Monday, April 23, 2012


I have a post to share about how we are now at NINE on my China team! Go God!! But I had to share how God has humbled me lately through my team.

This weekend I was going through and checking on some funds for a team member in her account. (you can pay into your account over time instead of paying it all at once). I noticed that this member was almost to what we estimate the trip to cost and I suggested she might not want to put any more money in until we know for sure what the total will be. There are no refunds with how we pay in our money and I did not want her to lose the over flow with how hard I have watched her work.

She replied to my note saying she wanted that overflow to help the others on the team, and that she knew another big chunk was coming she was getting ready to put in.

This is a young girl, in college. I have not yet had the privilege to meet her as this is her first trip. She has never been to China and just randomly found the trip and felt God say GO.  These young girls on my team, I am certain God placed them there for ME to learn from. Because I am sure there are MANY things a girl her age could use the extra money on. But she is choosing to SHARE it with a team of people she does not even know.

Humbled does not even BEGIN to express what I feel.

Team member Number 9 is a sweet girl who went last year. Who is getting married in MAY. So originally she thought there was no way. You know the whole newlywed thing, no money, college students etc.  But then God called and she listened. And so she will return with us.


I have others on my team, young girls. Both are returning, again. Working to save the money. Trusting that the Lord will provide. Young girls who could be using that money on things that most young girls are spending money on at their age. Using the time they are working to have fun with friends. And they never complain. They are SO excited to return.


My own daughter, 14 years old. I suggested maybe going every other year makes more sense. Would give her more time to save. Would give her more freedom. She said she was going, would raise the money. (and she almost has!) She tried out for color guard at school but told them she would not be on the team if it meant giving up church activities or her China trip. How many 14 year old girls are willing to do that?


All of my team members are just willing to step up and do WHATEVER is needed. The prayers, the work, the love & the patience they are putting into the trip is amazing.


It is such a gift to be able to be the team leader. Sure I am the one who is supposed to be leading. But in reality, I am the one who is taught by them. For some the concept of traveling with a group of people you don't really know is to much. But for many of my team? They are going blindly, just following the call and trusting the lord will provide a decent room mate in China! ;-) Parents and husbands are letting their daughters and wives GO, knowing God is in control. Being obedient, even when it does not make sense.

I am humbled.

Please meet my new Chenzhou family at my team blog

Phillipians 2:3-5
Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

We are Dave Ramsified!

Or in other words, DEBT FREE!!

Besides our house.

But other than that? We don't even have a car payment!!

Let me go back a bit.

When we started our adoption journey with Sage, we were blessed to be able to pay for MOST of our adoption.

But not all of it. So we just "made payments" on a small loan.

Then, when I saw Maverys face? Well, that was one of many of Mark's hold ups.

We were not quite done paying those payments from our first round. And there was no sight of any big money coming to pay even part of her adoption.

So, we did what many people do when they need adoption money.

We did some fundraising.

But that did not cover it all, or even close.

We took out a loan.

We went in debt. 

Then Mavery came home and needed so many things.

Praise God her first heart surgery was covered by our amazing insurance.

But her attachment therapy was not. Nor was her Sensory Processing Therapy. Not to mention the other 4 kids and their needs.

Marks amazing insurance turned not so amazing, and in fact we took a pay cut with the economy cutting out, well, some of the paycheck we were used too.

But that did not mean our bills stopped. You know heart surgeries are pretty necessary when the doctor orders them. As are Mark's brain scans each year.

So that small debt grew bit by bit.

Add to all of this that in our relationship Mark has always been the money person. Me, not so much.

My theory is, he makes it, I spend it.

It worked well for me. Till I had to return from the spending.

About a year ago I was pushing another adoption.

Mark was not and it was the money, the money, the MONEY.

Mainly the lack of and debt we were in.

My reasoning was, LOTS of people live in debt. It is the American way after all.

And really, would God look down on us for spending money we do not have on an ORPHAN?

But when we were praying over this child last year, something clicked.

If it was all about the money standing in our way, well, I could fix that.

And so the Lord changed my heart and opened my eyes to MY spending.

He brought out the sin of our debt.

He showed us that we were a slave to our debt.

And I refuse to be a slave to anyone besides Jesus Christ.

We felt we needed to put the house up for sale to start. We would sell the house, downsize and that would help us to get it paid off.

So we put it up, and NOTHING happened. Lord, what is the deal??

Then our church offered a class called the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

Which cost $100 just to join. Seemed like a total rip off to me when you are trying to SAVE $$.

But we went. And while we had been doing pretty well on our own, the class was exactly what we  I needed.

Sure, Mark learned quite a few things too, though he had always been good with money and investing.

But me? I learned much more.

The number one thing I learned?

By submitting to the budget, I was submitting to my husband. 

I could SEE the burden on my husbands shoulders lifted when I stayed in our budget each week.

We had no more fights about money.

Well ok, we had fewer fights about money.

Because I am still a girl. Who likes to shop.

But let me tell you, when you ONLY use cash? It changes everything.

Shopping is not nearly as much fun when I know that the cash I carry is IT for the week.

We put Dave Ramsey's rules into practice. We followed his debt snowball.

We were frustrated when it seemed that EVERYTHING was breaking down while we were TRYING to save money.

But we first saw the light when our van needed work. $600.00 of work.

We had $500 already put away in our car emergency fund.

It did not hurt hardly at all when all we had to come up with was that extra $100.

It actually felt REALLY good.

We were doing well and figured we were on target to pay off our debt by the end of 2012. Which was a miracle when just 6 months before we had our house for sale and were ready to downsize!

And then, Mark's work gave him a bonus.


Marks first words to me were, do not think we now have money.

Our budget stays the same.

And I get that. I am GOOD with that.

While we are thankful God allowed us to stay in our house and pay off our debt, it still is a higher payment/tax payment than we want. But it is ok, we budget for that.

We are saving up cash for the car we need to purchase.

We are putting as much away as we can for college. Weddings. Life.

AND we know God has put a calling on our lives for orphans. We have no idea what that looks like, but we want to be ready when we need to be. If it is simply to GO on mission. OR if it is bring more home.

Now, I know that MANY people will say, WELL, my husband does not get a bonus (true story, said to me today). Or we just don't make enough to save or blah, blah, blah.

Yes, Mark has a good job with a nice paycheck. BUT. We also have some nice sized bills to pay with that paycheck.  I don't take for granted what the Lord has blessed us with financially.

AND I do not doubt for ONE MINUTE that GOD gave Mark that bonus.

Maybe, because we were willing to lay it down. Give up our house. Not go on vacation. Give up our free spending habits. I.HAVE.NO.IDEA.

But I do know it was from Him and I will sing His glory.

It also makes me angry. IF we had learned the rules when we were young and starting out, where would our lives be now?

Giving away more, I hope.

 Sending teenagers on mission trips that so badly want to go but can't afford it. (something on my heart)

Going to China a few times a year to love on orphans.

Maybe adopting MORE.

No looking back though. Instead we look forward.

To a life honoring to God and remembering it is all from Him.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Meet Charlie

As I have said before, I still watch the lists of kids out there for adoption.  I am always looking for MY kids. Be it a child the Lord has for ME or that it is one of my Chenzhou children available.  When it is a Chenzhou kid, who I think of as mine, I get SO excited to know they have a chance at a family. But then I get so scared because what if no one chooses them? It feels personal.  These kids, they are so much more than a photo to me. I have touched them. i have hugged and played and giggled with and kissed on them. They are mine. Sweet Jada? She still waits for a family to choose her.

Jada is a baby. A girl. But now I want you to meet a boy. And not a baby, not one little bit. He is 11.
This is Charlie. 

The same age as a certain boy that lives in my house. Talk about personal. How can I not look at my 11 year old son and imagine if it were him with no family?

11 years old, almost 12. Which means his time is running out. And it means he is ELEVEN and has no daddy to wrestle with. No mommy to kiss his forehead and give him hugs. What will become of him in a few years? What will his future hold if he stays? Will he ever hear about Jesus?

His special needs are missing toes and weakness in his hand.Not really a big deal in my book. Who needs toes, honestly? ;-) Let me introduce Charlie to you, get to know what I know.
On my team last year was Megan, whom I adore. She had been on the first team into Chenzhou the previous year, and so was already known. Charlie was her boy and she was looking for him. She had formed quite the bond with him that first year.

And then she found him. Or he found her. Because he REMEMBERED her. I can still see the tears she had when she saw him. When she saw that he remembered her. That he was looking for her.

How could we NOT return? Because of that right there. Look at that! 

Charlie is a happy kid. He is sweet and lovable. He has such a great smile and is just a fun boy. Not nearly as crazy as some boys I know that are 11! 

He has made it clear he wants a family. He wants to have a mom & a dad.

 And oh how I want that for him too! It is said he is helpful with the younger children. That was one thing we noticed at Chenzhou. The older children do help out with the youngers. His file said that he is always taking the little kids hands or helping to tie shoes.

 He is artistic and they have tried to nurture that at his school. Yep, he attends school through some generous donors who make that possible. He even won an award for his drawing! He is eager to learn and asks questions.  Don't you wonder what his questions are? Don't you just wish you could see his art?

I have thought about him often this past week as I read over his file. What is it like to be 11 and KNOW that you MIGHT get a family? He has watched many others from Chenzhou leave. He has probably met their new parents. What is it like to watch them go and wait your turn? Does he wait with hope or does he think it won't really happen?  Does he wonder why others were chosen but he is not?

I have no idea what is going on in his little mind, but I have to think he watches the others go and so desperately wishes it were his turn. I get that an 11 year old boy is NOT what most people are thinking. Because I am thinking those same things myself. He is 11, he can't speak English, I have little girls, he is not a baby to cuddle and the list goes on.

BUT he is a child of God, created perfectly in His image.  He NEEDS a family. His future in China is not promising as an orphan.

Please join me in praying for this sweet little boy. Help spread the word. To read about him through Love with out Boundaries please go here.

Or to get to know him through Megans eyes, please go here. 
(While there do a bit of shopping and help her get back to China this year will you? ) 

Could Charlie be your son?

Sunday, April 08, 2012