Favorite "Meditation of My Heart"

Call unto me,

and I will answer thee,

and shew thee great and mighty things,

which thou knowest not. --Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Awesome Friends

Today was such a nice relaxing, yet productive day!  My friends and their friends provided some wonderful amusement as they worked to get us votes in the Ecomom Facebook competition!  And as a BONUS everyone leaving comments made me feel even more overly BLESSED!

I was able to finish a "bunch" of stuff for the Family Reunion since I was at the computer today.  I got invitations, check lists, and maps finished.  I finished adoption post placement reports on 7 kids AND had time to visit through instant messenger!  And if my Monday night students are reading this....yes, I finished writing your test...I know you are relieved that it will be ready. ;)

Friends provided much amusement today as they worked to get Facebook friends to vote for us.  Glenda sat the Allan children on the task and they take tasks VERY seriously!  I don't think it was accidental that we moved from 4th to 3rd place within an hour or so of their being on the job, but when your family runs an orphanage in rural Ecuador on a tight & creative budget, well...let's just say those kids have the skills to do any job!

Doesn't he look great without his Oxygen?
We want more "cordless" time than just pictures.
We're hoping a healthier home can help.

Other friends went above and beyond with emails, tweets and phone calls to friends.  A cousin (who has replaced her dad as "My Favorite Cousin") had it put in her church's youth announcements AND assured me that I am not old, just because I can only handle one instant message conversation at a time. 

However, my favorite message of the day said, "I'm having trouble voting, my wife says I have to be your friend."  Luckily, after he became my friend he was able to follow the link and vote.  I better enjoy having him as a friend now because he'll probably unfriend me on Monday! ;)

Truly I feel wonderful knowing so many people care about our family.

Also so many have said such nice things about our family when they voted, but I am most proud of the TYPES of comments everyone is leaving.  All of the comments are about our family's love, care & awesomeness!  NO ONE has hit my pet peeve by talking about what our family is "missing".  As you know, some folks in this world see our family and think things OR even SAY things like "That poor woman in a wheelchair and then to have all those kids with problems".  Of course, nothing sets me off more than pity!  My kids do not have problems!  My kids have diverse abilities and are perfectly beautiful children in every way!  BUT the impressive thing is that ALL my friend and family "get it" and shared it in their comments and in their Facebook statuses.

I would argue with everyone saying we "deserve" this, but I'm feeling so extra blessed that people feel we are doing a good job with what the Lord has already blessed us with!  There are SO many deserving families asking for votes and we have been blessed with such a lovely home and such amazing kids that I feel selfish asking to make it better!  I must say, no matter if we win or not, this experience has been such a blessing and a boost!  Thank you to EVERYONE!  Have a HAPPY and blessed Easter!  Please vote for us one last time and enjoy a great day with your family!

Friday, April 22, 2011

We are in 6th place!!!!!

Some people are having trouble voting or think they voted and were't logged into facebook so it did not count their vote.  Please make sure your vote counted by following the link again to make sure it says "I Voted", where it did have the "Vote" link on the lower right side.

The link is below.  People can vote daily, but it ends Monday at 3am!

Of course, feel free to "friend-me" on facebook and you can go to my wall for the link!
Thank YOU for VOTING!!!!!  This is AMAZING!

Problems voting from blog

Some people who have voted from te blog link do not have their votes being counted!  Please sign into facebook before voting.  On facebook you can go to my wall or to ECOMOM for the link to vote. Thanks!!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I stand...ummm sit....ummm U know what I mean...AMAZED!!!

Okay as of midnight, we are in 7th place, which is unreal! 
I cannot believe the number of people who have responded to requests to vote for us! 
We are truly blessed with supportive friends and family! 

Nate who would benefit the most.

So we need to stay in the top 10
until Sunday night when the
contest ends for a chance to win. 
I would say, "impossible", BUT
after going from 15th to 12th
to 7th place in 48 hours...
well, I'm not making any limiting judgements about our friends, our family or our God! 

REMEMBER:  EVERYONE with Facebook can VOTE every 24 hours. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

12th Place!

For those of you who haven't heard, right now
we are in 12th place for a $75,000 healthy home makeover! 
The winner will be selected from the top 10 places and the voting ends Easter Sunday night.  I CANNOT believe that we are THIS close to qualifying as finalist!  Our friends, family and their friends are amazing me!  I feel so blessed just seeing such an outpouring of support!

As the contest goes on, we have learned more about the types of things that are included such as all new Bosch appliances (& some of you know how I LOVE my Bosch washer/dryer!), new dust mite resistant mattresses, the latest in allergy free flooring, and so much technology/advancements that we had never even heard of or dreamed existed.  Truly, not just Nate could breathe easier, BUT it would improve all our allergy and sensitivity issues.  Of course, we haven't qualified yet, but just the update information that we have received from Ecomom's has been VERY helpful in rethinking how to improve the air quality and overall healthiness in our home. 

So if you are a Facebook user and get a chance please go to Ecomom and vote for our family. When you click on the Ecomom link in my blog, it will take you right to our entry. You scroll down and clink on the vote link on the right side.  It is very easy!  Plus you can vote everyday through Sunday!

If you have not already, please consider posting this so your friends can vote for us too.  If you have Easter dinner guest invite them to log onto Facebook and vote....is that going too far?  Badgering Easter guest?  Probably, but this is an amazing situation...I NEVER dreamed we would be this close to qualifying...THIS IS REALLY EXCITING!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Contests & Cookie Sheets

Okay, I'm in a bit of a dilemma...I like to focus on being content and happy, not just with people, but with things too.  For example, just because I have only one old cookie sheet I don't go buy another because my bottom oven rack burns cookies and I can only have one cookie sheet in the oven at one time anyway.  I try to focus on repairing, not replacing and limiting expenses for things that I think are pretty or fashionable.  I figure that I have the prettiest of all fashion and decorations, in my ever-changing, growing children, AND nothing is more beautiful than them!

So when someone told me about a contest on FB to win $75,000 healthy home makeover, well, I just did what I usually do and said to myself, "Oh that's nice."  BUT then I started thinking about all the "stuff" on my wish list and all the good stuff it could do for my kids AND oh, I was so tempted to enter!  BUT I think contests make people--or at least me, discontent--I think it makes us change our priorities and we start thinking we "deserve" something....BUT oh, how wonderful it would be...SO I CAVED!  I entered. 

The contest only goes until April 24th and we only have a chance to win if we are in the top 10 for receiving the most votes on facebook so yes it is highly unlikely we will win.  Considering that I already CAVED, if you are on facebook and have a few minutes drop by this link:  Ecomom and vote for us.

This is our wish list if we win:
  • New heating and air unit-The one we have now is too small for our house because when the previous owns built on, they did not increase the size of the heating and air unit.  The a/c freezes up about 4 times per summer and always on the hottest days.  Since Nate cannot handle the heat well, we retreat to the mall, the (non-smoking) bowling alley or other air conditioned family friendly places until it thaws several hours later.  Plus Grace's room is never as warm or cool as it should be so this would end her needing extra fan/heater.  (The heater always makes me nervous.)  We had priced fixing this before and it was $14,000.
  • Air filtration system to improve breathing for Nate.  Others like Jon, Hannah and myself with allergies will benefit too, but Nate will notice this one the most! We price this before and it was $2800.
  • Water filtration system would end our purchasing water for Nate.  We think this would be around $1000.
  • Remove carpeting from the downstairs and replace with a dust free option.  We think $6500.
  • Add a second w/d that is energy efficient.
  • Enlarge my raised bed garden.
  • Install a roll-in shower for Jon in the downstairs bathroom so he can get a "real" bath easier.  Right now he gets bed baths and a real bath 2x a month. We had gotten a price on this before and it was $5000.)*
  • Install a lift between the upstairs and the downstairs.  This will make it much easier to get Jon, Vanessa, laundry & myself up/down.  (Varies $12,000 & up)*
*We don't know if they will consider these within the guideline, but these were already on our future expenses list anyway so I'm putting it on this list!

So now I just have to avoid the daily articles that Ecomom sends me on "stuff" that I "need" for my home until April 24th AND if I get too discontent, then I guess I can splurge and get myself a cookie sheet at a yard sale!  (Oh, see there...this is why I hate contests and sweepstakes...already has me thinking about another cookie sheet!)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.--Psalms 23:1

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,
in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. --Philippians 4:11

Monday, April 11, 2011


Pain is a topic that most people do not want to hear about and it is a topic that only the most socially inept discuss at any length.  In fact we all frequently say, "How are you?".  But what we mean is tell me everything is fine, and rarely do we challenge a person for more details. 

So today's blog is about my pain so if you're asking "how am I?" well the answer lately is "not fine".  Since November, my artritis pain and joint swelling has been at an all time high.  I've caved into taking more than trusty Mega Red Krill Oil (which in my opinion is the best natural arthritist pain remedy in the world) and I'm popping a pain pill daily and sometime twice daily.  Yet the pain continues.  My hand, my foot, my hips, my tailbone and my stump.....yes, even my stump!  I cannot believe the "dumb luck" of having my foot amputated and having the doctor leave just enough of the joint to be able to have arthritis and swelling! So needless to say I've been to the doctor and I'm getting set up with a new arthritis specialist, but they cannot get me in until July. Hopefully, the new specialist will have an answer that I can live with and which I am willing to take.  The last specialist a number of years ago, gave me a drug previously used for chemo therapy which turned out to zap my energy and caused some dangerous side effects.

I have always had pain in my "bad" hip, and if that pain disappeared I'd probably panic and think I had died.  I'm not sure exactly why my "bad" hip always hurts, but it can probably be best explained by the fact that my hip was a playground for various "practicing" surgeons while I was younger.  HOWEVER, I'd definately be pinching myself if it stopping hurting.  I've frequently had pains in my hand and foot too, BUT  the "new" pain is a problem because it causes swelling, reducing my flexibility.  I hate to reach down to the floor.  I hate to stand or hop on my foot.  I hate to get on the floor, because I KNOW I'll have to get up.  THESE are all REGULAR stuff that I have ALWAYS done and suddenly I avoid them.  Needless to say, I've gained weight because I'm moving less SO I'm determined to find time to get some stretching in each day and maybe even some aquatherapy. However finding time with 10 kids is going to be tricky, but it has to happen!

Please keep me and my new aches, pains and swollen joints in your prayers.  I miss getting on the floor to play with the boys and I REALLY miss being able to ignore the pain, which was previously only my reminder and assurance that I was alive.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches,
in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake:
for when I am weak, then am I strong. --2 Corinthians 12:10

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Blessings (Check-in)

Well, its been three months since the New Year and I blogged about our budget.  I talked about our hopes and our plans for the funds God gives us this year.  You may remember that our goals were the following:
  1. to help us quickly pay off the $4500 in medical bills we accumulated in October 2010 (deductible & co-insurance time)
  2. to put braces on Corrine's teeth
  3. to pay into our emergency fund to bring it back up where it was when the boys arrived
  4. to finish fencing the back yard and pouring a concrete patio
  5. to install a new deck with a ramp into the backyard
  6. and if all this is accomplished...then saving to fund our emergency fund by an extra 50%
  7. and if God REALLY blesses, then a second washer and dryer hook-up and a super large capacity washer and dryer
I happy to report that the pay off on our original medical is down to $1,100.  Arkansas Children's Hospital gave us a Charity Grant for $2,025.  Then St. John's agreed to accept 65% on a $675 bill, and of course we've been making payments.  Since January 1st we also received an 80% discount from St. Louis Children's on the private pay portion of Vanessa's care.  With Vanessa having hip surgery, this is very important to help avoid new medical debt!

Number 1, 2 and some of 3 should be accomplished when our tax return finally arrives.  Oddly enough, we made progress on #7 because my cousin Brenda gave us a dryer.  I don't have a hook-up for it yet, but the dryer is here and ready! (I am so excited and thankful to Brenda!)

Food expenses have been on the rise (in case you haven't noticed!) and my goal of $1000 per month for all household (food, diaper, formula, cleaning supplies, clothes, gifts and shoes) has been reachable with the help of  ad matches and coupons.  Our family has 5 birthdays in April and May so there are some soup bean dinners in our future this month and next.  Sometimes I wonder how it is that our kids don't seem to notice that more beans, more pancakes, more grilled cheese sandwiches, more spaghetti, and more creative uses of tuna ALWAYS precedes holidays and birthdays!

I'm super thankful that we are only about 6 to 8 weeks away from getting to eat out of our garden (and our friends' and family's gardens).  With prices increasing, I cannot believe more people aren't planting gardens this year!  I had already planned herbs, lettuce, spinach and radishes.  Today David and I planted 8 tomato plants.  Tomorrow I'm hoping to get some green beans and peas out.