Oct 1, 2012

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Twenty Reasons: Fifteen

It’s pouring rain here today. As my middle child stood out in the back yard, holding an umbrella over himself and our dog so that Miss High-Maintenance would go potty, I thought of another thing we love about our girl.

She loves animals. She helps take care of the chickens and livestock at the orphanage, and when we Skype she always says, “I want to see my dog!” So we call the dog over and hold the camera down, and Pearl just lights up with joy over seeing her and knowing that soon she’ll have her own pet dog.

My sisters and mother-in-law are also huge animal fans, so Miss Pearl is going to fit right in.

Who knows? Maybe she’ll even enjoy taking her turn with the dog and the umbrella on rainy days?

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Sep 28, 2012

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Twenty Reasons: Fourteen

I’m kind of a wimp.

At least I admit it. I like things just so. I like my bed, my comfy chair, my air conditioning and bug-free environment.

I really, truly love indoor plumbing. And having the privacy of my own bathroom.

What does that have to do with loving my little Ugandan princess?

She gives me courage to move beyond my carefully-crafted comfort zones.

Soon, I will be going camping with my family; an experience our older boys have longed to have. There will be no fancy-schmancy camper for us — me, three boys, a snoring husband and a dog, all crammed into a family-sized tent.

I have spent exactly one weekend of my life tent camping, and it didn’t go so well. Of course, I was a higher-maintenance 20-something newlywed, and we were camping in Blackpool, England…in drizzling rain. No air mattress, no cot…just a sleeping bag and the tent’s floor between me and the icy damp English ground.

Good times.

It’s taken me, what, 20+ years to get up the courage to go again? And I’m not sure if I’d even go now, if I didn’t know Pearl.

But something about getting to know a child with her spunk, personality and sweetness, who every day of her life has “roughed it”  far beyond anything I’m likely to experience camping, gives me courage to try again.

I consider it  a bit of training ground for traveling to Africa — a place I never in a million years imagined an “Indoor Girl” like me going to.

But, behold — the power of love! It can take us places far beyond our wildest dreams.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” -Lao Tzu



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Sep 22, 2012

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We Just LOVE this Coffee!

Our shipment of Just Love coffee arrived today and it is fabulous!

I was joking with Donnie that the Love Potion #3 turned us into poets as we tried to find the best adjectives to describe it. It was seriously the most complex, interesting cup of coffee I’ve ever tasted. There were layers of flavors — and NONE of that burnt taste people usually expect from espresso.

It has fruity undertones and after you swallow, the most pleasant flavor lingers in the mouth — I’m not even sure I know how to describe it. Smoothly multi-dimensional. Seriously worth trying.

Later, Donnie made me a cup of I <3 My Mom Decaf –while joking that everyone enjoys mom when she’s decaffeinated. Ha! It was the best decaf I’ve ever had. No lie. It had that same complexity of flavor that was present in the espresso, but with a lighter body. Simply brilliant. Remembering it is making me crave another cup.

Try it and see what I mean. I can’t wait to sample the other coffees Just Love offers, and honestly, I’m stunned that a company producing this great of a product is also so generous as to offer adoptive families like ours $5 for every bag purchased through our link. They could spend that money on bigger advertising and make more income for themselves, but instead they choose to help others. I truly admire that.

I know that we will be Just Love customers LONG after our sweet Pearl has come home.

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Sep 19, 2012

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Twenty Reasons: Twelve

A dozen reasons to love my girl and today I’m thinking about how she is one tough cookie.

What I know about her is like the proverbial tip of the iceberg. I’m sure it will take years to hear all about everything she’s been through, to learn all about the first ten years of her life when we didn’t know her.

Honestly? I don’t look forward to hearing some of it. I admit to struggling with fear over what lurks there, over what demons she may have to battle that I, so far, know nothing about. I can hope that the worst that’s happened to her is what I do know: her father died. She’s lived in abject poverty. Her mother became too ill and poor to take care of her children. She has lost contact with her older siblings, who are scattered at orphanages around Uganda.

But she still smiles. And it’s not a fake, “look at how cute I am” surface smile, but the kind that radiates through her eyes and pierces your soul with happiness.

And she still leads. She is always at the front of whatever needs to be done around the orphanage. She rallies her friends to join her in her work.

And I just found out that she consistently places within the top 10 in her class of 66 pupils. So she’s not just a tough cookie, she’s a smart one, too!

When I get discouraged, I think about her strength. When I start losing hope that we’ll ever have enough money to bring her here, I think about that sweet face bowed down in prayer, petitioning God to move mountains to grant her this dearest wish for a family. And even from thousands of miles away, her strength renews me.

I’m so thankful to serve a God who knows us all intimately. This beautiful plaque is available in our fundraising store and donations of any amount will help us bring her home.

But most of all, just please keep us all in your prayers, that we will not lose heart in this time of waiting.

Thank you!

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Sep 16, 2012

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Twenty Reasons: Eleven

Perhaps the most superficial of all the reasons I love this little girl, but reason number eleven is this:

She’s pretty.

Really, really pretty.

Yesterday we set up a booth at an outdoor market, to sell some of the items that’ve been donated to our fundraising. I had a framed picture of her, my favorite picture of her, on the table, along with a sign indicating that all our proceeds were going to fund her adoption. I loved all the conversation it generated. She just radiates a loveliness that draws people to her, even in her photos.

“Wow–tell me about this little girl…”

“She is truly beautiful — better get ready to bat all the boys away!”

“Wow–what a gorgeous young lady. What a blessing!”

And then they wanted to know more about our adoption story (I had little business cards with this website address) and about adoption in general. I found it completely heartwarming that five of the people I met today were adoptive parents and had their own stories to tell! Three had adopted through the American foster care system, one was a private domestic adoption at birth (that was the lady in pink with the booth behind me), and the last adopted a special needs boy from Ukraine. He is 5, but the size of a 2-year-old.

Life is so hard for kids in orphanages. But it truly warmed my heart to hear so many stories of people stepping up to adopt!

I really feel that one reason God made Pearl so lovely, so magnetic, is because she will continue to be instrumental in drawing people toward the idea of adoption and orphan care. Because you can’t look at a person that beautiful and think that they deserve anything less than growing up in a loving, supportive family.

I have three very handsome biological sons. But I don’t think I could’ve made a daughter as pretty as this one. Yet I’m still going to get to call her mine.

How totally awesome is that?

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Sep 10, 2012

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JustLove Coffee!

I am super-excited to share our latest fundraising partnership with JustLove Coffee!

JustLove offers quality, artisan-roasted coffees from around the world. As copied from the site, “We source only the finest Fair Trade, Direct Trade, organic, and shade-grown coffee beans from the best growing regions around the world. We research the co-ops we work with and are diligent about sustainability.”

And if you purchase by clicking through the links on this page, we will get $5 per bag! (Other items also help provide us with funds — I’ll list all the proceed amounts at the bottom of this post.)

And the really cool thing is, it’s not any more expensive than buying from Starbucks or any other quality coffee retailer.

Oh, and my friends that have bought so far tell me that the coffee is delicious and the shipping is quick!

So if you love a good cuppa joe, check it out!

AND…and…you know you need some mugs for your new coffee. It doesn’t get much cooler than these retro-inspired Florida flamingo mugs from our store!

JustLove’s generous fundraising proceed amounts:

13oz. Coffees (non-small lot): $5

(4) 6oz. Samplers: $7

Coffee Cupper’s Sampler: $19

Ultimate Sampler (Santa’s Helper): $19

Jamaica Blue Mountain (small lot): 4oz. ($3) 13oz. ($9)

5oz. Tin Colombian Cup of Excellence Lot #1: $5

6oz. Kenya AA (small lot): $3

T-Shirts: $5

Sale T-Shirts: $3

Sale Hoodie: $4

Beanie: $3

Hat: $3

Travel Mug: $3

Stoneware Mug: $1

Aeropress: $5

Coffee Scoop: $1


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Sep 7, 2012

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Twenty Reasons: Ten

“Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names.

They are easier to ignore before you see their faces.

It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms.

But once you do, everything changes.”

~David Platt, Radical

This probably sounds like a really selfish reason for loving this little girl — and maybe it is — but I love her for changing me.

For changing my family and giving us a focus beyond ourselves.

For the perspective she is giving my sons, one that is radical and generous and Biblical and so valuable to learn at an early age, especially in this society where it seems that we’re encouraged to become more self-focused and self-serving with every passing day.

People tell us, “You’re so generous. What a wonderful thing you’re giving this child.” And I always reply, “No, really…WE are the ones who are being blessed.”

I could be a millionaire and still never give her anything as valuable as what she has given me and my family.

Nope, not ever.  There is no price for what she’s given.

And, yeah — I love her for it.

Love At First Sight

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Sep 5, 2012

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Twenty Reasons: Eight

My little Ugandan princess is such a happy girl.

The strength of character she must have to radiate joy under such adverse circumstances — it just blows me away.

I had the privilege of Skyping with her on Saturday. (Please pardon the cheesy editing of what’s a really cute pic of her online with us — I need to protect her identity for now.) I wish you could see her when we’re connected. Her face just glows; her gorgeous brown eyes sparkle with love and hope. She leans so far into the camera that the pastor has to repeatedly tell her to back up. It’s almost like she, with her whole body, just wants to be as close to us as she possibly can. It’s beautiful and endearing and heartbreaking all at once.

On Saturday, one of her friends sat beside her and the two of them attempted to teach me some words in their language. There are sounds in that tongue that English totally lacks, and I know I butchered most of the words because they fell on one another laughing at most of my attempts.

One of the funniest moments was when my son asked her how to say “car.” When she said “motorcar”, all of us cracked up together. Then she said, “And ‘television’ is….TV!” I love that she has a sense of humor — that’s pretty much a vital requirement to survive in this family!

It just does my heart good to laugh with her, to see her smile. It’s prettier than a field of flowers.

I’ve heard daisies referred to as the world’s happiest flowers, so it’s only logical that I link this print to today’s post.

Why not order one today, and hang it in your home or office to remind you to be happy regardless of your circumstances?

And when you see it, you can also celebrate the fact that you got to help this little girl connect with her family for real — not just through a computer screen.


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