Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12 Days & Counting

This post was taken from a blog friend and you never know who might see this through another friend of a friend.  Please pass it along, share it with everyone you know.  You can tell from the date that it was posted....this sweet boy has 12 days and counting now.  Time is running out, but nothing is impossible with God!

December 20, 2010

time is running out...please help!

Twenty days is all this handsome young man has left to find his forever family. 

Just. Twenty. Days.

And then--he will never have the opportunity to be adopted again.

Oh my heart.  I cannot stand the thought.

Look how sweet he is....

I cannot even imagine being in his situation.  Seeing countless "little kids" leave the orphanage with their mom and dad and wondering, wondering, wondering, if his turn will ever come.

Sadly for this young man, time is about to run out.  He has waited for such a long time on waiting child lists--but no one has ever said "Yes" to him.  Can you imagine being passed over so many times?

Absolutely heartbreaking for any young person.

According to the agency that has his file, apart from a history of Hep B (just like our girls--very easy special need) he is healthy, smart, and a great thirteen year old kid.

Goodness, I just know that his family is out there somewhere.  I know someone will go.  Why?  Because I believe with all my heart that there is a family for every child who waits.  They just have not found him yet.

Unfortunately, there's a catch...

He absolutely must be adopted before his fourteenth birthday in February.  That means that his family MUST already have a dossier in Ch*na.  They must be in the process of adopting another child from this country and are willing to add this boy to their adoption.  Or, their dossier is in country and they are waiting on a referral.

One of my favorite lines from the movie, "Faith Like Potatoes" is when Angus Buchan says, "The condition for a miracle is difficulty, however the condition for a great miracle is not difficulty, but impossibility."

God loves to show His glory through seemingly impossible situations.

It's time to stand a trust the Father for a GREAT MIRACLE for this sweet guy.  As time ticks by and things become more and more impossible, I ask myself again, "Is anything impossible for the Lord God Almighty?"

I know the answer all too well.  So do many of you.

Nothing is impossible!  Nothing at all.  Not even this. 

Please, friends, can you help us to spread the word about this young man?  Post him everywhere you possibly can in the hope that his mom and dad will find him soon--before it is too late.  Once he turns fourteen he will be considered unavailable for adoption.  He will never know what it feels like to be loved and treasured by parents.  He will remain in the orphanage until he is sixteen...and then...well, who knows?  It is the sad reality of any orphan who ages out of the system.  Hopelessness.

Twenty days...that's all we have to get the word out there on the internet.  Will you please help?  Will you pray with us for the GREAT MIRACLE that he so desperately needs this Christmas?  Will you help to spread the word wherever you can?

I so appreciate your help.  You guys totally rock.

Let's give him the best Christmas present ever...a family!

If anyone wants more details, reply or leave a comment to this post, or e-mail me at renealynch at yahoo.com and i can put you in touch with the ones you need to talk to  regarding this sweet boy!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry CHRISTmas!

So..... I kinda missed the month of December!  Where did it go?!  Did anyone ever mention that the last two months of the year are quite simply THE busiest time of the year for photographers?  They should be enjoyed and leave you feeling blessed.  They leave me exhausted and quite frankly sometimes just disappointed in folks.  (Hey, we're being honest right?!)  I didn't say all folks, just some, sometimes.  For the most part December was a terrific month for me!  For us.  We are blessed beyond measure and spending time with family the last few days have reminded us of that fact.

I had a long post I was going to write about Black Friday last month, but everytime I started it.....well, it was always so negative I couldn't click publish.  It was such an awful experience.  Simply put, I was reminded why I do my shopping online!  I almost sat down in the middle of the WalMart on black friday and cried.  Yep.  That bad.  I hadn't been in over ten years.  So my first 're-encounter' was more than I could handle.  They now have security and police in the stores to keep people from stealing and fighting.  Which doesn't always happen, preventing it I mean.  There were actually grown women fighting over bed sheets.  Yep..... I almost cried.  So I'll spare you the gory details of that trip.

I discovered yet another new online friend, Christie Cotney and learned all about her return to Uganda, Africa to serve the people of Bugaboo Village.  The even better part...  learning that it only cost $100 to sponsor a child for AN ENTIRE YEAR!  We now have a new boy to add to our 'family'.  =)  Meet Samuel...
He is 5 years old and lives with his grandmother. He wants to be a pilot when he grows up. His favorite color is red. He loves to eat rice & meat, and his favorite animal is a cow.  And now, Samuel is a part of our family.  ♥

The really awesome part about Christie's ministry and sponsoring these kids is that your donation covers the children for the ENTIRE YEAR!  Samuel will now get to go to school, have a meal provided to him everyday, and have dental and medical check ups on a regular basis.  You can read more about Christie's mission on her blog and she updates with photos regularly!!!  We may even get to Skype Samuel someday.  We sent him a letter for Christmas.  One of the men that is helping Christie was reading her newsfeed on facebook and actually ask if 'Santa' was real or just a game?  Can you imagine living in a country where Christmas is celebrated ONLY as Christ's birth and nothing else added to the mix?!  What a testimony.

I also spent a week or two in December following Kristi & Kelly's trip back to Ethiopia!  I found these girls online over a year ago and love seeing what their families are up to and what Kelly is doing with Ordinary Hero.  They traveled back to ET to meet Kristi's daughter's birth mom.  WOW.  What an adventure in pictures and words.  My heart was overwhelmed with emotion just from a far.  I can only imagine the girls' excitement and love of the people there.  What a blessing to be able to share their trip through their blogs and facebook!  You must go read!  Especially if you are considering adoption!  Kelly has some new photos of waiting children on the Ordinary Hero site that are waiting for a new mommy & daddy!  Be still my heart!  ♥

I'm a room mom and got to help plan the Christmas party for Tanner's first/second grade class at school.  I'm the cool game mom! ;) lol  We had a blast!  So glad I get to be a part of his life (all my kids' lives!) like that.  Time goes by too fast not to take time to enjoy the little things!

And of course school Christmas programs were too cute!  The North Pole Goes Rock-n-Roll!  I made my little man an elf costume.  I turned this:
 into this:  (not too shabby if I do say so myself!)
 Santa visits the school every year after the program so the kids can tell him what they want for Christmas.

Then we had the Christmas program at church that Joy and I were in charge of with our youth group kids.  And I must say they did an AWESOME job!!!  We were so proud of them all!  And I was rather fond of one of the little wise men. ;)
Note to self.... next year teach dad how to shoot around the people in front of you. ;)  

And, well, then Christmas hit!  We spent Christmas eve with family at my Granny's.  Tanner hauled in on the golf gear.  Not sure where that came from but he was tickled to death!!! =)
Sugar high!  LOL ;)
Then we had Christmas at home with just us and the kids.  Aaahhhhh...... didn't have to go anywhere, drive anywhere....just enjoyed our kids and each other on Christmas day.  My parents came over, had lunch and gave the kids their presents and then it was just us again.

Did I mention Samuel!?! ;)  That was my Christmas present from my hubby.  His sponsorship and the most amazing letter from my man.  He's so wonderful.  I couldn't ask for more.  I am blessed.
Taylor made homemade 'Elf Cupcakes' from a recipe book she got for Christmas!  They were adorable!  Even if it did take her two days to make them!  LOL  Poor girl doesn't like cooking, and this little project reinforced her dislike for the kitchen.
The boy got us up at 5:30 a.m.!  Seriously!  Ugh...... ;)
Even Gus got a stocking with beggin' strips in it.

I was hoping Tyler would get a haircut as my Christmas gift.  ;)  Didn't happen!  lol  I still love him and his fuzzy locks!
Then today we went to my aunt and uncle's house for another Christmas dinner after church.  Lots of good food, more family and fun!  We went sledding just like when the big kids were little kids.  =)  Makes you wonder why you don't do these things more often.  ♥  We are blessed!

Hope you all had a very merry Christmas and look forward to a bright new year!  

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Give Thanks

Give Thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever! 
~1 Chronicles 16:34~

Our family gathered for Thanksgiving on Thursday.  Our little family of five and my husband's brother and his family of 6, along with my father-in-law.  Three teen/adult kids ages 15-21, and four wee ones from 3-10.  Yep, we scattered them in all ages, lol, but it makes for tons of fun!  The older kids played board games all day in the game room and watched videos, while the littler ones played with toys, played tag outside and entertained themselves.  And us grown ups.... well, we played cards after my sis-in-law and I cleaned the kitchen and the guys got in their game time and power naps.  ;)  

Us 'big kids' playing cards.

The attitudes playing board games. ;) lol
Gotcha sis!  My daughter always turns away when I'm taking pictures...  she didn't know I was 'packin' when I walked into the game room.  GOTCHA!  =)  Only picture of my daughter from the whole day.  Oh well.  ♥

Our 'twins'.  These two are cousins and just a few shorts months apart in age.  They are in the same grade in school and both were named after their grandmother....
My Tanner Lee, and bro-in-law's Chandler Lee.
And no, in case you're wondering....we didn't plan ANY of it!  lol  They get along famously!

Even 'cousin' Macie came for Thanksgiving.  And Gus was beyond thrilled to have a playmate for the day.  Just like the kids.  They wrestled, explored the great outdoors and took long, lazy naps all day.  (And thankfully....there will be no puppies in our future.) lol

Now... here's a cute little piece of useless information for you:  My husband's side of the family must have some super powered genes because all of our kids tend to look EXACTLY like their fathers.  So much so, that the cousins even tend to look like brother and sister.
Check out my Tanner:
And my niece Kenzie:

Downright scarey freaky huh?!  :)  But definitely adorable!

I can't believe we didn't take some pictures of the food and my HUGE new table that my hubby finished for me.  He bought an antique table at a benefit auction the church had, brought home a BEAUTIFUL surprise for me of a dining room table that is nearly 100 years old (I know this, because I know the family that donated it!), and I could comfortably seat all 11 of us for dinner.  Yep.... ALL of us, and I LOVED IT!

I know someday I'm going to have to have another 'kid' table when we start adding grandbabies, but for now, we can all sit together, share together, help one another, and love eating as a BIG family together. ♥ It was my favorite part of the day.  

After dinner (and before games and cards) I took family pictures for my bro-in-law's family.  (you can bet it was all his wife's idea! lol and we tortured him as long as we possibly could).  Family pics and a new Christmas card were made and I can't wait to surprise them with some extra goodies come Christmas time! ;)  I can safely share this tidbit because I know Michelle doesn't read my blog.  lol

My Bro-in-law Howie & awesome sis-in-law Michelle (who makes the most incredible chocolate pie ever!)

My oldest niece (and I claim her as my first child...long story) Brittany & Macie

New Christmas card with my favorite cuties!  Sidney, Chandler & Kenzie (aren't they just adorable?!)

♥ Family Christmas Card ♥
I just wish I had one for my OWN family! lol
I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving with your families.  Stay tuned to hear how it took a turn for the worse on Black Friday!  (just kidding.....but it wasn't pretty)

Friday, November 26, 2010

SERIOUS giveaway!

So, while surfing my many MANY blogs I love looking for inspiration for a few projects, I stumble upon a FANTASTIC giveaway for a new SILHOUETTE machine!  WOWZERS!

What is a Silhouette machine you ask?  
Well, surely some of you know what a Cricut machine is?  Right?  That fancy cutting machine that we all drooled over in the infomercials when we couldn't sleep at 2 a.m.  Yes, that one!  

 That nasty machine that you apparently had to buy new cartridges to use with it because the ones that were supplied with the machine, well....simply stunk!  Not a lot there.  And when you discovered that cartridges were anywhere from $25-$75 EACH!  It just plain stinks!  Gives highway robbery new meaning.

WELL.......  this new Silhouette Machine I'm hearing about is the same......only WAY better! ♥
It cuts and does all the fun sewing, craft and scrapbook projects you thought you were going to love about your new Cricut machine,
only it doesn't cost you an arm and a leg in the process!  You see, it hooks right up to your computer and you can download just the designs you want for as little as $0.15 each (yep, they're on sale right now...) or you can use the same fonts and images you already have installed in your computer!

YEAH, you read that right..... the fonts you ALREADY HAVE can be cut with this beautiful little machine.

Now, how do I know all of this you ask.....when I don't have one of my own?
Well, that leads me back to my blog addiction, I mean inspiration.  

The makers of the Silhouette have lost their minds!
They are giving some of these away!

And on Monday, they are having an insane sale if you don't win one!  CRAZY!  I can't wait to win one!  (hey, dream big right?!)
But if I'm not a lucky winner, you can bet I'll probably be adding to the budget this month, a new must-have necessity for our home.  Yes, I call it a necessity to justify splurging on myself from time to time.  I imagine all the cool things I can do as gifts and special surprises for others.  So, it's a service item.  It allows me to serve others more cost effectively.  yeah, that sounds great! ;) lol

Okay, so enough chatter..... check out this list of ladies who are hosting these giveaways:

And when you're done surfing all those sites and getting your entries in, check out THIS LINK for the actual Silhouette site to take advantage of their incredible sale going on Monday and all week for Black Friday deals.  ♥ 

Hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday with the family.  I'll let you in on our festivities tomorrow.  But now.......  back to contest entries!  I'm not finished!  LOL  =)

P.S.  Who wants to buy a slightly used, in excellent condition Cricut machine?


Monday, November 22, 2010


So, my bloggy friend Kim made a post about Oprah's recent show on 'favorite things'.  She said it so well, so rather than throw a bunch of mixed words in and get my mind to racing all over again, she's given permission to copy her post and share it.

Did you see what Oprah gave away this year in her annual "Favorite Things" show?

Me neither.

I'm sure it had something to do with chocolate, some kind of kitchen ware, wonderful bath salts and a scented candle. Maybe even all of those each month for a year. Or seven.

Who knows.

And honestly....who cares?

The TV was on for the first few minutes of the show...just long enough for my high school son watch a crowd of grown women scream and cry and have heart palipations because they are taking home some loot.

A lot of it.

While I don't have strong opinions of Oprah one way or the other, and I'm 110% sure she is not one of my readers, I don't blame her for the out of control reactions of the crowd. I blame "us".

My son commented, "Mom...wouldn't you be going crazy if you were given all that stuff?"

While I like a good bath salt as much as any other tired mom, I can honestly say I felt a bit sickened by the whole thing.

Enough to turn it off, actually.

It's just not my thing....and I pray will never be among my "favorite things."

Consider the Orphan. No, not Oprah...the Orphan.

What would rank as their top favorite things?

A Family.
Encouragment through life.
A place of belonging.
Knowing their Mom and Dad love them.
Knowing their God loves them more.


That, my friends, would cause THIS grown woman to scream, cry, and have heart palipations.
And I would do it in front of millions of viewers.

So, while you're thinking of your favorite things, or what you will shop for over the next few weeks consider this:  what if you shopped while meeting a need?  While giving to a good cause.  There are tons of ways you can give someone a gift, still pamper yourself in the process too and help someone else at the same time.  Over the next few weeks I want to share some ways to do just that.

For Today..........

And right now they are buy one get one FREE!!!!!!!  Click HERE to check them out!  I think I may need a few! ;)  You can also go to www.livefashionable.com to learn about this project and the story behind the cause.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

15 Already?

I can't believe my son is already 15!  Each year they grow past the 'teen' marker is another year you have to watch them become an adult and slowly, ever so slowly, learn to let go.  Which is totally bittersweet.  It's awesome to watch them venture into new things, stand up for themselves, be a friend/helper to others as they mature and seeing their faith grow stronger and stronger.

But at the same time....well, I want to hear him say, "I love you bigger mommy!"

Or watch him sneak out of his bed early in the morning to sit in the floor while watching Rugrats (yeah, that should date this old mom....), wearing his Blue's Clue's jammies, his red cowboy hat and eating powdered sugar donuts. :)

I want to hear the squeal one more time of his little voice when he got his first pet, a guinea pig at the ripe old age of 5.  (what was I thinking?!  lol  Oh yeah, he just wanted it!)  But now his voice is changing.  He's becoming a young man.  The occasional 'squeal' is still there, but it's much more unintentional now. ;)

How he used to lock me out of the car in the morning so he could stay home with mommy has turned into taking a test to get his driver's permit.  Oiy.

Teaching the daughter how to drive = trying, difficult at times, but never scarey.

Teaching the son how to drive = for some reason has me frightened, nervous, anxious and well, just all around hoping to avoid the inevitable.  Which shouldn't be my first thoughts, but it is.

For the longest time, he was the baby.  There is an 8 year gap between our last two children (which I would gladly fill with more babies when the good Lord sees fit to enlighten my hubby on what an awesome dad he would be to a few more [adopted] children).  So, I don't want to let him grow up so soon.  I sometimes don't give him enough credit for the accomplishments and abilities he has.

He reminded me today that Saturday is the barnwarming dance at school.  So, not only do I have a driver's test to deal with tomorrow, I have his first school dance to boot!  Can't he just go with his mother to the dance?

Can't he just let me drive him around a few more years?  Can't he just stay little forever?!  For some reason I want to rationalize that it's harder for mom's to see their little boys grow up and dad's have problems with their little girls.
I really STRONGLY dislike this picture of me, but isn't my son handsome?!  ;)

This son I was blessed with 15 years ago today is:







An incredible BIG/little brother.

An amazing son.

A heritage from the Lord.

Children are a heritage from the LORD ~Psalm 127:3~

He makes me:






Happy Birthday baby boy!  ♥  Don't ever change who you are, for God has a plan for your life and I'm just happy and privileged to be a part of it.  Follow Him, remain faithful and He will reward you.  I love you!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Drawn From Water

Are you drawn from water?  If you are, feel free to shout it out!!!  :)

Today was my 'anniversary' •November 14, 1999• was the day I was 'drawn from water'.  Did I celebrate today?  No, not really.  But I remembered.  I got up and went to church with my family, looked around me and realized just how far I have come with my life over the last 12 years.  Understanding the transition from a baby Christian to a grown up.  And yet, I'm still growing.  Everyday.

Going from the baby who starts a new life with my Savior, yet still fails miserably to do His will.  Recognizing my shortcomings and learning to grow from them....

Maturing into a grown up who wants to walk in His light daily, living for my Savior and choosing to walk away from sin at all costs.  I didn't say I was sinless, but we learn that as we grow as Christians we turn from sin and recognize it much easier.  We despise it and it saddens us.  Yes, saddens.

I want others to feel the joy and have the hope that I have by living with my Savior.  By making him #1 in my life He cares for me, provides for me, loves me and blesses me beyond measure.  As our Sunday school lesson taught us this morning that we find hope and rejoice even in the bad times.  Even when things can seem to be at their worst, we still worship a living God who never will foresake us.  It's wonderful.  It's awe-inspiring, it's magical...... some days it's just indescribable!

So, today.... I celebrate my anniversary of being drawn from water.  12 years ago, on a warm and sunny November afternoon we left directly after church and went to the lake down the road.  Richard Key dunked me in the lake, washed away my sins, and started my life anew.  While family and friends looked on.  It was a beautiful day.  I loved every second of it.

And something I want to share with you all is "DRAWN FROM WATER".... literally.  An organization working in Africa that started all from one child being drawn from water.  But not in the sense I've been talking about.  Not in a raising up, washing sins away, beginning a new life type of way.  But in another life-saving way.

DRAWN FROM WATER began when one little girl was pulled from a river to save her life.  Her tribal custom deemed her 'evil'.....'unworthy'......   mingi.

Mingi is a term defined as the state of being impure or "ritually polluted" in certain African tribes.  In some tribes, a person, often a child, who is considered mingi is killed by forced permanent separation from the tribe by being left alone in the jungle or by drowning in the river. Reasons for being declared impure include birth out of wedlock, the birth of twins, the eruption of teeth in the upper jaw before the lower jaw, and chipping a tooth in childhood. Those who are separated often shadow the tribe, but they eventually succumb to hunger or predators.

A little girl was pulled from the river to save her life as she was sent out to be drowned.  All because her top teeth came in before her bottom teeth.  Wow....  I can't even begin to remember, without pulling out the baby book, how my children's teeth came in.  We just marvel at how cute they are or grumble over the sleepless, drool-filled nights while they are teething.  We never give a second thought to how our children's teeth come in.  After all, they're baby teeth.  Eventually they will be lost, we'll tell our kids about a tooth fairy and slip quarters under their pillow at night as a reward for being so brave when that tooth fell (or got pulled) out.  :)

We can't begin to grab hold of the ideas and rituals of a tribe that will drowned a child, literally kill them, because of such a thing.  One of God's precious children.  A child of promise, of possibility.....oh the possibilities held within the mind of a child who is nurtured and loved.

This organization, DRAWN FROM WATER, that began with saving the life of one child has now grown into a thriving orphanage that houses, feeds and educates the children in their area.  Please, check out their website.  You can even sponsor children now to help.  You can look through their photos, their ages, their names, and discover when or why they were brought to the orphanage for care.  Just yesterday I saw another small baby whose parents, yes--a mother and father--brought their son to the orphanage because they did not want to see him put to death.  For the very same reason.  His top teeth emerged before his bottom teeth.  Imagine the joy of being a parent, showering a child with love, making them laugh and giggle and drool while playing or tickling........ only to be heartbroken and have to give him away to save his very life.  Wow..... just please check them out.

If nothing else.....PRAY for these children.  Pray for this tribe to see the light.  Pray for missionaries to be able to share the love of Jesus with them.  To show them that they are children of God, they are perfect.  They can have hope.  With Jesus.  Mingi is not in my vocabulary.

So glad to be drawn from water today.  ♥  Praising my Savior.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Clean Freak...

NOT!  That's right, a clean freak I am not!  But I love being frugal!  My friend Carla shared a link with me to make homemade laundry soap!  That's right!  LAUNDRY detergent!  It's quick, it's easy and OH SO AFFORDABLE!  That's the best part of all.

Considering we pay anywhere from $10-$15 per jug of Tide, it was a welcomed task of making 10 gallons of soap for the mere cost of less than $2.00!  Yep, you read that right....  and I don't know about you, but 10 gallons of laundry soap will last me quite some time.

What you'll need:

1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

  • Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with 4 cups warm water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

  • Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
We had lots of help in the kitchen.  And of course Gus always wants to be right in the middle of everything.  :)
My hubby with his Vanna White hands showing our finished product.  lol
And who in the world has anything big enough to cover a 5 gallon bucket?!  We just happened to have this bucket from watering the horses.  It's now a soap making bucket!
  • Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)  This is how you end up with 10 gallons because you are watering it down yet again.  
Our finished product the next morning.

It's a good thing I tend to be a hoarder (and the kids never clean up the laundry room after themselves), because we had enough empty laundry soap jugs to fill (15 total!) to store all 10 gallons.  :)  We used a few fabric softener jugs but rinsed everything out before filling with the new soap.  Don't forget to shake it before each use!!!

  • Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
  • Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
  • Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
  • Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)
My husband actually likes to help do things like this so he was the stirrer while I poured ingredients and 'supervised'.  ;)  lol  Move over Bill Nye the Science Guy!  

This would be a great project to do with the kids for a homeschool activity or 4H demonstration, etc.  VERY easy, but make sure you supervise.  You're still dealing with cleaning agents and don't want the kiddos to get anything in their eyes or ingest anything.  Because they might end up looking like my kid.....  

Okay, well, maybe it wasn't ingesting anything abnormal.  He's just a goofball!  :)  Time to put away the halloween costumes.  lol

Lots of fun and creative ideas coming in the next few days/weeks.  We're going to have lots of gift giving ideas and links to share.  I'm shopping with a cause and want to share fundraiser links, plus we're making homemade gifts.  Today we made bath salts!  Mmmmmm.....  Can't wait to share those!  Hope you all had a terrific weekend.