Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Angel Tree Goal is Reached!!

I just checked Lilianna's page on Reece's Rainbow and her Angel Tree grant is now up to $1,317.38!!  Thank you to whomever donated to bring it past her goal!!  I am just speechless and so excited!!  Wow!! And many thanks again to all of you who have donated and shared!  Lilianna has no idea how many people across the world are praying for her and helping to bridge that gap between her and a family.

Here's another picture to share with you of sweet Lilianna:

Though her Angel Tree goal has been met and exceeded (praise God!), I don't want to stop advocating for her.  She desperately needs a family NOW because of her heart condition and I don't want her to end up on this page before it's too late.  Her grant certainly does help bridge that gap between her and a family ( it's about $25k when all is said and done for an adoption from her country).  Her current grant would cover her airfare home, her passport, her US Embassy and medical appointments which is a huge help! I know there are families who would adopt her in a heartbeat.  What's that old saying? It is something like "many hands make light work".  I think that could apply here, too.  All the donations do add up thanks to the many who have contributed.   Please, please, continue to share Lilianna's profile and if you are able, make a small contribution.  

Thank you!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Darya loves beans.  Black beans.  Refried beans. Baked beans. Chili beans.  If you give them to her she will eat 'em up. She will probably ask for seconds. And thirds.  Her affinity to legumes has earned her the nickname "Beans" by our family.  It just so happens that shortly after Darya earned her new nickname, a mom across the pond in the UK (Jane over at Flight Platform Living) has offered to help fundraise for Lilianna by offering to have a bucket of Darya's favorite delicacy dumped on her head.  She is just asking for 100 people to commit to saving spare change before she gives her daughters the pleasure of doing this task! It doesn't matter if you are able to save 25 cents or 25 dollars to donate.....I would just love to get a picture of that!  Here's a link to her blog post.  If you are willing to commit to saving your spare change, leave a comment here or on her blog.  I'm almost tempted to commit to a bucket of beans on my head....almost....maybe....yes???  (I think my three boys, and husband, would love to do that to me, too!)

Here is what Jane says:

"If I get 100 people committing to collecting a jar of change for Lilianna over the festive period and then donating it into her Christmas Angel Tree adoption fund i will personally take a bucket of beans over the head!  You heard right...beans! Sticky, disgusting, cold beans! Will you?  Part of me fears you actually will!
If you are going to collect change then again leave a comment on this post!

Beans, pie and varied yuk for 2 sweet girls, my kids would love you forever if you gave them this pleasure!"

How do you think this color would look on Jane or me?

Friday, November 25, 2011


It's 7:30am here on Friday morning.  Just the dog and I are awake, though I think I hear Darya playing in her room.  I have a tradition to not go to Black Friday shopping!  I just prefer sleeping in my warm bed to shopping in the cold at 3:30am no matter how good the sales  :-)

We had a very nice Thanksgiving yesterday.  We had a few people from church over to celebrate with us and we all ate way too much good food.  But before we ate, Joel read Psalm 9 aloud.  We have so much to be thankful for, and above all earthly blessings, we have a God who loves us and gives us all spiritual blessings.

Psalm 9:1-2 

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
     I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exalt in you;
     I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

I have so much to be thankful for and I don't ever want to take it for granted.  I love my family, my church, and my friends that God has blessed me with.  I don't deserve any of them but am so grateful for the people God has put in my life.  

The handsome chef

My little sweet potato

Sweet Sam

Ben ready to devour his meal
  Olive you, Nate

My four favorite "little" blessings!

And one more thing I am thankful for, is that Lilianna's grant keeps growing!  I don't know who has been donating, but it really is encouraging to see her grant continue to grow.  I woke up this morning and saw it's gone up $30 since yesterday (and yesterday it had gone up, too!).  I hope and pray that next year she'll be able to celebrate the holidays with a family of her own.  How great would that be?  Another verse from Psalm 9 that Joel read aloud yesterday:

Psalm 9:18  "For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Lilianna's Angel Tree grant is just over the halfway mark to reach the $1,000 goal!  She's now "moved up" to join the group of kids whose grants have reached over the $500 mark.  Yay!  So what does that have to do with the title of my post?  Nothing. I just wanted to share that great news first.  On Saturday, we adopted a dog!  We got Luna from a local rescue organization who got her from an animal shelter. (10 points to the person who can tell me where we got the name Luna from). She's a "schnoodle" (poodle/schnauzer mix). She's the best dog ever!! She's so cute, sweet, smart, and well behaved. She fits right in with the rest of my kids ;-)  Here are a few pics of her with her new family:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday, Lilianna!

I just found out that today is Lilianna's 2nd birthday (thanks, Sarah!).  It's my hope and prayer that for her third birthday she'll be home with a family to celebrate, just like our sweet Darya did this year. Wouldn't it be great to see her Angel Tree grant hit the halfway mark by the end of this week in honor of her birthday?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Movin' On Up!

Yay, Lilianna's grant is almost to the halfway mark! She has $432.38 in her Angel Tree grant as I type this.  I am so excited!  It pays to be shamelessly pushy, especially on Facebook ;-) Thank you to everyone who has donated and shared so far! It means a lot to me, but more importantly to a little girl living in an orphanage halfway across the world, a little girl with no voice of her own.  It's my privilege to be a voice for her, no matter how small it is.  I am grateful for those of you who have donated, shared, and prayed for this one little girl.  Can you believe that since Reece's Rainbow was founded 5 years ago, over 500 orphans with special needs are now home with families?  These children truly are among "the least of these".  What a blessing it is to have a part in serving the Lord in this way!

Matthew 25:40 (ESV) "And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Benny McPhee

If you read my post below, I mentioned that our middle son, Ben, has a lot of missing teeth.  The joys of being 8.  When he does this smile (below), it reminds me of Emma Thompson's character, Nanny McPhee. It cracks me up every time!

Family Photo

Per my mother-in-law's request here is a family photo snapped by my dear friend, Heather (thank you!).  We really need to get some more family pics taken as all the ones on our walls are before Darya. I am horrible at updating photos!  Anyway, here we are in front of our house yesterday afternoon.  I can't believe Sam (10) is already up to my shoulders.  And like a good boy, he put on this clean shirt minutes before this pic was taken, but managed to get a spot on it.  Well done, son! :-)   Oh, and Ben (8) really is missing that many teeth!  He does a great snaggle-tooth smile with his lone front tooth, which resembles Nanny McPhee (I'll have to do a blog post on that).  Nate. What can I say?  He's a handsome little dude.  Heather took several pics, but I like this one because Joel's looking at sweet :-)  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


With all four kids in tow, I went to the grocery store this evening to cash in our coins.  In addition to our tupperware container-full of change, we scoured the house and van for any stray coins (in Joel's office, the van ashtray, my wallet, etc.).  We grabbed the loot, loaded up in the minivan, and drove to Publix.  We dumped our change into the Coinstar machine and came out with $17.38!  It's not much, but it is something.  I always say that every little bit truly helps and it does! I'm going to send a check to RR for this (to avoid Paypal fees).

If you plan on joining the kids and me in this coin drive, please let me know.  I would love to know of others who plan to join us.  I've heard from a couple of you (Jenny M. and Summer S.), so thank you!  If you let me know how much spare change you were able to collect, that would be great!  I'd love to see how many copper Lincolns we can gather together for Lilianna! ;-)

Change for Lilianna

Every year, Reece's Rainbow has an Angel Tree fundraiser. It's the biggest fundraising event of the year. The goal is to raise at least $1,000 in each waiting child's grant (kids with Down syndrome, 0-5 years old).  Most of the people fundraising are regular people like you and me, who have hearts for the orphans but not necessarily tons of money burning holes in our pockets. But collectively, I have seen amazing things happen as lots of people contribute a couple of bucks here and there (of course, the fundraising effort very close to my heart is from two years ago when Lydia Hollis raised thousands of dollars in a matter of days for Darya!)

Meet Lilianna.  She will be two this month, but as with most children in Eastern European orphanages, her birthday will pass just like any other day.  She is a beautiful little girl who has Down syndrome.  She also is missing her left hand, and because of these two things, I can say with confidence that she will not be adopted or fostered in her own country. She will be sentenced to institutional life.  I know there are families who would adopt her, but from first hand experience, I know that money is the main obstacle between her and a family. Adoption is expensive, but if we can collectively help bridge that gap and help her get a family, it could literally change her life!

"What's that I hear?  Is it change for me?"

I don't have any snazzy fundraising ideas, but am asking if all of you reading this post would please collect any spare change to donate that would be wonderful!  Just get a jar and start dropping coins in there each day. After you have a few bucks in it, you can send it in to Reece's Rainbow for her grant. Maybe this is something you can do with your kids. Check your wallets, under the couch cushions, in the cup holders in your cars!  We've got a tupperware full of change that I plan to take to the Coinstar machine at the grocery store.  The kids and I will cash it in and send in to Reece's Rainbow however much it is.  We'll also be saving any other change that we collect over the next several weeks.  My 6 year old Nate has a knack for finding spare change in parking lots - he's collected 93 cents in the past month.....a penny saved is a penny earned!  And in Lilianna's case, a penny donated is a penny closer to a family!  Also, if you donate $35 or more to Lilianna's Angel Tree grant, you will get a keepsake ornament. We have done this for the past two years and will plan to get another one with Lilianna's picture on this year, too.  It is a wonderful way to "share" the holidays with an orphan. You can hang her ornament on your tree and remember to pray specifically for her, that she would get a family.  Also, if you save change with your kids, feel free to take a picture of it (be creative) and I'll post it on here.  Here is one Sam, our 10 year old, did:

Tax-deductible donations can be made through Paypal by going here and scrolling down to Lilianna's profile (then selecting the "DONATE" button under her photo), or by sending a check in the mail to Reece's Rainbow (be sure to designate it for Lilianna on the Angel Tree): 

Reece's Rainbow
PO Box 4024  
Gaithersburg, MD  20885

P.S. Just now as I was going to the Angel Tree page to see Lilianna's profile to share on here, I saw that she has $300 in her Angel Tree grant already! Wow!!  Praise God!  I have no idea who donated it, so a huge THANK YOU to whoever (or whomever?) did!!  I'll be putting up a thermometer on my sidebar so we can track her grant.  I'll be super excited to see it reach $1,000!