Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another FUN GIveaway!

Click on THIS: and check it out.
I have a new friend who is stepping out to serve God and love of little ones in Uganda....AND SHE LEAVES TOMORROW! To celebrate her departure, she is giving away three beautiful necklaces...all made of hand rolled PAPER beads. If you have not seen these, you will be amazed. I have more than one - and they are addictive.
You will also LOVE reading her blog and learning all about her "story!" She has a sponsorship program for the children in Uganda and only $100 a year - a YEAR, not a MONTH - supports one child....and makes a HUGE difference in their lives. YOU just might be there ticket out of a life of poverty...and all for less than $10 a month.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

This Giveaway Stuff seems to be contagious...

My friend is getting creative and doing a pretty cool fundraiser. Check it out. Honestly, winning a photo session with her would become a priceless family memory for years to come! I am going back to check out that kid-friendly cookbook for only $5.00. And - having my name on the back of that framed puzzle when they show their adopted daughter who helped out? Hmmmm....pretty cool.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I have actually started to write this post more than once. I think it just was not happening because I SIMPLY COULD NOT BELIEVE I won a completely free 10 day missions trip to Ethiopia! Here is what I sent to Kari Smalley after my hands finally stopped shaking:
We’re crying and shaking here….and wanting to HUG and KISS that wonderful family who was moved by God to make this possible. My daughter and I are still in shock and my husband – at work – is not believing us. He is logging on to see for himself. Looks like my husband will be staying home with the kids and PROUDLY wearing his MAN UP shirt! I love it!!! (BTW…Carolyn T. is a good friend of mine…and she did not make a peep.) THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for doing this. I would not be going otherwise…in fact…the last of the 3 t-shirts I purchased came out of tight grocery money!

I am one of those people who does not ever REALLY "expect" to win. I was excited to watch the taped drawing because I knew some people who had purchased t-shirts to enter and I hoped I would know at least one of the two winners. Even my kindergarten buddy bought a "Man Up" shirt - I have not seen him since 6th grade - and we joked about how cool it would be if one of us won...incredible if we BOTH won and went together...but I never thought it WOULD happen.
The actual drawing happened over the weekend and the video was supposed to be posted at 9 am the following Tuesday...but, when we opened the computer that morning, it had posted an HOUR EARLY! We nervously watched it...excited, but not expectant.
Two winners drawn and no names we recognized. THEN - THEN! - Kari pulled out a check and said ONLY 4 DAYS before a woman contacted her saying her family wanted to fund a 3rd person for the trip. Way-too-cool!! And JUST 2 DAYS later a check came in that was actually and above the cost of the trip. (There is a 4th trip being given away now through Visiting Orphans!)
As a woman reached into the pile of 573 entries to draw the 3rd and final name, Kari stopped her to mix up the entire pile. I told Ali, "What a bummer if she had her hand on YOUR entry, huh?!" She replied, " could have been YOURS!" I quipped, "Well, at least I would never know."
There was this strange slow motion feeling as Kari read my she sorta stumbled over my hometown...and I saw the look on Carolyn's sweet face. I heard none of the tape after that....because - YES - you really cannot help but scream & cry & shake & laugh all at the same even put your hands out in front of you, then bury your face in your hands in disbelief. Yup - I was totally lookin' like a nutty contestant on the Price Is Right! Glad Bob Barker and his camera crew were NOT there to witness it.
Someone listened to a dream God gave them and made this happen. Someone listened to God's prompting and added a 3rd person. These people and their incredible acts of faith have blessed me and will impact my life in ways I am sure I cannot begin to imagine. I take this sacrificial blessing very seriously. I am humbled and determined to yield myself to be used by God in amazing ways! the way....I did cry my eyes out in the shower because:
During the time leading up to the drawing, Kari kept confidently claiming that God had already CHOSEN who would go...and He had it all planned out...and there was an amazing reason why He had CHOSEN these specific people. That really struck me. And it really rocks my mind even moreso NOW. "CHOSEN?!" Wow, this is even better than being Charlie Bucket!

Here is an excerpt from an email to Kari. (You would not believe the flurry of emails and FB communications since that announcement - crazy fun!) I really feel like God is bringing me back around after walking through some tough stuff. He is faithful!
Oh, my goodness….where to start? This is SUCH a celebration in a long journey of God changing me and refining me and getting me to surrender to Him. I am so at peace with the craziness we are considering as a family right now. Carolyn knows our story. Adoption, disruption, a constant & confusing tug on my heart to go back….riddled with closed doors. We surrendered the dirt of our lives to God and He has been faithful to plant beautiful perennials there….they just keep blooming and they come back bigger, stronger and more gorgeous each time. YOU have blessed me by YOUR faithfulness. I am so! There is no where I want to be except smack dab in the middle of God’s out of this world plan for my life! (Lori 11/2)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Go For It!

I believe that, when God Himself wants you to DO SOMETHING, He opens doors to make it happen. All He needs from YOU is a yielded heart. I want to encourage you to make yourself available to go just about anywhere (well, among 13 countries, for now) for/with Him by joining Visiting Orphans on a missions trip. Below is general - amazing - information about Visiting Orphans. RIGHT NOW, Kari Gibson and Visiting Orphans are working together to GIVE AWAY a free trip to any of the 13 countries. Can you imagine what it would be like to hear YOUR name called out as the winner?! I CAN! It's simply amazing and you might just cry and scream like a crazy game show contestant. Click over to, enter to win a free t-shirt, get your name in the Trip Giveaway (Nov. 11th - right around the corner!) and see if God has chosen to ROCK YOUR WORLD!

Visiting Orphans is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Established in 2005 by America World Adoption Association as a way to further help the orphans of the world. Visiting Orphans works to fulfill the biblical mandate given in James 1:27 of "visiting orphans" in their distress.

Visiting Orphans has conducted many missions trips for churches, schools, and individuals from around the United States to orphanages around the world including China, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, Ecuador, Peru, Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Russia and Costa Rica.

Looking ahead, VO's plan of action is to begin mobilizing and working more directly with churches in the United States. While we will still work with individuals and schools in order to bring people to orphans and expose them to the hardships they face, partnerships with churches will drive our expansion and positive impact on orphaned children around the world.

Our Mission: Visiting Orphans works with Christian churches to help raise orphan awareness in the hopes of each orphan experiencing the blessing of family through:

1. Reunification

2. Transitional Services

3. Adoption

If you are part of a church looking to start or expand your orphan ministry we would love to assist you!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Don't Lose Your Peace Of Mind

Word For Today with Bob Gass
You will keep him in perfect peace...Isaiah 26:3 NKJV

We lose our peace of mind for four reasons:

1) We try to change the people in our lives. As you grow wiser you begin to realise that you can't change other people, only God can! And He does, when you back off, and love them as they are. This doesn't mean agreeing with everything they do. It means committing to love them regardless, claiming God's promises on their behalf and allowing Him to deal with them His way, in His time and for His glory. The reason you're stressed out may be because you keep trying to do something-about something you can't do anything about!
 2) We try to make things happen when it's not the right time. 'There is a time for everything... ' (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV). If you've raised children you know that one of their chief characteristics is impatience; they can't wait for anything. God wants us to outgrow our childishness so He makes us wait, trust, and mature!
 3) We get upset because we're not progressing fast enough. You can slow down your spiritual growth through neglect, but ultimately, '... We all... are being changed... [by] the Spirit' (2 Corinthians 3:18 NCV). So learn to enjoy your life while God works on your problems, for you'll always have problems!
4) We push ourselves harder and harder. We do what we think God wants without consulting Him as to what He actually wants, when He wants it, or how He wants it done. As a result we wear ourselves out.

What's the solution? 'You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is [focused] on You, because he trusts in You.'

Golden Promises

"...the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of the Lord."
Job 1:21b
The Lord gave us three healthy children. Then He saw fit to bless us with yet another baby...a baby who would be our last child. But our plan was so small compared to His. The Lord took that baby when he was fully formed and amazingly beautiful...but not able to live apart from his physical bond to me. We were heartbroken, but strangely at peace. We were able to surrender our pain to Him and claim His promises to use it all for His glory - and INDEED He did! Over & over again!
A wonderful and loving friend of mine special ordered this tiny gold ring as a reminder of our baby boy...a miracle in our hearts and our treasure up in heaven. She even hung it on a lovely gold chain for me.

Not long afterward, God was faithful to fill the void in my mommy heart with a beautiful, healthy baby girl! She came into this world as a big 9 lb. 8 oz. promise that God still cared about my motherly desires...even when so many people said, "Stop while you are have three healthy children."
Still..knowing we had lost a baby boy left a longing within me. A desire to have one more boy...
My fifth child was a delightful surprise! He was four months along before we knew he was on his way. I held my breath at the ultrasound (performed only one week after we discovered I was pregnant), feeling slightly guilty about hoping for a healthy baby BOY, and not just a healthy baby. When the doctor announced his gender, I was overwhelmed. I felt so loved and so blessed that God gave me even more than I dared hope for out loud. He knows the desires of our hearts and He really cares.
If I had not lost that precious baby boy - if I have not surrendered my pain and let Him move my life forward in a beautiful, amazing way - I would not have these two incredible kids!

I have often wondered if God laughs - at least a little - when we start making plans and acting like we have any real control. I believe He planted a seed in my heart for children who would not grow beneath my heart when I was longing for another baby boy. I dismissed this crazy idea of adoption - especially international adoption - because it was crazy expensive. People with five bio kids don't ADOPT!?!
Less than 3 years after our "last" child was born, we found ourselves on the journey to adopt two little ones from Ethiopia. Nothing made sense and we made some huge mistakes along the way....but nothing was outside His control...I believe it was all part of His refining plan for us.
In the airport before boarding our international flight, my husband purchased these 24K gold starfish earrings for me. There is a story about many starfish washed up on a beach after a storm...and a young man tossing them in one at a time. He is questioned about how he can possibly think he can make a difference when there are THOUSANDS stranded. He replies that he will make a huge difference to each one he does help. To me, those earrings represented the two little people we were going to meet, two little ones whose lives we hoped to change dramatically.
God gave them to us for a brief period of time...and He showed us that our part in His plan for THEIR lives was completely different than we had imagined. Through an amazing and heartwrenching journey of surrender, we realized that the woman who took them their very first gifts from America would - along with her Godly husband and wonderful children - be their forever family. (She is in the photo! God is so cool!) We surrendered this experience and all it's pain to Him to use for HIS glory...and, guess what? Yes! Of course - He has! And he continues to do so.
There was still a strong desire in my heart to adopt a child..or children. After some time, I started out cautiously on the road to discover whether or not anyone would allow us to adopt again. This is an ugly road riddled with too many mean, insenstive people. The few kind people who offered hope were like air bubbles to me when I felt like I was literally drowning in very personal criticism. We fostered for awhile...but only little guys we knew were going back to their moms. It allowed us to "test" our see if we were ready to open our hearts again. I even prayed that - if it was not God's plan for us to add any children to our family - He would divinely and completely remove my desire. He did not.
On a particularly frustrating day - Nov. 2, 2009 - I sent a one word email to my husband. It said: "DONE!" I was done trying to figure out a way. I was done inquiring and being ridiculed. I was done banging my head - and my heart - against the closed doors of adoption.
Less than one hour later, my phone rang and a familiar voice was asking me if I was willing to take in a baby who might be available for adoption...and how soon could I leave. Within the next hour, I was walking into a hospital room being handed a precious, beautiful, brown baby boy with gobs of gorgeous, loopy, dark curls all over his head. (Did I mention that I have secretly always wanted a boy with curly brown hair? I swear...HE KNOWS!)
When I think back on my one word email, I have to believe that God was just waiting for me to let Him know that I was DONE trying to do it my way. He was patiently waiting to bless my socks off! Here is the angel baby I picked up just over a year ago....and the froggy boy is a little man we are holding onto loosely...waiting to see if God wants Him to stay with us forever. Remember....He knows the desires of our hearts.
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away...and the Lord GIVES you so much more than you could ever hope for!