”  (One year later: March 3, 2013)

Upper thigh circumference

  • 7” (March 4, 2012)
  • 8” (April 1, 2012)
  • 10”  (One year later: March 3, 2013)

Head circumference

  • 18” (March 4, 2012)
  • 18”  (April 1, 2012)
  • 19”  (One year later: March 3, 2013)




  • 21 pounds (March 4, 2012—age 6 1/2 years)
  • 43 pounds (March 3, 2013—age 7 1/2 years)

Note:  I do not have Cooper’s measurements from when he first came home, but I am posting his current measurements.

Length (head to heel)

  • 43” (March 3, 2013)

Length (hip to heel)

  • 22” (March 3, 2013)

Length (shoulder to wrist) 

  • 12” (March 3, 2013)

Waist circumference

  • 24 1/2” (March 3, 2013)

Wrist circumference

  • 5 3/4” (March 3, 2013)

Ankle circumference

  • 6 1/2” (March 3, 2013)

Upper thigh circumference

  • 11 1/2” (March 3, 2013)

Head circumference

  • 18 1/2” (March 3, 2013)
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