What's Really Happening

PRAISE GOD!  Another $50 donation came in last night, so we're down to needing 544.04 more to be able to send in our homestudy packet on Monday! 

I wanted to have a little fun today, and the blog has been desperately devoid of pictures the last several days.  Have you seen those posters with 6 cells going around on Facebook?  The ones where it says, "What my mom thinks I do, what society thinks I do, what I really do"?  I thought I'd make one of my own based on a verse that is helping me today. 

1 Corinthians 9:24-Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

This is what I thought I'd do.  *I* did it!  *I* paid for our home study!  Or *I* raised the funds for our homestudy!

This is what I *feel* like, asking people to help us.
This is the reality...needing God and people to help me while I'm weary.
And THIS is the only way we will finish.  To have faith and to run TOGETHER to win the prize!
I don't have to tell you again that I need your help.  But I will.  Because I need to keep leaning on my support until the 4th picture is a reality.  We don't deserve your help, we're just a normal family with a big calling, but we appreciate it and with your help, a fatherless child will find a warm, loving home and some pancakes on Saturday mornings.
We're not saints.  We're not martyrs.  We're just people in need of help and feeling very vulnerable.  But we have a BIG faith in a BIG God who never stops using His people to further His kingdom's cause.  We're in the process of giving all we have toward this.  We are so humbled and grateful for your love and support and we need it MORE THAN EVER as these are the last 2 days before we're scheduled to turn our packet in. 
There are THREE ways to help.
1. You can help us the most by SHARING this page with everyone you know.  They will share with the people they know and think about it...your friends list on FB is how many?  What if only 10% of them passed it on to their friends list?  And 10% of them passed it on?  That's exponential growth!!  The better the publicity, the better the chances that we get word out to those God has planned to help.

2. You can help by DONATING.  There is a ChipIn button on the side bar at the top of the blog.  You can't see it if you're mobile, in which case, there is a PayPal DONATE button to click on directly following my post here.  (Thank you, Shawn, for helping me figure that out last night!)  If you select "gift" when checking out with PP, 100% of your donation will come to us (no fees taken out).  We only need 108 more people to donate $5 each!  That's not many people at all!!

3. If you have a baby in your life, you can click on the banner to purchase some amazing baby shoes and if you mention us (Doyle Adoption) at the checkout, she will donate $5 from your purchase to our home study fees.  This is only good until Sunday, September 30th at 11:59pm.  That's tomorrow night!  Be sure to get a pair for the baby/toddler you love and then spread word of THAT sale, too!! 

And because it bears repeating, THANK YOU for your prayers.  I kinda mixed up the order a bit up there, didn't I?  Prayer is truly the very, very best way you can help!  Allow me to put some faces with those prayers for you, please.
This is our family.  Allan, Tara, Rhiya, GraceAnne, Violet & Corbin.

 This is a sibling group here in Kansas that we asked for prayer for.  They need a home like so many other kids in the system, but larger sibling groups are harder to adopt out because people are scared to take on so many at once.  Please lift these precious babies up, that their forever family comes to find them soon!  They are Tykia, Triquanna, Tadya, Tywron and Jerry
And this is a sibling group in Texas who also needs a forever home.  Aren't they adorable!?  Same prayer requests, of course and that ALL of these children will grow in the Lord and have HOPE for their futures.  They are Da'Shawn, Xravia, Ny'Teia, Tre'Drian, Drelon and D'Camren.

Thank you so much, God bless you and we pray you have a fabulous weekend!


Friday Night Light

I love how God constantly works for us while we're sleeping.  There's not much sweeter than waking up to some emails that say "someone wants to bless YOU."  (Except the sound of our littles giggling together, or getting a soft kiss from a tiny person and hearing "I love you, Mommy.")  Last night we got some donations and a couple people bought shoes from Pitterpat (click the banner at the bottom of the blog if you love creative gift ideas for babies/toddlers.  My friend at Pitterpat makes the most amazingly cute, durable, comfortable shoe your child could own and she's offering $5 toward our homestudy costs for everyone who purchases a pair and mentions us at checkout!)

So now we are OVER HALF WAY TO OUR GOAL!!  To break it down for you, here is the math

Total Cost: 1231.80
-PP balance (your donations!) 377.51
-cashed in change 200.24
-cash donation 20.00
-checks by mail 40.00
594.05 left to raise!!

That is only 119 donations of $5! 

I cannot begin to explain how much it warms my heart that you have all felt called to help us by sharing this page or donating money to our home study costs.  I don't feel like we deserve it.  The voice in my head says, "if you can't do this on your own right now, it shouldn't be done."  "Quit asking people for help, who wants to help you?"  "Just stop bothering everyone."

But the Truth~that still small voice says, "Tara, I sent your family on this journey.  I will send the funds and I will use My people to do it."

Today I've been working in the kitchen and putting together fundraising packets for our family full of Equal Exchange materials.  I'm very excited, but I know that first things first...we have got to find $594.05 by Monday so that we can turn our home study book in and move on to the next phase.  SO!  Please share the blog with that handy little share button on the side ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
and email it to your friends and family and ask THEM to share and let everyone help bring some kids without families to their forever home.  We so appreciate you all and thank you for all you're doing!

All our love and prayers!
~Tara & Co.



This week. Wow. 

Monday we signed our new wills. Monday I tried eggs and my throat swelled up.  Evidently I am sensitive to eggs, so I decided to continue my Reboot diet just adding something small here and there to see if there are any other sensitivities I didn't know about.

Tuesday I had to take the littles to get their physical to *almost* complete our homestudy book.  They were wound for sound from the time we got there.  They were climbing the walls, quite literally.  Jumping off of chairs, hanging on furniture, washing their hands-ad nauseum...they wouldn't listen to ANYTHING or ANYONE.  Not a nurse, not a doctor, not mom.  I was really stretching my grace, but thankfully God has plenty to spare.  The doctor looked them over, commented on how rambunctious they were being, berated me for considering bringing adoptive children into our home when our children aren't fully vaccinated and then she left.  For 30 minutes.  During which time Violet defied me and finally gave in, sitting next to me with her thumb in her mouth and Corbin tried to nose dive off the examination table, so I held him in the other chair while he...


and screamed.

and screamed.

The nurse stuck her head in to check on us in the middle of it all.  We must have looked very interesting with the paper from the exam table crumpled all over the floor, wet handprints everywhere, crayons in all parts of the room, Violet sitting quietly next to me while I calmly hold Corbin tightly so he can't move.  While he screams.  She didn't say a word, just looked in (to make sure I wasn't torturing him??) and then walked out.

Then the doctor graced us with her presence again and sat down, passed out stickers in an attempt to get the littles to calm down (didn't work, they just yelled about wanting "Punge Bob Kware Puhnts" instead) and proceeded to tell me that she could not judge my whole life by a 20 minute visit, but that she was writing down that she suggested they visit our home before they place us with a child. 

Because my kids were being such turds.

**for the record, we do NOT watch Spongebob...they have seen it at Children's Hospital, of all places, while we wait for Corbin's opthamology appointments with his surgeon. I believe they also saw it at the laundromat before we left Texas**

Then she left for another 15 minutes, whilst I ruminated on all that.  Thankfully they have to do a home visit anyway, so the suggestion doesn't really count for much, but WOW!  What a thing to be told.  I really can't say as I blame her, and I'm not mad at her at all, it was just...crazy.

She came back in with their charts and the little tests I had to give them before they had turned completely insane and she was shaking her head with a puzzled look on her face.  She said, "They are *really* smart."  I kinda chuckled and then she said, "no, I mean, really...look at this.  Violet is doing developmentally on target for a 6-year-old (she's 4) and Corbin is doing things on target with a 5-year-old (he'll be 3 in Dec)"  I just kinda looked at her.  I mean, I know my kids are geniuses, it's not news to me, but I wondered what it meant to her.  She said, "maybe that is why they're so curious."  And I laughed out loud.  Maybe ma'am.  Or maybe the devil poked them with a naughty stick this morning. 

We left and they slept 2 hours in the car.  Yepp, it's exhausting to go nutso in the doctor's office and tear it down tile by tile. 

That evening Allan and I were supposed to start our foster classes.  The sitter came by early, we got out the door with more than enough time and on the way we saw the most beautiful sun beams that people paint pictures of with God's hands.  The windows were down and the weather was cool.  I even said to Allan, "yepp...we're in God's will.  This is perfect."  When we arrived at the destination, I was confused...these were residences, not a business.  A lot of circling blocks, searching the internet on my phone and a couple phone calls later helped me discover that we were actually 31 minutes away from where we needed to be.  And class was starting in 2 minutes.

Can you feel the hope draining from the car?  Well, thankfully the coordinator let me know that this was actually the orientation and we could just join next week.  To make the most of it, Allan and I went to coffee and a movie instead.  Hey!  When in Rome, right?  After the day I had, I needed some down time.

Wednesday I got a call from the foster agency and happened to ask a question about vaccinations because someone told me that we can't foster without current vaccinations.  She asked some specifics and proceeded to tell me what we would need to "catch up on" to be eligible.  I told her, (very nicely) that wasn't happening and asked how we could possibly get around it.  She's still researching, I guess, because I haven't heard back from her. 

I discussed with Allan and we reconfirmed that we are sticking to our guns on this one.  A good friend helped me find the religious exemptions for Kansas and I got it all filled out, we just need to get it notarized.  We're proceeding as if this is not a glitch.  WHY?  Because I let it discourage me for 2 days and have lost 2 days of fundraising.  Lost 2 days of hope.  But the Lord reminded me that HE sent us on this mission and if HE is for us, who could stop us? 

We have nearly $700 to raise by Tuesday.  I can't be discouraged another day.

Today we found out that Allan's job is in limbo.  The company he works for has been shady for a while, but it's coming to a head.  We're hoping and praying for a job offer from another company.  But all these things seem laughable, really.  Because of faith and hope in a God who is MUCH bigger than any of these things. 

So here it is: here is where I implore you.  We still need $691.26 to be able to turn our completed homestudy packet in by Tuesday, October 2.  4 full days.  That is ONLY 138 people donating $5.  Each time one of my friends has shared this page, we've gotten donations from people we don't even know!  We had one paypal donation come in for $2.  I could cry!  Who are we that this person would donate her $2 when she could possibly have needed it for something else?  I could kiss her-truly!  God is so good to us and He is moving in people, but He can't stir them, unless they know about us, so PLEASE, use the SHARE button on the side ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------>
Share it on facebook, tweet about it, send the link to your email contacts and ask them to SHARE it, too.  We've had some crazy traffic on this blog lately, so I *know* y'all are spreading the word.  THANK YOU.

138 people is so few people!  God will use our efforts to multiply what has already been raised!  He will use YOU to bless our family, to bless children in need of a home, and that blessing will come back to you.  I know because I see it all the time. 

To donate, simply click on the "ChipIn" button at the side or bottom of this post.  Your donation can be made by Paypal balance, electronic check, credit/debit card.  If you check "gift for friend/family" Paypal won't take any fees out of your donation.

Malachi 3:10-12 says: Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.

Our family is so grateful for each and every one of you.  We can see the finish line of this milestone.  Can you see it with us? 


God is Big

I took the weekend off.  Off of everything except our home and family.  I needed it.  Allan and I put the house back together.  After 5 days of juicing, it was getting bad.  He built us a fire pit and made me some shelves and I simmered apple butter all weekend and canned it for Christmas presents (and for us, too, of course!)  We had a great time at church and discussed how we will proceed once our Reboot is over (Tomorrow!!).  We spent lots of time with the kids, just watching movies with them, chatting and hanging out.  It was a great weekend.

Yesterday it occurred to me that I probably don't have time to take off.  After all, we still need to raise quite a bit of money before next Sunday.  But it felt so good to be off of it, that I didn't bother.  This morning we signed our new wills, and it's official...any and all children God chooses to give us will have a home to go to in the event something happens to us.  Tomorrow evening we start our foster classes and all our fundraising materials for Equal Exchange came in, so I have catalogs and samples just waiting to go out.

And I still feel like I am to sit still.  Why?

**this is a little off topic, but it is my heart these last few days and I need to write it out.  I realize that I struggle with seeing God as I see my step-dad. He was a man who liked to be in control at all times, and if you said or did something that made him angry, he withheld love. He was not full of grace or mercy and I *knew* that if I didn't get a blessing, it was my own fault. Can you see what a terrible god that is?  Can you see how I can get ahead of myself by trying to live up to a standard that cannot be lived up to, but only redeemed through a Savior?

I also realize that I struggle with seeing God (and everyone else) like 2 dads who didn't want me. Except I don't know why and I'm still a little girl who can't imagine what she did to make 2 grown men want to go away. I'm a woman who loves these men and doesn't want harm to come to them, but the words aren't natural and the relationships aren't healthy and I don't feel entitled to my feelings of love and regret. Can you see what a terrible god that is?

The only cure for these struggles is to pull in close to a God who loves me and knows every hair on my head and wants me so much he would send His son to die for me so that I could be reconciled to Him forever. So much prayer and bible study is needed in these times of struggle so that the truth can speak clearly to me when lies fog the path.**

In my bible study during the wee hours, as the sun was just peeking over our horizon, I read Acts 12.  Herod has John arrested and killed and he sees that the Jewish leaders are pleased by this, so he orders the arrest of Peter. 

One line-verse 5-says,  So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

Peter was facing indescribable odds.  He was double chained to 4 guards in the inner cell of the prison.  All the guards knew that if he escaped they would be put to death.  Peter also knew what was coming, yet they all SLEEP in the night.  An angel hits Peter to get him to wake up, makes the chains fall away and tells Peter to get dressed (would YOU want to stop to get dressed, knowing these people could wake up and kill you!?) The angel even tells him to get his coat and then leads Peter out.  When he arrives at the place where many believers are gathering (those same ones that were praying so earnestly for his release!) the girl that comes to the gate is so excited she doesn't even let him in, but runs in yelling about how Peter is there.  The believers are all astonished.

Astonished that God answered their earnest prayers.  I must not let myself believe that any of these blessings is of my own strength or understanding.  God directs the hearts of the people who have given and the people who have helped.  If you decide today to donate $5, it is because our God is a BIG GOD who knows of this (relatively) small need and He is mighty to answer prayer that maybe we don't always even believe will be answered.  Take hope, weary heart!  There is rest to be found in Him who does more than we could ask or imagine. 

This morning on the radio the deejay said, "If things are not looking so great from where you sit right now, remember...God brought the entire universe into existence just by speaking.  If that God is with you, IT'S GOING TO BE OKAY!"  It touched me in a way I needed to be touched and I smiled all the way home.  God is so big.  He is going to take care of this fundraising.  It's up to Him to motivate people to help, not me.  I still do what I need to do, I do the work part of it He's given to me, but His still small voice is telling me to be still right now.  So I will.  I am rejuvenated by this rest.  He will bring this money by the time we turn in our packet. 



It Just Got Real

Well, Mommy didn't get up to spank my butt, HOWEVER, we did get that sitter we were praying about.  Last night she called us to say she was interested.  Bonus-she's one of the ONLY two teenagers we even know in this town and she's aweosme.  And we babysat her when she was GraceAnne's age.  Too cool!  That means we are on track for starting foster classes on Tuesday. 

AAAAND, this morning we got GraceAnne's physical done, finished our fingerprinting and realized that after Tuesday (the littles' physicals) our homestudy book will be complete.  So I wrote to our homestudy lady to set up an appointment to give her our packet and she reminded me that the homestudy fee is $1200 + our travel fee ($40) and due immediately when I turn in the books.

...yeah.  It just got real.

So we do not, in fact, have until October 12th because there are time-sensitive materials in our packet that need to be turned in pronto.  We actually have until October 1.  Which is 11 days from now.  Let's break it on down.

Our paypal account shows a balance of 237.66 (if you're wondering about the uneven number, PP takes a fee from every transaction) NOTE:  A friend just told me if, when you go to donate, you check the "gift for family/friend" button, PP does not charge, meaning your FULL donation comes to us! 
A wonderful man in our homegroup donated $20
Our total fees are 1231.80
We have 974.14 left to raise.

I will be raiding our change jar (which we set aside for the adoption costs anyhow) and praying like crazy that this blog will spread and people's hearts will be touched.  For background info to anyone who is new, check out THIS post.

The Dreaded "F" Word

We're hoping for 194 more people to donate $5.  If God so moves you, please share this post on your facebook page, tweet about it, send it out to your email peeps.  Every person you send it to is another potential $5.  Help us in spreading this word so far!
I post this picture to illustrate a point.  Sometimes we, as Christians, become so overwhelmed by Jesus' mandate to care for the widows and orphans.  What can we do?  Sometimes we can become bogged down and feel guilty about what little we think we can do, but look at those numbers up there!  God knows numbers.  He knows the number of hairs on your head.  The number of grains of sand on the ocean shore.  He cares enough to use numbers time and time again in His word.  He knows the number of dollars we need to raise in the next 11 days.

Don't make any mistake-God is in those numbers above.  He does NOT call all of us to be missionaries in the Congo or to adopt orphans.  But He does call all of us to HELP.  Maybe His will for you is not that you would bring orphaned children into your own home, but instead to help those of us who *are* called.  I'm not saying this to lay another guilt trip or to get you to donate to us, I'm saying this to bring you HOPE.  You can live out James 1:27 by aiding those who are the hands and feet of God to the least of these.

Making a donation is easy!  Just click on the ChipIn button below and make your donation via PP.  Remember, if you click on "gift to family/friend" there is no fee taken from the donation.  And don't forget to SHARE the post!

Thanks for reading our story, thanks for your support, thanks for sharing and thanks SO much for your donations.  God is so faithful to us!


How big is TOO big?

This question has been tumbling through my brain a lot lately.  I know a lot of people think we're a little batty for wanting more than 4 kids.  Thankfully we know some people who think 4 is a small number.  We are currently a half-dozen.  We can't fit in an economy car, but we don't need a 12-passenger van.  Yet.

We told God when He started talking to us about adoption that we would be open and willing to have any children that He brought to us.  When we began the process with a private agency (and are still working with them) we thought, "how bad could that be?"  The process takes a year or more each time, besides getting chosen by a birth family is never a guarantee, so maybe we'll have a couple more.  Maybe it'd even be cute to get a small sibling group and be done with it.  And again, if you want to make God laugh, show Him your plans.

Really, how far did we think that would fly?  "Yeah, God, we're open to Your will.  As long as it looks like XYZ.  After all, isn't that much further than where we were before?"

Allan has wanted an older sibling group from the beginning.  I was not so gung-ho on that.  I mean, who doesn't love a baby!?  I know how to take care of babies.  I even have a whole protocol that I will follow to relactate in the event we get placed with an infant.  All of our kids ADORE babies and want more of them.

More and more lately, though, I feel drawn to these kids I see peering back at me from the computer screen.  Sibling groups of 5 and 6.  Sibling groups that will have the very hardest time being adopted together, because it's HARD to have TEN KIDS, OMG!  I have showed these pictures to our kids and asked their opinions on them.  "Do they look like your brothers and sisters."  GraceAnne always asks the sweetest questions like, "That girl is my age, do you think she will like the same books I do?  We could share clothes!" and Violet just looks at them lovingly, pops her thumb out of her mouth and says (In true Violet form) "Maaaybe.  Who are those kids?  What are their names?"  Corbin gets excited to think of having boys to play with.

Then I wonder, will it split my kids up to bring in so many so close to their ages.  Right now they are all so close-knit.  Will it change our lives insanely to bring more people into this house who already have thoughts and opinions that are probably radically different than our own?  Will we still have friends when we can't really go anywhere because of our huge crew?  Will we go insane?

Bare with me a moment while I tell you what has happened-church wise-the last month or so.  We've been church hopping all summer, trying to find a place we fit.  We liked every one that we went to for some reason or other, but none of them really felt like they were home.  So we kept praying.  Toward the end of summer I was feeling desperate for community with other believers.  I found a church online and one Sunday we just didn't get it together enough to head out the door in time.  Allan and I listened to the webcast and liked it a lot.  The following Sunday we did the same and the Sunday after that we went in to visit.  We really liked the place so we immediately signed up for a home group, which so happened to be starting the very next week.  In the class and at church we are studying what it means to be a Christ follower...after we have that "Define The Relationship" chat with Him.  And we're studying all the places in the bible where His followers have a choice to make.  Are you in it for your own glory and comfort, or are you willing to stand out for God's glory?

I want to say I'd stand out.  But when God asks me to step out, I want to bridle Him.  When I do that I fail to accept this scripture:
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. -Isaiah 55:9

Yesterday I finally caved and told Allan that I think he might be right, I think going through the foster system may be what we are being led to.  Then I called to find out about the classes we'd have to take.  The woman is here in the town we live in and she asked a hundred questions and immediately signed us up for the class.  I got a little scared and told her I needed to be sure that was what we wanted and that we could find a sitter.  She seemed excited and said, "Well, I have you down.  Just call if you can't make it."

Now all the questions come flooding.  Sure, it'll be less expensive to adopt through the foster system, but that means 3-6 beds all at once, depending on what group we were matched with.  It means a bigger car, like ASAP.  It means feeding so many children every day.  It means being incredibly intentional so that so many children can feel loved. And the "logical" part of me says, "Tara, you cannot be serious.  You cannot do this."  And then the faithful part of me says:

"I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Phil 4:13

"So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" Matt 6:31-33

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." Eph 3:20

So the faithful part of me wins, because we've seen so many times that God will NOT call us to do anything He does not equip us to do.  And the logical part says, "It's up to YOU then, God, to fund this homestudy and to find us a GOOD sitter for Tuesday nights."

I guess we'll find out soon. 


Don't Eat, Write!

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

What does that mean to me?  I kinda thought it was cute before doing this Reboot.  I guess cute is not the word I'm looking for.  I have been hungry in my life.  I mean eating one small meal a day for three months type of hungry.  I got down to 104 lbs and I was just not healthy.  (I'm 5'5") I know for a fact that we need to eat to live in this earthly body.  Being as I love to cook and bake, sometimes I live to eat. 

Don't get me wrong, I always praise the Creator, but I really had no control.  I could control not putting things in that I didn't want, but if I wanted it, I went out and got it and ate it.  I lived by my flesh.  It doesn't help that I'm pretty small and I can justify that it won't hurt me. 

Over the years, we've changed our diets a lot in this household.  I used to coupon and spend no more than $200/mo on food for our then family of 4.  I can say that we pretty much ate like typical Americans...out of boxes full of GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) salt and sugar.  I got pretty convicted about that since I've always been a bit of a hippie and when Allan was in deep doo-doo with the VA over his cholesterol-AGAIN-we overhauled our eating.  Many more fresh fruits and veggies entered our lives at that time.

Then we watched Food, Inc. and we were forced to choose whether we would ignore those disgusting CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) and keep eating the same meat and dairy or if we would do what we felt right as Christians, (since we are called to STEWARD the land and animals) and switch to pasture-raised meat.
This just kinda spilled into everyday choices.  What are organics and why are they important?  What have all those pesticides and herbicides done to us, or worse, our children?  What do we really think about our temples? (Our body being a temple of God and all) And a week ago I would have told you that all those things are very VERY important to me.  And they were.

But now evenmoreso.  For 5 days we ate only food that would help our systems kick out all the junk we've eaten over the last 30 & 40 years.  The last 2 days we've been drinking only juice (not Juicy-Juice, not a "juice blend" but REAL juice made out of real, organic produce) and water, and LOTS of it.  I am in no way "hungry."  The juices provide about 1700 calories per day.  I am more than free to make more juices and get more calories if I need.  I find that I am satisfied with just what is prescribed.  I am detoxing, with all the lovely side effects, and I *want* to eat.

And that is what it all boils down to for me, what I *want* versus what I *need* and what is good for me.  Food is so basic.  Like I said before, if I wanted it, I went out and got it.  I have done Daniel fasts over the years, but it was always just to survive it and be done.  This is different-this is to reboot who I am at every level.  That reads rather dramatically, but hopefully you get the jist.  We are REBOOTING our bodies, but only through Christ's strength (because I'd much rather go munch some popcorn and have a burger right now-pastured beef, of course!)  We are REBOOTING our minds by resetting our bodies to be aligned with what God created for us and what is good for us.  We are REBOOTING our spirits by realizing that controlling what goes into our body will produce a result of being able to control what we say, how we react, what we do, our motivations, etc. 

Except control isn't really what we're after.  Surrender is what we're after.  Surrender to Something bigger than us, Someone who cares more about us than even we do.  Surrender to a perfect will.  Surrender to a God Who will always know what is best for us, even when we disagree.  I want to be fully surrendered to Him, because when I try to take over, I feel hungry.

This post is real heavy on the food and not real heavy on the adoption stuff.  Maybe that's because at this moment, food is real heavy on my mind. HA!  I do want to take the time to say, though, we are almost to $200.  This is really more than I even had faith to get (faith of a mustardseed, for sure!) and that complete strangers have donated has just blown my mind.  God is SO good!  He is showing me that He will provide through others, this is something I still struggle with.  I NEED TO SURRENDER!  He who is able to do infinitely more than I could ask or imagine is working something big.  So thank you.  Thank you for donating, thank you for sharing, thank you for reading.  We only have a few more weeks, so thank you also, for bearing with me.

And one more thing, I would like to ask for prayers for one more group of kids...
They are Da'Shawn, Xravia, Ny'Teia, Tre'Drian, Drelon and D'Camren.  These precious babies need a forever home and I just know someone out there is going to be so immensely blessed to have them.  They are all under the age of 8.  I think I can see that God may be calling me to the sibling groups...there are so many and they are so hard to find families for.  So please, join me in lifting up these beautiful babies. 

We love and miss you!


Rebooting-health, life, faith

Yesterday I posted about our ChipIn and the effort to raise $1,000 for our homestudy fees before October 12.  Read that post HERE.  I must say, I adore fundraising, I might even have a gift for it.  I was really big into Rhiya's PTA when we lived in WA and made those book fairs the highest grossing the school had seen.  I enjoy thinking up new and creative ideas and this adoption process has been no different.  Thinking about fundraising is a nice change of pace to the drudgery of paperwork.  I am *really* looking forward to launching this fundraiser next month:
I'm thinking of ways to make it nationwide so that all of our friends and family can participate.  The company so aligns with our family's values and passions!  It's going to be great.

But we have this pesky homestudy fee to pay.  And we kept praying the house would sell so that we could just cover the cost ourselves.  For those who don't know-we just moved to KS from TX a few months ago.  We still own our house in TX and it's on the market with virtually NO bites.  We're able to continue paying for both households (a big PRAISE GOD because we could hardly pay for 1 a few months ago!) but we don't have much left to save.  If we don't pay the fee by the time the paperwork is completed, we will have to start all over (time sensitive materials expire after 30 days) After wracking my brain, I broke down and just asked if people would donate $5 and share the blog so we could meet our goal.
 Really great house in a fabulous small town in Texas-close to the metroplex and completely updated!

I said I love fundraising, but I *hate* asking for money.  I have always hated it.  But as the days turn into weeks, I know that this is all I have time for, since we're no longer near our network.  I posted that post yesterday thinking that people would read it and click away, embarassed for me, but you know what?

In the midst of our reboot (see post HERE ) for health, God is rebooting our faith, too.  We always *knew* that He has got it under control, but when we get to *see* that in action, WOW!  In 24 hours I had too many friends repost the blog link to count and we had donations of not just $5, but $10, $30 and even $50!  We currently have a little over 10% of what we need for our homestudy fees in under 24 hours!  MY CUP OVERFLOWETH!

So thank you to all of you who have donated, shared or who are reading for the first time.  I am ever so grateful for your generosity and love and we are praying for you.  Please continue to share this page.  If something amazingly crazy happens and we raise more than the allotted $1,000 the money will go toward our further adoption costs.  The homestudy is just one step.  You can see on the ticker above what our estimated OOP costs will be and how far we have come.  I will continue to keep that updated as we go along.

Follow our family by email------>
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It has come to my attention that some people are looking via mobile and can't see the share or donate buttons.  If that is the case and you just want our PayPal email address it is teha[underscore]67[at]yahoo[dot]com.  Thanks, mobile friends!

And meanwhile, back at the camp...

Today is day 4 of the 15 day reboot, which means we have 1 day of "food" left and then it's on to 5 days of juice only.  I'm nervous about this for a few reasons, I think the biggest two are 1. Making sure Allan has enough juice to get through the day at work and 2. Cooking for the kids while I am juicing.  I am not concerned about *real* hunger, because we'll be getting more than enough, but I am concerned about cravings and the attitude that I seem to have when I want something that I can't have. 

Thus another reason for the Reboot has surfaced...initially it was all about detoxification, but it has become a war of my spirit, as well.  It makes perfect sense, all spiritual battles start with prayer and fasting and fasting really just means withholding something from one's self.  I am praying that as I walk this journey, self-policing becomes more natural.  As my food choices become more and more concious, so might my choice of words.

For example: last night was our first homegroup meeting.  There were lots of tasty snacks, but what particularly caught my eye was the "gorp."  For those not in the know, it's this mix of homemade caramel corn, and whatever kinds of candies and nuts you want to add.  It's crispy, overly sweet deliciousness that really symbolizes this time of year for me.  I noticed, as everyone was standing around munching on it, (my kids included) that my HANDS really wanted to grab some and my MOUTH really wanted to crunch it, but my MIND, HEART and SOUL really did not want to put that junk into my body.  That I was able to differentiate was amazing to me.  It was a real break-through. 

So now, when my HEAD heats up with rage and my MOUTH wants to spout nastiness to my kids, I'm praying that I will be better equipped to listen to my MIND, HEART and SOUL when they say, "No...you are not using your words to edify or build up God's people...stop and think before you spew that all over the people you love most."

Thanks for reading, I really love writing and sharing with you all.  Love and miss you!
~Tara and family


The dreaded "F" word...

A quick update on the Reboot-we're on day 3 and Allan did not feel full *at all* yesterday, so last night I made a homemade quinoa cereal for us to eat this morning to get a good start and MAN!  It was awesome!  I will continue to make and eat that, even when we're not on a Reboot!  I also packed him a bigger lunch.  I feel good, though.  This was the first morning I've been able to pull myself out of bed before 6:30 in a long time.  I attempted to walk GraceAnne to school again this morning, but we had to turn back around after about half mile.  We'll try again, though!

What is that "F" word she's talking about, though??  FUNDRAISING.  Okay, who's left?  Who didn't run away screaming?  The fact is, our homestudy is nearly complete (the paperwork part).  When we send that in, we also have to send in a check for 1k.  We raised a little over $600 at our garage sale when we were in Texas, so we've already paid our "down payment" and have paid for background checks, FBI checks, etc.  But this final homestudy fee is coming around the bend like a freight train.  We would probably eat that cost in any way possible, but we haven't sold our Texas house yet (anyone need a really great house??) so our budget is tight at the moment. 

I want to take a moment to say, though, PRAISE THE LORD!!  Because we have gone from wondering how in the world we would support one household and needing support to do it to being able to pay for 2 homes and not get any outside financial assistance.  God is good, and He will smooth out the house situation, but for now, He is asking us to rely on Him for these fees, and we all know how He loves to let His people be His hands and feet!

I have a little ChipIn widget to the right hand side of the screen.  It will help us track how much is left.  We didn't want to have to go the route of just out and out asking for donations, but that is what we need to do with this coming up so fast.  We have a really neat fundraiser coming up in October that we plan to take nationwide, (for the actual adoption costs) but for now this is all we have time for. 
So I am asking 2 things.  The first is, can you donate $5?  It will only take 200 people donating $5 to get to the 1,000 we need.  The second is, will you please share this page with your friends and family?  Maybe you feel like $5 isn't much, but when you share it with 5 friends who do the same, it grows exponentially! 

Wait, I am asking for 3 things...because the last is, would you please join us in praying for these children?
Their names are Tykia, Triquanna, Tadya, Tywron and Jerry.  In all of this adoption research, we came across this sibling group here in Kansas who need a home that will love ALL of them.  They are so precious to me.  I just know God has a big plan for them and will redeem them soon, but they need our prayers.  There are so many groups like this, and they are so hard to adopt out, but some family will be well blessed by this adorable group of kids. 

Thank you so much for all of your help.  We love and miss you all!


Reboot-Day One

What is a reboot?  The term has been coined by Joe Cross who did the documentary, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead.  In the documentary, he does a juice fast for 90 days.  This is not just any Juicy Juice, though, this is *real* juice, where you stick in carrots, kale, apples...you know *real* food?  And end up with juice full of enzymes and vitamins and minerals. 

There are lots of reasons to do a Reboot, obviously Joe was looking to lose weight (and he did, over 100lbs!).  Some people are very sick and their bodies just can't process nutrients in food anymore.  Juicing is a great way to ingest what you need in an easily accessible manner.  For me and Allan, it's about detoxification.  Our bodies are exposed to countless chemicals and toxic vapors daily.  Sometimes it helps to kick all those toxins out and start with a clean slate.

So our Reboot is the "classic" 5-5-5.  It means eating a plant based diet for 5 days, juicing only for 5 days and then a plant based diet for 5 more days.  We spent the last several days weaning ourselves off of dairy and caffeine.  Today, Monday, Sept 10th, is day 1 of our official reboot.

So, of course, my car pooped last night.  Good thing we're pretty close to GraceAnne's school.  And across the street from a grocery store.  Yeah.  Good thing...

So we started our morning with a "throat remedy" tea that is great to boost your metabolism with in the morning.  A week or so ago I sliced lemons and ginger and put them in a jar with honey to fill it.  It's been "curing" in the fridge since and you put 1 tablespoon of that in a glass with 8oz of hot water.  It really does taste fabulous, and I must say, I'm not as groggy as I feared I would be without coffee. 

We also had a breakfast juice with watermelon, pineapple, a few strawberries and a bit of ginger.  *That* was quite delicious.  I am a big fan of the fruit juices.

Allan was sent off to work with a huge salad with romaine and baby spinach, cucumber, celery and toasted pine nuts.  I made the dressing out of natural mustard, olive oil, a few drops of honey, lemon juice, chia seeds and fresh ground pepper.

Then the kids and I were off to walk GraceAnne to school.  Which is 1.8 miles from our house.  Hmmm...1.3 of that is uphill.  Oh, and I discovered on the way there that the tires on my "jogging" stroller were flat.  NOT what I was expecting to do on the first day of a Reboot.  Thankfully I thought to bring some raw almonds to boost protein and had tossed some chia seeds in my morning juice, but I was pretty wiped out by the time we got there.  We went potty, took GraceAnne to class and came back home.  Home was a hair easier since we didn't have to be there at any certain time.  We left at 7:40 and got home at 9:20. 

As soon as we got back, the littles had granola bars and I had a spinach, apple and kiwi juice with a few strawberries that were left.  I mixed it half and half with coconut water to rehydrate. 

Lunch for me was a big romaine salad with cucumbers, oil and vinegar.  I started to develop a bit of a headache, but I think it's a caffeine headache.  I've had one for a couple days now.  Amazing what 1 little cup in the morning can do! 

End of the day and ready for bed, but overall I felt great today.  Allan said he didn't feel any different.  My legs and feet are sore, but I think I may have a go at walking her to school again, even though Allan fixed the truck!


Faith like a little child

Have you ever learned an important spiritual lesson from your children?  So many times I get wrapped up in what I know.  I am the mommy, afterall!  And they are wrong so much of the time, that it can be easy to set aside the fact that they are the ones Christ referred to as having the most pure faith.  I mean, they pray to God for stuffed animals...what kind of understanding could a little person really have?  But you know, I learned last night (for the 100th time...someday it will stick!) that our little ones have a lot to teach us about the heart of God.  My son was my hero last night.  He had the guts to ask questions and do things I stumble over.  He displayed his love and faith unapologetically and with a sense of urgency I have a thing or two to learn about.  I am so abundantly blessed.

Last night started like any bedtime...get on jammies, hang out with mom and dad, eat a snack, brush teeth, make our way to bedrooms.  Typically Allan would take the girls and I would take Corbin.  Allan reads a bedtime story to them and prays with them.  Last night Corbin insisted on staying for prayer and added his own precious rendition of "Thank you for this day.."

After the prayer was over I took him to his own room and we got situated and turned out the light.  I still sit next to his bed while he's falling asleep, but last night he wouldn't stop wiggling.  I asked him several times to be quiet and lay down, but he kept gabbing and putting his feet off the bed.  He asked me to pray with him 3 more times.  I obliged and on the 3rd time I said, "Honey, you can talk to Jesus anytime you want to, but tonight you need to GO.TO.SLEEP!"

He continued asking me questions and said, "Mommy, where does Jesus live?"  I said, "well, He lives in your heart if you ask Him to."  I'll continue this conversation below as dialogue.

C-"Mommy, I want to ask Jesus to live in MY heart."
M-"Okay, you have to say the prayer and then He comes to live in your heart forever."
C-"We will say it."

Then I got to lead him in the prayer of salvation, which looks a little something like this (my version) for a 2-year-old:
"Dear God, I know that sometimes I can be very naughty.  And I know that sometimes I don't deserve Your love, but I know that you sent your son Jesus to die on the cross for when I am naughty.  Thank you for bringing Him back to life and for always loving me, no matter what. Amen."

I was already pretty impressed with my big boy, and as we laid there in the dark, looking at each other, excited, he said,

"MOM!  Jesus lives in my heart now!"
M-"I know!  I am so excited, we are brother and sister in Christ now!"
C-"Because He lives in your heart, too?"
C-"Does He live in Daddy's heart?"
M-"He sure does!"
C-"Does Jesus live in Violet's heart?"

I paused here.  Violet has the very clear spiritual gift of encouragement, and she loves God, but I don't know that she's ever clearly expressed her need for a savior.  Truthfully, until last night I wasn't sure a 4-year-old (much less a 2 year old!) could...So I responded with,

"I don't know sweetheart.  We'll have to ask her in the morning."
C- (sitting up straight with a very urgent look on his face) "NO!  We have to ask her NOW!"

His vehemency put me on guard.  The mom part of me wanted to tell him to lay down and quit defying me.  The superstitious part of me wondered if something terrible was going to happen and Violet needed Christ NOW.  Thankfully the Holy Spirit is around for situations like that and He helped me say,

"Okay, Corbin.  We'll call her in and ask her."  I didn't really know what I was going to say, but that didn't matter either.  I was covered.  I called Violet in and she came wandering over to Corbin's bed.  He sat up and they sat together on the edge of his bed.  He looked at her very tenderly and said,

"Violet, does Jesus live in your heart?"
V-"Hmm, I don't know!"
C-"Do you want Him to?"
V-" YES!  I do!"
C-"Then you need to say this prayer with Mommy now."

And then I got to lead my youngest daughter in the prayer of salvation.

Afterwards there were lots of hugs and wahoos and we called Daddy up and then everyone went to bed, full hearts and happy faces.  When the girls left Corbin's room, with Allan ushering them out, GraceAnne said to her Daddy, "I remember when *I* said the prayer of salvation, Dad!  It was May 17th.  Mom and I were reading the book about people around the world and I asked Jesus to save me so I could help them.  Dad, we have to do something tomorrow to celebrate."  Wow...who am I?  I don't deserve this kind of extravagant love, but I am so grateful for it!

As I sat there in the dark, looking at my son, he lifted his head one more time and said,

"Mommy...I don't want there to be any more snakes in this home." 

I don't begin to have a clue what he meant.  Could he have sensed that the devil's always looking for someone to devour and our family is no different?  Maybe not, but then again, I never thought I'd see a 2-year-old lead his 4-year-old sister to salvation in Christ, either.

So I smiled and told him there are no snakes and he drifted off to sleep, content.

This story means nothing to some people.  It means I am full of hocus pocus to others.  It means I am crazy and brainwashing my children to still others, but I KNOW that there is someone out there who needs to hear this story.  I know that there is someone out there who will see the same miracle in it that our family did.

Truly, I would never in a million years have believed that something like that could happen unless I saw it, but OH! I saw it.  I was there, to hold Corbin's tiny hand and pray with him.  It makes me marvel to think-of all the people he could have asked to say that prayer with him through the years...God allowed it to be ME.  It also makes me marvel to think, Corbin is more articulate than his sisters were at his age (and they were pretty well-versed!) He speaks more clearly and chats MUCH more than other boys his age.  Did God make him that way so that he could lead his sister to Him at age 2? 

My head has been swirling since then.  I don't even know what to say here other than to beg everyone to give their children a chance.  I know I understood more than all the grown-ups around me thought I did when I was little.  Now I know they understand much more than I thought they did.  Don't think to yourself that they can't handle it.  When I decided to trash the cheesy homeschool bible study and just read straight from scripture to the kids-I won't lie.  There are some things in there that are hard to read to little people.  The Noah story is great in a storybook, but not so incredible from the actual text.  I wondered if I was making the wrong choice, but what if that is why they understand Christ?  Because their parents never watered down the truth or backed away from hard questions...

Don't get me wrong, last nights' miracle has absolutely nothing to do with me, but only the grace of God.  And I'm so grateful for that grace!


My Dad is Dying

What a morbid title, no?  But there it is.  I mentioned a couple days ago that my dad was diagnosed with stage IV cancer a few months ago and given a 6 month prognosis.  He has upper bowel cancer and bone cancer-both of which are absolutely inoperable.  Did you know the bible specifically talks about bone cancer? 

Proverbs 12:4 says: A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones.

I had read that a dozen times, at least, before dad developed bone cancer, but I guess it never hit me like it does now.  They say bone cancer is the most painful cancer to endure.  It eats you from the inside out.  There is nothing you can do for it except take chemotherapy, which kills ALL of your cells, good and bad and attempt to radiate the tumors that grow.  I don't really have much else to say about that verse, I just thought it was interesting to note.  I have certainly tried harder to be a worthy, biblical wife since I read it and the full weight of it hit me, though!

Moving on.  Upper bowel cancer...how does something like that happen?  Listen, I'm no MD.  I'm no nutritionist.  But I have done a lot of research and I do know my family history.  I know that dad is diabetic (type 1) and it wasn't caught until he was in his late 20's.  I know that he's got Celiac Disease that wasn't diagnosed until just a few years ago.  Both of those things to me say that his body was done so much damage before things were discovered that the good cells in his upper bowel just can't even stand up to fight.  How much food was digested in those years that was intolerable for his system?  How bad must the celia in his digestive tract must have been damaged by all that gluten?  None of these diagnoses come as a surprise to me, really.

But they do devastate me.  Added to the fact that other family members have auto-immune diseases, and that some have already died of cancer, this is heavy on my heart.  Not just because of the family members it takes from my life, but because there is a very real genetic risk factor for me.  Me me me, this is NOT about me, but it does spur me to action.

Action is difficult because I was the self-proclaimed "french fry freak" as a kid.  I don't think I ate anything but french fries, chicken nuggets and frozen corn for years.  Oh wait, and Kraft mac n cheese, but I digress.  It wasn't until I was in high school that I started to give a rip about nutrition and by then my taste buds were so in tune with starches and junk that I just couldn't choke down anything else.  In college I was getting massive purple bruises on my legs, seemingly for no reason and when I went to the pharmacist and showed him he said, "Vitamin K deficiency."  I asked what pill I could buy and he laughed and told me the only real source was in green veggies.  I asked if canned green beans counted and he said, "No."  I resolved that I would just have bruises on my legs then.

Oh.  What a stubborn girl.  HA!

Thankfully my taste buds have changed a bit and having kids has softened me (you mean I have to *model* good eating habits??) and I've done a lot of training and learning to hide things.  Point being-if I can do it, SO CAN YOU. 

On Monday, Allan and I are starting a 15 day reboot.  This will mean 5 days of eating a plant based diet, 5 days of just juicing and 5 more days of plant based eating.  I am not looking forward to this, but I know I need to detox.  Our bodies were DESIGNED to heal!  They were created to keep us disease free!  We have these amazing vessels that are temples and it's our responsibility to keep them clean and whole or we will suffer physical consequences. 

I will try to keep this updated as to our progress during this time.  For now I will cut it short and share some links to videos we have watched that inspire us.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead This man healed himself of auto immune diseases and lost 100 lbs by juicing.  His story is inspiring, don't be scared by the title.  This is where the idea of a "reboot" is introduced.

The Gerson Miracle This man prescribed juicing to patients with auto-immune diseases and cancer in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  They were healed.  Today his daughter runs the clinics and is in her 80's with exceeding health. 

We also love King Corn, Food, Inc and Fast Food Nation.  Forks over Knives is good.

As you watch those, come to your own conclusions, but we believe God gave us dominion over the animals and plants and gave them to us for food.  Therefore we believe that animal products are good for people to eat, when they are actually raised the way God intended for them to be raised.  That's why we drink raw-milk and eat pastured animals.  We also try to stay away from GMOs (genetically modified organisms) for the same reason, really.  I really do hope and pray you take time to watch some of those movies over the next week or so and see how it changes your thoughts on food.

Please also join me in praying for my dad's healing.  I have heard case after case of complete healing from cancers like his.  I know it can happen for him, too.  All for the glory of God! Amen.


Potty Training is Inconvenient

My son...dear, precious Corbin, who we hoped and prayed for for 6 years before his birth...will be 3 in December.  And he is so amazing!  Smart and talkative and funny!  He is more than I hoped for and nothing I thought he would be. 

But he still craps his pants.

It's true.  He had himself completely, 100% potty trained, even without night accidents when he was 2 years old.  Last December, January and February we had 3 kids and 0 diapers.  But then we went away for a weekend to an adoption conference so we could be equipped to take on more pants-crappers and he thought he might convince Mommers to leave by peeing and pooping hisself again.  Since then, he doesn't sleep through the night and he won't go potty on the toilet.

Being that we are now pretty much settled here in our new Kansas home, we thought it was about time to sleep train him. (Read: Dad got kicked in the face and demanded him out.  Mom slipped up one night and was too tired to walk the darling back to bed when he came to ours, so she got kicked in the face, too.) So several weeks ago we started being mean and making him sleep all night in his own bed. He's gotten pretty decent about it, I'd say he sleeps through 2 out of 3 nights.  He's making the transition.

Given our slight-success in the sleep arena, 2 days ago I decided I was done with swishing poop, too.  We use cloth diapers, so for me, poop means changing a poopy diaper and then swishing it around in the toilet so I can wash it on diaper laundry day.  Some of you cringe, but I promise it hasn't bothered me until juuuust about a week ago.  Now it makes me mad.  I will admit that part of this anger is self-inflicted because I got rid of most of my diapering supplies when he was potty trained, saving only what I wanted to pass onto future babies.  That makes cloth slightly inconvenient at the moment, since I can't just go buy what I want.

But what does potty training an almost-3-year-old, stubborn little boy, who doesn't even MIND his sisters running from him and screaming when he smells terrible entail?  It means me running him to the potty every 30 minutes-literally.  It means scheduling outings between his potty breaks and being sure we will be close enough to a bathroom while we're out.  It means letting him sit backwards on the toilet and begging him to just "squeeze out a little pee" and it means still washing 3-4 sets of soaked undies per day and STILL swishing poop. 

Except now I have to maneuver the poop down the legs of a squirmy almost-3-year-old, stubborn little boy who doesn't mind if he gets poop everywhere.


Maybe I'll just wait until all the kids in Kindergarten make fun of him for wearing diapers to school.

Oh wait...I plan to homeschool.  And that means 3 more years of poop swishing.  Excuse me while I take my son to the potty-it's been 30 minutes.
(but he really is so precious!)


Well, Hello out there!

Oh my goodness, it has been SO long, it has been TOO long.  My insides ache to write.  I wasn't even going to come here, because I don't know that I can fully let loose right now, but I have had 2 people in the last week ask me when I was going to write, so I had to at least give a hearty HELLO to all my bloggy friends.

We finally have internet access.  It has been 10 months without access except on the phone and I survived!  We got it turned back on because we are at the point in our adoption that we really have to be online.  There are grants to research and apply for, there are checks to complete online, there are classes to attend via web.  It's a brave new world, right? But hey!  Here I am!

So, some big updates:

Allan is a Certified Prosthetist!  He passed the last exam he took in June and can officially write some letters behind his name.  PRAISE THE LORD! For those who know, this is a really big deal for us.  For those who don't, it was the 4th attempt at the test and he did it!  I'm so proud of my man for persevering.  Plenty of people would have quit, but not Allan.  That's why I love him.

Allan has a job he loves and won't be pursuing prosthetics for a while.  It's a pretty good job and he is really enjoying it and the people he works with.

Allan didn't go to Ghana.  But we are praying for the very next trip!  He wants to go desperately, but we were unable to raise funds in time.

We moved to Kansas.  What on earth?  Hey, when you wonder where your next week's worth of groceries are coming from, it's time to go to where the job is.  In our case it was in Kansas.  We have discussed a lot of states and whether we'd be willing to live there or not, but Kansas was never included in any discussion.  Isn't that just like God?  ha!

GraceAnne is in public school for 3rd grade.  I don't really like it, but she does and she's doing great.  She's way ahead of the class for now, so we'll see how it goes once it actually challenges her...maybe she'll want to come back home.  She has a great teacher and I'm working on getting a bible study going with her in the mornings.

My dad was diagnosed with stage IV bone cancer and given 6 months to live...3 months ago.  The kids and I were back and forth earlier this summer while we were transitioning between Texas and Kansas, but we haven't had any luck selling the TX house yet, so we haven't been able to get back up there since early July.

The littles are great, smart as whips and wild as ever.  They love having 7 acres to roam, (though we really just stay confined to the half-acre in the back of the house) and their favorite thing ever is to feed their lunches to the 9 hens we have now.  Yes. 9. 

Aaaaaaand, we're smack dab in the middle of collecting all the paperwork for our home study.  We took a couple months to consider what it was we needed to do and when we finally came around to not being stubborn, we called the agency and she gave us a GO on a local homestudy agency here who we love so far.  If my calculations are correct, we should have our homestudy complete by mid-October...

Which means big-time fundraising mode.  We raised a little over $600 at the garage sale before we left Texas and the home study will cost us $1400, not including improvements we need to make (more smoke detectors, a CO detector, a fire extinguisher, etc. etc) and then, of course, the actual cost of adopting once we get placed.  I'm looking into a catalog fundraiser and need some "coordinators" around the country, so if you think you can show people a catalog (all fair-trade and organic items) and collect some orders, I would absolutely LOVE to talk to you about helping us bring the kids God has for us home.

And how do I feel about all this?  Really-I feel pretty great.  There has been no room for us to mistake that any of this is anything but the grace of God.  We are exactly where we are supposed to be and it gets SO lonely sometimes (though we are close to some old friends and so happy to be near them again!) but He has been so good to us.  We recently found a church we think we can call home and we start small group in a week.  I'm getting to know all the local hippies via the Farmer's Market and we are really having fun "nesting."  Now it's time for all my friends to come and visit!  *hint hint*

Signing off for now-the littles have been alone long enough!  Love and miss you all!  Leave me some love and a message below :)