Monday, April 29, 2013

Mattie’s Home!


A number of you have contacted me to make sure Mattie made it home from her mission trip to Guatemala. We are happy to announce that, YES, Mattie’s HOME!  We all missed her greatly, but Selah’s “welcome home” to Mattie was over the top!  I so wished I had been prepared to capture it all on video.  By the time I got my video going, Selah had calmed down.  When she first saw Mattie, Selah ran like a Cheetah and jumped into Mattie’s arms, all while squealing with delight, “MATTIE, MATTIE, MATTIE, MATTIE, MATTIE!!!”  It was the most precious “welcome home” in history in our family!!!


We’re preparing to drive to Nashville for the Summit 9 conference, hosted by Christian Alliance for Orphans. It’s a HUGE conference on orphan care, education, resources, and advocacy.  We’ve been blessed with a myriad of families and friends who are watching some of our kids at home while the others are going with us to the conference!  YAY, we’re so excited!  We already have plans to meet up with some of you there, and I hope to meet many of you in person. Smile


Oh, one more thing:  Hopefully the Boss Your Heart shirts will be posted on our blog tomorrow for pre-orders.  Many of you have asked if we’re done selling them.  Nope, we’re running a little late this year, but we WILL BE selling our Spring 2013 Boss Your Heart shirts as a fundraiser to help orphans around the world, in memory of Chrissie.  Stay tuned, you’re going to LOVE the new colors and designs!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It’s Boss Your Heart Day (3rd Anniversary)!


Today is Boss Your Heart Day!  It’s so hard to believe it’s the 3rd anniversary of this miraculous day.  I pray God enables you to boss your own heart through all circumstances, no matter how seemingly impossible!  With God, all things are possible.  When we are weak, He is strong.  Praise Him!

Please take a moment today to read the miracles that occurred on this day in 2010. 

Every single time I read this story, I am more and more in awe of all God did on this day three years ago.  Those who were present in PICU Room 1 at Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio will recall all of the miracles and emotions vividly, but my prayer is that everyone who reads Chrissie’s Boss Your Heart story will also feel the miracles and emotion as vividly as those of us who were in the room.  There is not one single detail in this story that is exaggerated or inaccurate—if anything, the words written below fail to capture the brilliance of the miracles that occurred on Boss Your Heart day.

Here’s a copied and pasted version of Chrissie’s Boss Your Heart Day:

Chrissie amazes me. God knocks my socks off. I am blessed beyond words.
Today was a tough, tough, tough day.

When Chrissie was bleeding so badly and rapidly earlier today, we knew that it was serious. Dr. Kupferschmid was looking really stressed about getting Chrissie off the ECMO machine. There was just no way to stop Chrissie's bleeding unless we got her off the ECMO because they couldn't give her any blood-clotting medicine while on the ECMO, in fact, they had to keep pumping her full of anti-coagulating medicine in order to keep her on the ECMO.

If Chrissie hadn't started bleeding today, she would still be on the ECMO now. The right side of her heart still needed rest. It was still too weak to perform on its own. It was obvious when viewed via echo (sonogram) that there was no way this girl's heart could hold its own. Not for a few more days, at the least.

So, when we were told about the "do or die" situation with getting her off the ECMO today, it was a bit of a panicky mode for Matt and I. We knew that Chrissie's heart and lungs were still in very bad shape. We knew that if they disconnected the ECMO and Chrissie's heart and lungs weren't strong enough to hold their own, then we would lose her and there would be NO getting her back after that. The ECMO is the biggest, baddest life support system out there, particularly the rescue circuit that she was on! There would be no other options out there if Chrissie's body failed her.

On top of all of this, I never mentioned to you that our beloved cardiologist, who was sent straight from God, left today to go to Iraq on a heart mission trip with Samaritan's Purse. She's my earthly rock. She gives me the low-down in layman's terms. She cries with us, prays with us, laughs with us, and reminds us of Who is really in charge, The Great Physician. Dr. Porisch had been recruited for this heart mission trip (which she volunteers to do quite often) before Chrissie had so many complications. Dr. Porisch told us last night (in tears) that she REALLY didn't want to go to Iraq and leave Chrissie and us behind at this time. God reminded her that He was calling her to head to the ancient town of Nineveh, the same place where He also called Jonah to so long ago. But, Jonah disobeyed God and ran away because he didn't want to go there. And we all know what happened to Jonah! So, Dr. Porisch told God she would obey Him, and she would leave Chrissie in His hands as she obeyed and headed to ancient Nineveh, even though she REALLY didn't want to leave Chrissie at this time.

So, my cardio-rock was GONE today during this time or crisis. UGH! This forced me to rely solely upon God, knowing it was all in His hands from Day 1, and He ordered these steps with sovereignty. Dr. Porisch stopped by to see Chrissie and tell us goodbye before she headed to the airport. We hugged and reminded each other that it was going to be OK, it was all in God's hands, and He didn't need either of us in order to make His plan work!!! She left the room in tears while I was forced to face the reality of getting Chrissie off the ECMO machine without Dr. Porisch around. (As if I had anything to do with getting her off the machine, but still!!!)

The team came up with their do or die plan to get Chrissie off the machine, and the first attempt failed. Chrissie's oxygen sats dropped down to 40, so they had to turn the ECMO back on. At that time, I went to Chrissie's side (she had been asleep, totally out of it), and I prayed Ezekiel 16:6 over her. "Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood, I said to you, "Live!", and the moment I said the word, "LIVE", Chrissie raised her eyebrows!!! I knew at that moment that Chrissie was telling me she was going to fight her heart out to LIVE. Dr. Kupferschmid said to keep doing whatever I was doing because her oxygen sats went up in the 90's when I spoke to her! I prayed over her, spoke Scripture over her, and continuously reminded her of how much we love her and how much we needed her to fight. She responded to EVERYTHING I said. Chrissie used the movement of her eyebrows to speak volumes to me as I claimed life for her broken body. Every time I told Chrissie that I loved her, she would raise her eyebrows, to tell me that she loved me back. The medical staff in the room (about 8 people) kept telling me to stop asking her to respond to me because her carbon dioxide sats were too high for her to be able to respond, but I told Chrissie to show them what her God was made of, and CHRISSIE RAISED HER EYEBROWS! Take that! My God is bigger than any paralytic meds and carbon dioxide levels that prohibit movement. Chrissie ministered to ME through her eyebrow talk!!! I knew she was going to fight her way through this.

There was a LONG way to go to get Chrissie off the ECMO with little time to spare. I started telling Chrissie to be the boss of her heart. (Chrissie is always looking for opportunities to boss someone around!) I told her to tell her heart exactly what it needed to do, and I explained it all in detail to her. Then I told her repeatedly to "boss her heart", and guess what?!? Right there on the screen of the echo machine (sonogram), Chrissie's heart started doing what it needed to do!!! Chrissie was bossing her heart, and her heart was obeying!!! The entire medical team witnessed it with their very eyes. I heard one person say, "There's no way." Another said, "Amazing."

So then the doctor shouts out for me to tell Chrissie to "boss" her lungs!!! I cracked up, but they were witnessing our God at work before their very eyes with medical equipment to capture it in action!!! So, I told Chrissie to boss her lungs, and I told her exactly what her lungs needed to do. I told her that her lungs were dirty/icky, and they needed to get cleaned up. I told Chrissie to send her lungs to the bathroom to wash up, and each time, they were coming back a little more clean, but not totally clean. So, each time that occurred, I would tell Chrissie to tell those lungs to march right back to the bathroom to finish getting cleaned up. They had to remove the icky carbon dioxide and open up and accept blood from her heart and oxygenate the blood. There was so much bossing to be done, but Chrissie hung right in there and bossed and bossed and bossed. She would tell me how hard she was working to boss her heart and lungs by physically shaking and moving her shoulders, arms, hands, and eyebrows. (This was all while she shouldn't have been able to move at all due to drugs and high CO2 levels!)

The doctors and entire medical team witnessed miracles before their very eyes. Right here in Chrissie's PICU room as I told Chrissie to show the world what her God is capable of. It was absolutely amazing. Seriously. Words cannot describe what we witnessed today. We went from a heart that was broken and collapsed, to a full heart where every chamber was beating perfectly and filled with the right capacitites, beating properly, pumping properly and doing exactly what a healthy heart would do.

We also went from lungs that were filthy and not filtering or oxygenating or removing carbon dioxide from the blood to lungs that were giving oxygen sats in the 90's while CO2 levels consistently dropped!!! Dr. Kupferschmid asked me to stay right where I was, doing exactly what I was doing while medical staff worked all around my daughter and me. Everyone was crawling through wires and tubes and machines just so that I wouldn't have to leave Chrissie's side. We only had "crawl" space available, but no one wanted me to move as God directed my steps and breathed LIFE into Chrissie. His life. Right before our very eyes.

Before we knew it, the ECMO had been turned off for 1.5 hours, as I "coached" Chrissie as God told me exactly what to say to her. She continued to communicate with me through her eyebrows. (She can't talk due to the intubation, and she had very little movement ability, but she forced her eyebrows to communicate with me!) So, the decision was made to convert Chrissie's PICU into an operating room (for the second time today) and completely remove the ECMO machine!!! I explained to Chrissie what they were going to do and what would be required of her, and how we needed her to continue to boss her heart and lungs so she could tell the world what her God is capable of, and Chrissie totally agreed with me by shaking her eyebrows up and down with absolute agreement and purposeful movement. She even cried. I cried, too, but I KNEW that God was going to save her and pull her through this. He was doing it miraculously before our very eyes.

We were kicked out of the PICU as the cardiovascular operating team moved in to do their stuff. (They all know us now and we know them...not something I wish upon anyone!) I told them that if Chrissie started to die, to come get me so I could tell her what to do so they could see our God at work. They assured me that they would.

Matt and I, along with my mom, sat in the waiting room and prayed. A man from our church, Mr. Bill Taylor (who has faithfully come by to pray with us), led us in prayer before he headed out to donate blood. It was all in God's hands.

About 2 hours later, Dr. Kupferschmid bee-bopped with a glow into the waiting room and told us to come back into the room. She did GREAT! He was able to get the cannulas out and repair both the jugular vein and carotid artery. (He had planned to not repair them and just tie them off because he didn't think he'd have time to get them repaired before she bled out.) He opened the lower portion of her chest and sternum and drained off a lot of extra blood. Everything remained stable during this time, and Chrissie was successfully removed from the ECMO machine!!! This was impossible just a few hours prior. It was so obviously God. Dr. Kupferschmid rubbed Chrissie's head and said, "Amazing...just amazing." He shook his head in disbelief, but a smile and joy radiated from his face. Our miracle girl was alive!

At that moment, Dr. Porisch texted me to say these words:

"I am in Denver now. It was the longest plane ride ever being unable to check phone, text or blog. I have been in constant wrestling match with the Great Physician since takeoff from SA. It is killing me to not be tehre with Chrissie and both of you! But God is in control and He is mighty to heal and save. You have been such an amazing witness to me and thousands of others. I am praying that God will strengthen you and uphold you on this unbelievable roller coaster. ~Mary"

I texted Dr. Porisch back to tell her to call me if she could! Moments later the phone rang, and I gave Dr. Porisch the praise report! Dr. Porisch was elated, and she shared with me that she spent the ENTIRE plane ride praying for Chrissie. She told me that the last blog update she got was that the bridging off the ECMO failed when Chrissie's O2 sats dropped in the 40's. At that time, she was forced to power off her phone. So, she cried and prayed and yelled at God the entire plane ride. She looked up every Scripture that had to deal with healing and giving life, and she prayed and claimed those for Chrissie. She said that the lady next to her surely thought she was crazy, but she couldn't control herself. Dr. Porisch said she finally gave up the wrestling match with God and cried out with desperation to The Great Physician as she drifted through the heavens, as close to God as she could be, claiming LIFE for Chrissie!

Well, would you believe that Dr. Porisch's prayer time occurred during the exact same time that Chrissie started to "boss" her heart and lungs and things started turning around so miraculously with Chrissie's sats and functions that the ECMO was able to stay off for an entire hour and a half?!? This is NO coincidence that on the very day at the very hour that Dr. Porisch is flying through the heavens with no internet or phone service, while she fervently prays for her patient to live, that God was moving mountains in PICU room 1 at Methodist Children's in San Antonio, Texas!!! Dr. Porisch obeyed her God's command to leave her patient and go to ancient Nineveh, and in her obedience, she trusted God and petitioned Him to grant Chrissie life.

And God answered her prayers and honored her obedience. A little different ending than Jonah's.

We are amazed.

Truly in awe.

Utterly grateful.

Forever blessed.

Dr. Porisch, you will never know how much you mean to me, precious servant of God. You took the risk of contacting me back in the summer of 2009 to let me know that you were willing to help save Chrissie's life if we were to obey God and bring her home from Serbia. When all other cardiologists stated that Chrissie's condition was "not compatible with life", you chose LIFE. His life. His way. You obeyed God's command to leave and go to ancient Nineveh, even when you didn't want to. Even when you begged God to let you stay. You sought His will and obeyed, even when it wasn't what you wanted. You prayed and prayed and prayed and cried and cried and cried and begged and begged and begged and pleaded and pleaded and pleaded on behalf of our precious angel, Chrissie. And guess what our faithful God did? He healed and healed and healed. He has used your obedience to breathe new life into our Serbian Sensation. We cannot ever express our gratitude for you. Ever. We love you and I already miss you immensely.

I will need to thank Dr. Kupferschmid and all of the medical team members and ECMO specialists for saving my daughter's life, multiple times, literally. I will have to save that for another post.

I have to thank YOU, my faithful prayer warriors, for continously lifting Chrissie and our family up. Please don't stop now as the road is still not clear. As you've witnessed on this Wonderful Witness Wednesday, God hears our cries and He answers our prayers.

"The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Genesis 2:7


Looking back on this day, it seems so crazy to me that “Boss Your Heart” became Chrissie’s legacy. 


I had NO idea on this day three years ago what all God had in store for us. 


I had no idea He would lead me to coach Chrissie by telling her to boss her heart. 


I had no idea people around the world would read that phrase and email me about the spiritual significance of bossing our own hearts. 


I had no idea that that 21 days after this day in 2010, Chrissie would go to live with Jesus and “Boss Your Heart” would become her legacy. 


But God knew all of this.  Not one thing took Him by surprise.  His sovereignty is unfathomable.


Today, “Boss Your Heart” lives on with spiritual significance for each of us.  We are to boss our hearts through all circumstances, no matter how seemingly impossible.  All things are possible through Christ who gives us strength.


Boss Your Heart!


PS  I’m hoping to post the photos of this spring’s Boss Your Heart limited edition t-shirts, with all proceeds benefitting orphans in memory of Chrissie!!!  You’re going to LOVE this year’s shirts!!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Counting the Days

Just one more day until our Mattie comes home! Yay! We’ve all missed her greatly, but have praised our Father for allowing her to serve with His joy this week in Guatemala.  I know this will be a life-changing trip for Mattie, and I can’t wait to hear all about it.



I was so happy to receive an email from Mattie the other night.  Here are the words that rung loudly as I read Mattie’s email:

“What's hit me the hardest so far was seeing Rosa's house and her family. I walked away in tears and shaken. I can see pictures all day, but there's nothing like the real thing.”  -Mattie, age 15, serving on a short term mission trip at Village of Hope in Guatemala

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Mattie is a very special young lady.  God has given her a heart and passion for serving others, particularly orphans overseas.  Addisyn (my friend Amy’s daughter) serves as the translator for Village of Hope.  This week, she has served as Mattie’s great friend and temporary “mom”. :-)  This mission trip was a mother-daughter mission trip, but Mattie attended without me (obviously).  This was God’s plan for Mattie, and I’m so grateful she was able to attend.  I’m also grateful for the friendship God gifted Mattie with when He put Addie into her life.  Mattie and Addie say they’re soul sisters.  God is so good!


Counting the minutes until you’re home, Mattie!  We love and miss you dearly!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chrissie’s Legacy Continues

I find it particularly fitting that two children who have a Chrissie connection are being united with their forever families this month.


I was completely unaware of one of these adoptions, but my heart rejoiced yesterday when I was made aware that London Joy, of Serbia, had joined her forever family in Texas.


London Joy was formerly known was “Maria”.  She was a precious little girl with Down syndrome whose referral photo reminded us of Chrissie.  When Chrissie went to live with Jesus, we asked people to donate to Reece’s Rainbow in memory of Chrissie, in lieu of flowers.  Reece’s Rainbow allowed us to select a child to receive Chrissie’s memorial fund.  As we prayed over various children, “Maria” was the child God led us to.  Maria was from Serbia, she was the same age as Chrissie, and her referral photo showed pure JOY, much like our Chrissie.


A family committed to adopting “Maria”, but later found out that “Maria” was not legally available for adoption because her paperwork wasn’t completed.  That family ended up adopting from a different country instead.


Over the last three years, we’ve prayed for Maria as she’s come to mind.  Her smiling face and pure joy has been forever embedded in my heart. 


So, you can imagine my elation yesterday when I discovered that precious “Maria” was chosen by a fabulous family right here in Texas, and “Maria” is now “London Joy Burman”!!!  And she’s HOME!!!  Chosen, treasured, and rescued!  Hallelujah!!! 


The Burman family didn’t know about the connection of our Chrissie to their London.  They named their daughter London Joy.  Chrissie’s name was Christyn Joy.  They created a video to capture their daughter’s adoption journey into their family, and the first song in the video is Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman.  Cinderella is a very special song to our family which always brings tears, for it was the last song Chrissie danced to here on earth, held in her daddy’s arms.  The Burmans also have a 15-year-old daughter with the exact same name as one of our 15-year-old daughters:  Madelaine Grace.  (Note the name is MadelAine, not Madeline or Madeleine.  Not a super common spelling of “Madelaine”.)  Don’t tell me our God’s not in this story!


Please watch the video below of London Joy Burman’s adoption story.  I know it will bless your socks off, as it did mine.


And, another adoptive momma and friend sent me a photo of her new son, a photo taken today in Bulgaria:


Here is the photo description/update on Facebook:  “Medical is done. Embassy appointment this afternoon then we're ready to head home! Orphan no more! Thank you Chrissie for being part of our journey. — with Lorraine Immel Patterson.”


God is so good to share this exciting news with us.  Even three years after Chrissie left this earth, she’s still playing a role in the rescue of orphans around the world.  This is her legacy, and we’re so grateful to be a part of her story, written by Him.  Seeing orphans become treasured family members is the best hug for a hurting heart, especially when there’s a Chrissie connection.  So grateful to be rejoicing alongside these families right now!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mattie’s in Guatemala!

Mattie is in Guatemala serving on her mission trip at Village of Hope.

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She was so very excited to go on her first mission trip without anyone from her family.  This is part of what she believes God is calling her to do in her future—serve orphans internationally.

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My friend Amy (founder and director of Village of Hope in Guatemala) posted some photos of Mattie, so I’m sharing them here.

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Can’t you just see the joy radiating from Mattie?

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I know Mattie, without a doubt, is LOVING her time serving in Guatemala.

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And I know, without a doubt, the people of Guatemala will be blessed by our Mattie, who has a huge servant’s heart.

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Mattie can speak some Spanish, but the photo below looks like no words were needed to convey love. Smile

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As much as we all miss Mattie, we know she’s right where God wants her this week. 

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Thank you, Amy, for taking these photos and sharing them with me.  Thank you for taking such great care of Mattie, too.  Mattie, we love and miss you dearly!  Keep shining for Jesus!  You rock!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reposting: This is Not Our Life

I am reposting this because the original video links changed after publishing it.  The video links have been fixed and should now display correctly.


God led me to watch the following three videos, which I’m sharing here with hopes that you’ll watch them, too. 


I understood why He led me to these videos once I saw the young man had a dangerous heart condition, similar to our Princess Chrissie.  (The specific heart condition wasn’t the same, but the dangerous part was.)



I believe Chrissie experienced that same peace this young man did.  I believe Chrissie wanted to come back to us the first two times she died (when God miraculously returned her to us), but on the third time her heart stopped, I believe Chrissie wasn’t wanting to leave that place in Paradise. 


Three years after Chrissie’s passing to live with Jesus, I feel like I finally understand the reality that heaven is our real home, better than anything we can fathom.  While I will always long to be reunited with Chrissie, my focus has changed to desiring all of us to be in heaven rather than wishing Chrissie were still on earth with us.  She is truly in Paradise.  Why would I wish to remove her from such a splendor beyond description?


I was telling my friend the other day that I feel like I finally get it.  I finally feel like I truly get how much greater heaven is.  More than mere words of how awesome heaven will be, in a way, I feel like I’ve had a teeny tiny taste of heaven.  It’s impossible to explain because I obviously haven’t experienced or visited heaven.  Perhaps God has just given me glimpses of the life my daughter is living.  These glimpses have given me a peace beyond understanding.  I feel as though my limited understanding of heaven has helped me to understand that if God allowed Chrissie to return to earth, it might feel to Chrissie a little like living homeless and sleeping in a cardboard box after experiencing the splendor of living and breathing in God’s Kingdom, dwelling in His presence, in His castle. 


The young man featured in the first two videos, Ben, seemed to feel the same way, without describing it in the same words. 


There’s just no comparison between heaven and earth.



Ben’s sister spoke at his funeral (in the third video), and I LOVED this quote:

This is not our life.  Our life is eternal, and that is God’s gift to us.  And this life is our gift to God.”  -Ally Breedlove, sister to Ben Breedlove (who now lives with Jesus)


What incredible wisdom and truth spoken by Ally. 


I pray I will live this life with truth, joy, love, sacrifice, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and selflessness, as a gift to our God.  Help me, Lord, to live my life with my focus on giving You a gift, living my life for You always.  Thank You for giving Chrissie her gift of eternal life.  I know her life on earth was an incredible gift to not only You, Lord, but to many around the world.  If I can live my life with just a portion of everything Chrissie gifted us (and You) with, I will have run this race well, but I can only do this through You, Jesus.  Thank You for always staying by my side, for carrying me when I couldn’t stand or walk, and thank You in advance for helping me throughout my future on earth, until I receive Your gift of living with You in heaven.

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I just found this photo Chrissie took at our house using my phone (a Blackjack phone) in January 2010.  Oh my!  Incredible!  Powerful!  Thank You, Jesus!

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Day That Changed Our Lives Forever

The last time we heard our sweet Chrissie’s voice was on this day three years ago.  We had no idea we would never hear her voice again.


Click HERE to read the first entry, 4/19/2010 at 9:15AM.

Click HERE to read the second update, 4/19/2010 at 10:30AM.


Click HERE to read the third update, 4/19/2010 at 11:05AM.


Click HERE to read the fourth update, 4/19/2010 at 4:15PM.  (I just read this and realized that Chrissie had most likely coded here, but I didn’t realize it.)


Click HERE to read the fifth update, 4/19/2010 at 5:45PM.  (This is when Chrissie’s heart stopped for 20 minutes, but God brought her back!)


Click HERE to read the sixth update, 4/19/2010 at 6:47PM.


Click HERE to read the final update from Chrissie’s first day of her hospital stay, which was technically recorded on 4/20/2010 at 12:40AM.  Here’s a quote from that update, along with two photos:

The photos are hard to look at, but I pray that when our King of Kings restores Chrissie's health, she will dance her way out of this hospital.


I didn’t realize when I wrote those words three years ago “she will dance her way out of this hospital” that she would dance her way out of the hospital and into heaven where she would eternally dance with Jesus.


Oh how different Chrissie’s story turned out than what we believed and prayed for.


The next 30 days (April 19-May 19, 2010) were spent by our daughter’s side while she courageously fought for her life in her beautiful warrior princess fashion.

God has taught me so much over the last three years, most of it being lessons I never knew I needed to learn.  He has grown my faith so greatly through the process of losing our daughter.  He has changed my perspective of life on earth and life in heaven.  My entire world has changed, but He has never once left my side.


Our God is faithful.  Our God is good.  Our God has a plan to give us a hope and future.  Our God is sovereign.  Our God loves unconditionally.  Our God is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can even think to ask.


Our God is able to create beauty from ashes.  Our God is able to heal the brokenhearted.


I have finally learned that heaven is the place we should all long to live.  It is Paradise and is beyond anything we can fathom.  Heaven is where our eyes should stay focused.  Eternal focus on eternal life.  We must make the most of our every breath on earth until we cross over to Paradise, living our earthly life for His glory always, for we never know which breath will be our last.


We have two choices—to trust God or to not trust God.  We shall not waiver when circumstances cause us to doubt.  We must boss our hearts to beat in sync with His, trusting in His sovereignty, believing in His character, and standing firmly on His promises.


Thank you, Father, for sharing Chrissie with us, even if her time on earth was shorter than what we desired.  We’re forever grateful for the blessing You bestowed upon us.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Missing Those Unforgettable Bear Hugs

This day is a sad day for our family.

Chrissie and Daddy

April 18, 2010, was the last day Chrissie spent in our home.

Chrissie dancing

We had a party for our princess before she underwent open-heart surgery the following morning.

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We didn’t realize this would be Chrissie’s last party on earth.

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She loved everything about her party, particularly dancing with her daddy.

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And Chrissie loved all of the jewelry she received.  After all, she thought her name was “Christyn Jewelry Patterson” instead of “Christyn Joy Patterson.” Smile

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She loved Barbie dolls.  Chrissie’s birth name was Barbara, and everyone who knew her in Serbia called her “Barbie”.  She thought Barbie dolls were actually her. Smile

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Such a beautiful princess who brought immeasurable joy to our family.

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Three years later, and I’m not sure it’s any easier.  We’re just more accustomed to walking through this day.

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Our house and family isn’t the same without our Serbian Sensation.  We have the joy of the Lord, but our spunky little princess is deeply missed and always will be.

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We know the party Chrissie lives every single minute in heaven is unfathomable, but our selfishness still wishes she were here with us.

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Chrissie’s dark, sparkling eyes, her contagious smile, her infectious laugh, her dimple on her upper left cheek, her bear hugs that almost felt like a strangle—none of those things can ever be replaced.

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But we praise God that we WILL one day feel those hugs again, look into those eyes again, and hear that laugh again.  One day in heaven, all things will be made new.  No more tears, no more pain, no more missing our beloved daughter.

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For now, we press on toward living our lives on earth for His glory, looking forward to the day we stand in His presence and have our daughter run and jump into our arms once again. 


Tonight, instead of partying on earth with my princess, I am speaking to a local MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group, in memory of Chrissie.  One of Chrissie’s former PICU nurses contacted me to ask if I would speak.  While I’ve spoken to a variety of groups over the years, the emotion evoked by speaking on this anniversary of the last day Chrissie was in our home, coupled with being asked to speak by a nurse who cared for our daughter, causes me to feel that lump in my throat, feeling on the verge of tears, yet bossing my heart and pressing on toward the goal.  Lord, help me to run this race with Your perseverance, for Your glory.  And, Jesus, please give Chrissie a big ole bear hug from her mommy!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thanks for Blessing Soles

Oh my goodness, y’all are so fabulous! 

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Thank you so much to everyone who mailed Crocs to Mattie so she can take them on her rapidly approaching mission trip to bless the soles of Guatemalans.

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We’ve got an entire suitcase (our biggest suitcase!) filled with Crocs, and Mattie is excitedly counting down the days until she gets to bless some Guatemalans with much needed shoes.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

An Amazing Family

Please click HERE to read about an AMAZING family and an amazing opportunity to help them rescue three more orphans with special needs!!!  Brent and Amanda Unroe are currently parents to 18 children, many with special needs, and they have 3 more on the way!  They’re living out what it means to love like Jesus does, unconditionally, sacrificially, and wholeheartedly.  They’re truly an amazing family with a heart for Jesus and His precious children.  They selflessly give of themselves to provide others with love, joy, hope, healing, family, and future.  Please support them with your prayers and gifts if you are able.  Read about the fundraiser below and check out the awesome prizes for this awesome family.  Thank you!


The information below was copied and pasted (with permission) from THIS site.  Praise God for amazing people who come alongside adoptive families to help them raise the funds to cover the costs of adoption.  There are so many ways to care for orphans, and I’m blessed to be able to share this family and opportunity with you today.


Love Multiplied 2.0 - MATCHING GRANT!


$500 matching grant!

24 HOURS ONLY! ENDS at 6:00PM CST on 4/16

We're at $905 right now. When we hit $1405 a very generous donor will give another $500 to these treasures! Which will bring them to $1905 and less than $100 away from unlocking the first iPad!!


Once upon a time in a land far far away there lived 5 neglected children who more than anything deserved to know the love of a family. To our magical internet kingdom they are known as Ahnja, Anita, Nicholas, Aleshia and Keith and they were in bad shape, they desperately need a mama to cuddle with them and a daddy to tuck them in at night. Aleshia, Ahnja, and Nicholas waited years for their mommy to find them, years just wasting away.

Aleshia was the same age as their daughter at home with Down Syndrome whom they had adopted from foster care. They couldn't bare the thought of what her life would have been like if she was born in another country, it was eye opening to this mama and she could not just sit back and ignore the conditions that these children were living in. Their hearts broke for Aleshia, she was their daughter, years of waiting and her family had finally found her. The family saw Ahnja's and Nicholas' pictures and instantly knew that they too were their son and daughter. This family's heart was not complete though, not yet! They told their agency parter to watch for a #4 that they could add to their adoption, she received an email that said the angency parter thought she found their daughter! Anita had become available in the same city that Nicholas and Ahnja were in and they commited to her right away, and well that was that, Anita made FOUR.

So they pushed on and continued working through the mountains of paperwork that come with all adoptions, nothing eventful. But then everything changed! HORRIFIC conditions were made public by previous adoptive families. It was getting A LOT of attention, there were hundreds of children living in what has been labeled the WORST institute in Eastern Europe, and they needed out NOW. This news moved hearts in unbelievable ways and the family that was already adopting FOUR kids knew they had a child that was within those walls. They saw his face and knew he was their missing piece.

Keith, who was FIVE YEARS OLD, was laying in a crib on the other side of the ocean, not mobile at all, not taken out of his crib ever, weighing less than 12 lbs.

The 12 MONTH sleeper his daddy brought for him was WAY too big on this darling boy. Keith came home wearing 3-6 month clothing at 5 1/2 years old.

But this Prince, he grew and he grew and he grew and he amazed everyone around him. He broke through every milestone like the rockstar he is!

The "Keith Today" picture was taken in February 2013.

Did I mention that he has siblings that absolutely ADORE him?

Keith went from developmentally being a newborn, to learning to roll, and crawl, and sit, and babble, and stand, and is now CRUISING, he'll be walking in no time! He is communicating, he is reaking havoc and making mischief, he keeps his mama on her toes, just like every boy his age should!

And this Big Boy, he was CELEBRATED! He turned SIX last week and for the first time his birthday was CELEBRATED!

and the rest of the Fab Five?

They are all doing great too!

I focused on Keith though for a reason.

This family left a part of their hearts in his orphanage. His mama knew she'd be back. Their journey didn't end with their Fab Five coming home. No not by a long shot.

This family is going back.

They are bringing home THREE more treasures from Keith's place of severe neglect.

THREE very neglected children.

This is the final chapter of this fairy tale, can we help them end this book properly with

Let's get these children their Happily Ever After so they can start an entirely new book of their very own.

But who are these children?

They are undiscovered royalty!

Meet Presley, Thad, and Carson

These kids have a story to tell.

We'll start with Princess Presley.

Presley is 3 years old. She is severly autistic. The description she was listed with was heartbreaking

"Presley does not walk, talk or have any self-help skills. She does not play with toys and avoids interactions with adults and children. The reports indicate that Presley’s physical growth is significantly delayed, both her height, weight and head circumference. Her weight is comparable to an 8 month old baby. The doctor’s report indicates the following: “The child presents anti-social behavior, lack of adequate human contact, willingness to remain isolated and elements of aggressiveness- Autism”. The psychological report indicates that Presley avoids contact with other people and will withdraw if contact is initiated, avoids eye contact and does not play with toys nor attempt to manipulate them at all (bang them together, etc) when they are given to her. Her responses appear to be only sensory related. She does have self-stimulating behaviors. Her cognitive development is listed at a 5 month old level and her social and communication development at below 3 months old.

Presley was born premature and has spent her entire life in an orphanage that is known to have sub-par care. It is possible that some of her delays are a result of her environment."

Here in our house, we live with autism every day and we KNOW that our daughter would not have survived orphanage life, any orphanage, let alone the place she is at.

Presley needs OUT!

Prince Carson is 6 years old and had Hydrocephalus that was recently shunted. Carson's description is as follows...

"Carson just turned 6 years old. He had hydrocephalus. A shunt was placed in 2011. He has no medical complications from it and has no other medical problems. He walks, runs, feeds himself with a spoon and plays well with other children. He is interested in everything that goes on around him. He plays with toys, stacks blocks, and likes to play hide and seek. He claps when cheered by adults. He can say a few words and understands everything that is said to him. He knows the members of the staff by name. He enjoys going on walks outside with caregivers."

Carson needs OUT!

And then there is Prince Thad, the saddest story of them all.

See, Thad was a healthy child who grew up in a family, until one day when he was 4 1/2 years old. It wasn't until he was that old that he was sent to this awful place. The sadness part was it most likely wasn't any more awful than his previous life. Like I said, Thad was a healthy little boy...until one day, one day when he was beaten so badly that he was left in a coma.

Thad's description was listed as...

"severe brain trauma from physical abuse that led to brain swelling; encephalopathy.

Thad’s disabilities are a result of trauma that he experienced while being abused. He was removed from the abusive environment and placed in an orphanage where he still did not receive the proper level of care for his needs. He’s considered significantly delayed and is extremely small for his age."

Have I mentioned that this TINY boy is NINE AND A HALF YEARS OLD?

Click on this picture, look closer at what his condition really is.

Yes, Thad was a typical 4 year old, but he is now much smaller than he once was five years ago. His body is so extremely atrophied from severe neglect. His body is horribly contorted and stuck. His family has seen videos of him, videos that show the extreme fear of being taken out of his crib, a place that he never gets to come out of. He is TERRIFIED, at nine years old he knows NOTHING outside of those prison bars that he has stared at for 5 long years.

It goes without saying that


And so I propose...

Love Multiplied 2.0 - iPads, iPad Minis, and More GIVEAWAY

This Trio needs out BADLY! They need love and medical attention. They need a mommy and daddy and a whole heck of a lot of siblings to show them the way!

Their paperwork is in country now and is expected to be submitted THIS MONDAY, as in two days from now! They should hopefully be traveling to meet their trio at the beginning of May. That is VERY SOON!

This family has a letter for Medical Expedite and needs prayers that the country will in fact expedite their process.

$20,000 is what they need to bring their children home.

It is a LARGE number but we know that God works in unbelievable ways and HE can do this.

Here is how the Giveaway will work:

This Giveaway is a tiered Giveaway.

Once we hit each Goal another prize will be unlocked.

All prizes will be drawn for at the end of the giveaway and not as each goal is met.

*Donations to this family through this Giveaway are NOT tax deductible.*

How to Enter:


Sharing our Giveaway PUBLICLY online, gets you ONE ENTRY

Please comment with a link to where you shared.


Donate $10 to receive ONE ENTRY.

Donate $50 and receive one extra entry; SIX ENTRIES

Donate $100 and receive 5 extra entries; FIFTEEN ENTRIES


You can share the giveaway PUBLICLY daily to receive an addition entry every day.

Remember the more you share, the more the giveaway is seen and hopefully the more likely it is we can “unlock” those big prizes at the top of the pyramid!

The Prizes:

When we reach $2,000 this prize will be UNLOCKED

When we reach $4,000 this prize will be UNLOCKED

When we reach $6,000 this prize will be UNLOCKED

When we reach $8,000 this prize will be UNLOCKED

When we reach $11,000 this prize will be UNLOCKED

When we reach $15,000 this prize will be UNLOCKED

So there it is! If you are an iPad lover there are SEVEN that we are trying to giveaway, if iPad's aren't your thing well we have options for you too, including Vitamix, Singer Serger, and Cuisinart Food Processors! In lieu of any of these prizes, if you win you can choose to have the money from the prize donated to any waiting child or family of your choice.

This Giveaway is scheduled to end on June 1st.

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