Monday, January 31, 2011

Cornrows Speak For Themselves!

What's been the response to my cornrows? Actually, it depends on where I am.

Friends at church? All loved it. At least they told me so. Dianne said I looked like a teen-ager. Knowing our connection to Africa made the braids less surprising.

Strangers in West Knoxville? The hair-do has caused me to receive many wide-eyed looks, but few comments. No compliments I remember.

My mother? She looked scared, astonished, sick and surprised all balled up together. Once I told her I planned to take it down eventually, relief flooded her pale face. (Mom? What if it had been a tattoo? Oh my!)

My dad? He burst into howling laughter when the hat came off. I was afraid he would fracture a rib he was laughing so hard.

My sisters? They both said little, but also laughed when they saw the cornrows. I suppose the cornrows speak for themselves.

However, when I walked in to Water Angels with the tight braids down my back. Well, it was like I'd won an African beauty pageant. Every dark-skinned person there told me how "good" I looked. Karen (above) told me I wore the braids better than "one of her own people." Amy (above) shared she used to wear her hair this way when she was on the street. Talking to her made me think I should adopt this style permanently!

One thing is for sure, I'm not putting things off any longer. My life is flying by. If there's something crazy I'm want to try. Well, I'm going to do it.

Now, at 41 years old, I know how cool it feels to have cornrows! It's a great feeling to wake up without needing to fix my hair! I might be cray enough to do it again sometime. Or, I could be like Jess, and give dreadlocks a try?!? Hmmmm.....what would dreads be like?

Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. Psalm 39:4

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

One Year Anniversary = The New Do

Call me crazy!?! Tonight when I went to pick up Omar and Lamar I asked their mom, my friend Anna, what who thought I would look like with braided hair. I'd been contemplating having it done during our upcoming trip.
Anna says, "Oh, it'll look great! Do you want me to braid one for you so you can see what it will feel like?"
"Yeah, sure. That'd be great!"
And the next thing I know... Anna has braided my entire head with cornrows!
What an awesome gift to receive on the anniversary of beginning the pursuit of Overcomer!

Love it!

When I walked in the door, Reid had this enormous grin on his face when he saw me! I hope he likes it because I think I'll leave it in for a while. Actually, I really like it!

Our boys tonight!

My sweet friend, Anna, who tediously braided and braided and braided my hair! I love her!

Hmmm...would you call this hairstyle 'elaborate'? Oh my!

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles...

1 Peter 3:3

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Friday, January 28, 2011

One Year Anniversary

It's been one year. A full 365 days. One year ago today we stepped away from what felt comfortable, what seemed reasonable, and what common-sense told us to do. We mailed in our application to adopt to begin the process. I can't believe it's been that long.

Lately, I've been wondering why it's taking so long for us to return to Ghana to bring Overcomer home. Amazingly though, I've been at peace overall throughout the long wait. Earlier this week,
I was shifting pictures around on the blog and I re-read the original prayer requests we asked people to pray throughout this adoption. It was a gentle reminder from God telling me to SEE His goodness.

These were our requests -

For God's GLORY - first and foremost

For protection - over this child we've yet to meet. Specifically, please pray for healing of his health. Also, please pray those caring for him will know how to help him.
(As of today - Overcomer's health has been great since our 2 scares with Malaria early in the adoption. He is being loved on by M at the home where he lives.)

For discernment - clearly following God's leading - boy or girl, boys or girls, or boy and girl??? ANSWERED! God led us to a 2 1/2 year old boy.

For provision - may we trust completely (As of today, Each step has been another step of faith, but God has continued to GROW our TRUST in HIM ALONE! Astounded by His outpouring of love on us, God has miraculously provided for need after need. We praise Him!)

For clarity of purpose - staying in HIS will (As of today, the Lord seems to be expanding what HIS will looks like for our family. Our vision and purpose has become bring glory to God in all things!)

For courage - to say YES to anything the Lord asks of us (A few days in country were frightening. We knew the the Lord was fighting for us. We needed courage and the Lord provided it.)

For mercy in the adoption process - to be granted an adoption decree instead of a two year placement - ANSWERED - Full Adoption Decree Granted

For patience - in God's perfect timing - READ BELOW

For the hope of Christ to be continually believed without wavering doubt (As of today, I'm clinging closer to Christ than ever before. When doubts come, I'm learning to continually take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.)

For trust - even in the midst of concerning news about our child, may we trust in God's providence and sovereignty (As of today, my understanding of God's sovereignty continues grow. The goodness of God partnered with His sovereignty teaches me that even circumstances that seem undesirable are for HIS purposes. How exciting to be a part of what HE is doing!)

As I read over the prayer requests, I saw that my precious Lord has answered every one. He has heard the cry of my heart. The prayers of others have fallen upon His ears that care. He listens and He answers. WOW! What an amazing God we serve!

God also seems to be answering my prayer request For patience - in God's perfect timing. I was wondering why we were waiting so long, but it is now looking like travel will take place in a few weeks. Really!

The possible dates mean two very, very special celebrations may possibly be happening while we are in Ghana. One is the possibility of celebrating Overcomer's third birthday with him! How wonderful! This has been my prayer for quite some time.

The second celebration is the possibility of being on Ghanaian soil for the anniversary of the death of my precious friend, Ansley. Her passion was missions. Her favorite place was Ghana! Actually, this blog was started soon after her death. And, if we are there when I believe we will be - then we will be in Ghana on the anniversary of her Homecoming to be with Jesus! Would you please pray with me for this possible reality?

The Lord is great and greatly to be praised! One year...365 Days. We are still apart, but closer to being together as a family. He is bringing beauty from the ashes...

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,

because the LORD has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor

and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

instead of ashes, the oil of joy

instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

a planting of the LORD

for the display of his splendor.

Isaiah 61:1-4

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Every day we draw closer to traveling. Today we notarized our vaccination waivers for the visa medical exam. One more step closer!

Our hopes are to take our entire family for this once-in-a-lifetime trip to bring out baby home! After looking at airfare, hotel, transportation, etc... we realize it will be very tight for this happen. God has been so faithful and provided so much. We know He has called us to experience this next trip as a family, so we are stepping forward in faith. :-)

Therefore, in order to help drive some shirt sales we are having a VALENTINE SPECIAL on all shirt orders between now and Feb. 14, 2011. We will include a FREE pack of Africa Adoption Silly bands with every shirt order! What a great Valentine Gift for your loved ones. It truly is a gift of love!

Additionally, we're having another t-shirt giveaway. Simply post this link on your blog, FaceBook, etc... and let me know you've done it. Then your name goes in the hat for a FREE t-shirt of your choosing! Simple!

Please help our family travel by wearing a new shirt for Spring! Lots of colors and styles available! Simply click on the button located on the lower left of our blog. Scroll down to find your size. Special includes the chocolate brown shirts also! Wonderful gifts!

A friend sent me this verse recently. Our desire is to live it out:

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. " - Romans 15:13

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Working on the Puzzle

In an address given to ministers and workers after his ninetieth birthday, George Mueller spoke thus of himself: "I was converted in November, 1825, but I only came into the full surrender of the heart four years later, in July, 1829. The love of money was gone, the love of place was gone, the love of position was gone, the love of worldly pleasures and engagements was gone. God, God alone became my portion. I found my all in Him; I wanted nothing else. And by the grace of God this has remained, and has made me a happy man, an exceedingly happy man, and it led me to care only about the things of God. I ask affectionately, my beloved brethren, have you fully surrendered the heart to God, or is there this thing or that thing with which you are taken up irrespective of God? I read a little of the Scriptures before, but preferred other books; but since that time the revelation He has made of Himself has become unspeakably blessed to me, and I can say from my heart, God is an infinitely lovely Being. Oh, be not satisfied until in your own inmost soul you can say, God is an infinitely lovely Being!'

My heart has grown so much over the past year. As I've let go of more worldly pleasures, God has replaced them with the "infinitely lovely Being" of Himself! God has used this past year to strip me of many things that previously were found to be important. So many moments of surrender. How my life was filled with things "irrespective of God."

Several days ago I began inscribing the names off our our blog onto the puzzle pieces. Each name represented someone who had done something to help us on this journey of adoption. I neatly wrote each name and remembered what the individual had done for us. Prayers of thanksgiving were lifted to God for His goodness through His people.

Young children and my 94 year old grandmother. Close friends and complete strangers. Names of people who gave generous amounts and those who gave gifts of pennies. People who gave their time to help us with fund-raising and others who gave their homes for fund-raising events. Adoptive parents who offered advice and prayer warriors who have specifically prayed. Little ones who have emptied their banks and others who have sold coke floats and cookies. And on and on...

Each name represented a part of this journey. Every person reminded me of God's faithfulness to provide all things. The Lord has revealed himself in miraculous ways over this past year as we have stepped "out of the boat" and into the water. Along the way, we've learned to swim closer to Jesus.

Today is day 359 since we mailed in our application. In seven days it will be a year since we started on the adoption path. A full year of praying, seeking, trusting, yearning, and growing. The days ahead hold more of the same. How can I not praise God during the wait?

Yes, I am more than ready to have Overcomer here with us. I long to hold him and hug him tight. I miss his sweet voice. Anticipation fills me when I think of him playing with his brothers. Tears still come and go. We are ready to travel to bring him home.

However, writing the names on these tiny puzzle pieces reminded me that God is the one molding the pieces together - not me. His timing is HIS TIMING. It's not mine. (Otherwise, Overcomer would have been with us long ago.) So, I will continue to trust Him, and praise Him until the path is cleared for us to return to bring our son home.

Overcomer's birthday is approaching in a few weeks. It's a significant day for me, so I am praying that we would be with Overcomer on his birthday. What a gift that would be! The butterflies on the puzzle above remind me to cling to HOPE!

Thank you again to everyone who has been a part of this journey. I can't wait to show Overcomer all of the people who helped bring him HOME. Can you imagine the impact this will have on him? At this point, over 800 people loved Jesus enough to step out to help provide a way for him to come into our family. WOW!

Words are inadequate to express our gratitude to everyone for their love and support. We stand continually amazed at all God has done and all He will continue to do! May we continually find our ALL in Him.

The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help
for the brothers and sisters living in "Ghana". (Judea)
Acts 11:29

PIllowcase Dresses

Although this post was written a while back, we would still love to have your help creating dresses for the orphans of Ghana.  Please email me if you are interested in helping bring a smile to a little girl by providing a new dress for her.  YOU CAN STILL HELP!  IT'S ONGOING!


Young orphaned girls in Ghana, West Africa rarely have new dresses to wear. If clothes are available many are used or passed down from others by the time they wear them. This is why Feeding the Orphans is asking for volunteers to make simple dresses out of pillowcases.

Thanks to Mrs. Miller for this wonderful idea!

Her daughter-in-law, Kristin, and son, Jeremy, were the first to give these gifts of love to the girls in Ghana a few weeks ago. Read Kristin's post about delivering these precious dresses. Your heart will be stirred, I promise. This is Ruth in her new dress. I think she likes it, don't you?

Paste this link in your browser and print the pattern -

Dresses will be hand-delivered to the children by Feeding the Orphan volunteers as they travel to Ghana. The girls' exuberant smiles are worth your time. If you are able to sew, would you consider this simple but profound project for a little girl without a family? Gather some sewing friends and outfit a group of girls with a precious new dress.

If you are interested in participating, please e-mail me at

Donations of completed dresses are accepted at any time. Dresses will be distributed to the children living in foster homes throughout the West Africa region.

Thank you for living out the words of Jesus, "I needed clothes and you clothed me..." (Matthew 25:36a)

Friday, January 21, 2011


Finally, the silly bands are here!
Fundraising for our travel to bring Overcomer home!

Six in a package: Africa - brown, Target - glow-in-the-dark white, Arrow - red, Boy - blue, ADOPT - orange, Girl - pink

Come professionally packaged!

ONLY $3.50 per pack OR 3 for $10.00
Shipping only $1.00 for up to 3 packages. Only $.50 shipping for each pack over 3.

GREAT GIFTS! Any adopting sibling would LOVE these!

Thank you for supporting Overcomer and helping to bring him HOME!

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Grandmama and Papaw

Mason, Franklin, Weston and Braden love their Grandmama and Papaw! Overcomer will too! I'm thankful they have such wonderful grandparents (and great-grandparents) to model living life for them. They live out their faith well.

My dad, Papaw, met with Mason in late December and presented him with document written in calligraphy. He had actually hired someone to hand write this note in elegant calligraphy. It was a contract for Mason to sign at age 13, It challenges him to begin reading one chapter of Proverbs every day in January and continue every January for the rest of his life. In return, my dad promises to be reading the same chapters every day in January for the rest of his life as well. Dad plans to present this agreement to every grandchild before the January of their 13th birthday. What intentionality for my dad to ask this of them.

Omar happened to be with us on the evening of the challenge. So, my dad included him. Omar signed the same agreement. He will be reading Proverbs too.

Mason taped a note on the refrigerator when we came home that night. In bold caps, it read, "MASON READ PROVERBS!"

On January 1st, I overheard a phone conversation. Standing in the kitchen with Mason in the next room, I heard:
"Hey, this is Mason. Is Omar there?" ...
"Hey Omar, How're you doin'?" ...
"Great. Well, I was calling to remind you to read Proverbs today." ...
"Oh, you did! That's great! I'm glad you've already read it! Okay, well I'll talk to you later. Bye."

"He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly."
Acts 10:2

January 22, 2011 - Mason has read his chapter every day. He even took his bible when he spent the night with a friend. He's committed.

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