Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

All I Want For My Birthday Is……..

July 15, 2012

Our Colombiana princessa turned nine this week.  Here she is with her new Mermaid beach towel.

Several weeks ago, Nora and I were eating lunch and I mentioned that she should make a list of ideas for birthday gifts that she may like to receive.  At first she replied, “I can’t really think of anything,”  but I got a pad of paper and a pen and sat ready to transcribe her hopes for her upcoming ninth birthday.  I knew the family members would ask what she would like… and the kids always seem to come up with gift ideas that I never would dream of… so I sat…. ready.  It seems with a bit of prodding and suggesting, she actually DID have some ideas that I found amusing and HIGHLY particular.  Here is a short list from the long list:

  • Pink girl Lego’s
  • The DVD of Parent Trap
  • Dive sticks for the swimming pool FOR GIRLS
  • Purple piggy bank
  • Sleeping bag for a girl
  • Liquid paint: gold, light green, light pink, lavender, turquoise and black
  • Ruffly socks for her dolly
  • Turquoise church dress with sparkles that is tight on the top and goes big on the bottom, size 7
  • Mermaid beach towel
  • White high heels with 1 flower or 1 bow on each shoe, size 1
  • “N” necklace with blue sparkles

See?!?  She knows what she likes!  So cute!  And my sister-in-law FOUND the exact dress that Nora explained from her visions of beautifulness!

Adoption FUNds….

May 17, 2011

Many people have asked us how we raised our adoption funds.  We smile a knowing smile… because WE didn’t raise the money, God did.  He funds what He favors!  Adoption is expensive… domestic AND international.  Personally, I don’t think it should be expensive, but that’s another story for another day.  We didn’t have nearly enough cash to adopt from Colombia, but we had some “seed money” that we planted and waited for God to harvest. Our dream of adoption came from the Lord so we relied on Him to show us where the adoption money was hiding.  It was a huge step of faith! Huger than any we’d taken previously!

When our adoption process began, we had faith that we would be one of the QUICK families…. not so.  It took us 10 months to get our dossier together (we had to work with two Canadian provinces and five American states!) and then we waited three months until we were approved.  THEN a 34 month wait for our referral. From the referral to us kissing our girl’s soft cheeks was eight days.  Eight days of FLURRY, scurry and hurry!

The 34 month wait was when we put our noses to the grindstone and searched hard for adoption funds.  I applied for 10-12 grants, and we received only one from Show Hope (MaryBeth and Steven Curtis Chapman) right at the beginning of the journey.  It was the sweet priming for the fundraising pump that we needed!  Thank you, MBC and SCC!

We also sent a letter to friends and family far and near telling them of our expanding family and asking if they felt the Lord nudging them to help bring a child home.  The monies from that one pink letter came in over four years.  It brought me to tears time and time again. Faithful friends, doing their part!  Thank you, if you were one of those loving people.

My sister-in-law, Jennie, came up with this fabulous idea to sew purses and carrier bags from recycled and donated fabric.  She nick-named our daughter Zaza, and Bags for Zaza was birthed!  The sewing escapades went on for over a year with six or seven contributing seamstresses (with three solid contenders).  She auctioned them online and it went over brilliantly…. 10 times more brilliantly than Jennie originally hoped for!  Thank you, Jennie!

While searching other adoption blogs and fundraising sites, I learned about having a Media Drive.  Great idea!  Ask all your family, friends and enemies to donate unused, dust-collecting media….. I gathered books, CDs, DVDs, videos, games, collector cards, plus more.  The valuable ones I was able to sell on eBay and the less valuable ones I sold at a local used book store.  This really encouraged me as friends far and wide donated boxes and boxes of stuff!  It made me feel great that there was a way everyone could contribute to helping an orphan…. it wasn’t just people with extra cash.  Everyone.

I also looked around our house and decided we didn’t need all this stuff that had accumulated over the last 20-something years.  I started selling everything: furniture, clothing, sports equipment, household trinkets, silk trees, books, lamps, you name it.  I sold most of these items on  There is one in your area!

Our neighborhood group decided to have a “Large Item” garage sale for us…. held at our house.  More than 20 families donated large items for this day and it was a great success. Thank you, neighborhood groupies!

Right when I needed another idea, a flyer was squeezed into our front door crack telling about a children’s clothing consignment sale.  I sent the word out for friends to donate kid’s clothing.  I gathered, ironed, tagged, hung and delivered over 200 items!

Most unique of all: Matt’s Meals with a Mission.  A high school grad in chef training (friend of daughter’s) set up MMM to raise money for different causes.  So, our adoption was one of the causes he supported by cooking meals for different families for special occassions.  We were so amazed by his giving heart, generosity and cooking! Thank you, Matthew!

The day before we flew to Colombia we received a phone call from a businessman we are acquainted with.  He asked how much we still needed and transfered the funds into our account that day.  It still brings me to tears, knowing that God had people lined up to take care of the needed funds.  We did our part and others did their part, as a body of believers and unbelievers alike, God used MANY people to bring our girl home. The blessing is spread far and wide.  Be encouraged if you are fundraising!  Be creative!  God funds what He favors!  Here’s our breakdown for you:

  • Our Savings – 19%
  • Show Hope – 7%
  • Letter to Family & Friends – 23%
  • Bags for Zaza – 16%
  • Media Drive, Garage Sale, Craigslist, Consignment, MMM – 8%
  • Last minute Donation – 27%

Christmas Wish Lists

December 30, 2008


Calm down.  I realize some of you think it’s selfish and greedy to make a Christmas Wish List, but hear me out.  Old folks don’t know what to buy for young folks.  Young folks don’t know what to buy for old folks.  It’s not like we’re writing Porsche or gigantic flat screen TV on our lists.  And for goodness sake, you have to know the name of the game system, or you’ll be a sad pile of tears in Game Stop.  Believe me, I’ve shed a few in there.

Our youngest son’s Christmas Wish Lists are always my favorite.  I save them every year.  One year his list included: lime green mini Sharpie permanent pen, cardboard to make guitars, Batman bubblegum toothpaste, lime green spray paint and a jump rope with rubber handles.  See?  One trip to Wally World and seven bucks later, the boy got everything on the list.

Our 15 year old daughter produced a wish list about 8 or 9 years ago that included white envelopes and scotch tape.  I love it!  She got smart this year and only put two things on her list… a cell phone and perfume.  She got both.  I wasn’t aware that you can buy a phone for $21 and then the owner has to prepay all the minutes!  Sweet!  (Yes, we did buy her some minutes to call home in case of emergency.)

One year I made a detailed list with pictures of specific scrapbooking materials.  Rick went into the scrap store and just handed the list to the lady.  It saved him time and I don’t get real roses dipped in gold anymore.  (Yes, it’s true.)

Another year, I made my list complete with pictures, and then a week before Christmas, Rick told me he was taking me to -50* Saskatchewan for New Years.  I asked for my list back.  I crossed off everything and wrote PARKA in big letters.  I still have the parka…. and I wear it weekly at the arena.

This year I received a gift that I would never have thought of for my wish list…. it’s a 15 minute spot on a local radio station.  It sort of put me in panic mode… because it’s live and you have to be on your game.  I’ve been fighting sinus pressure and I’m no where near my game.  I don’t even know where my game is, let alone be on it.  But the date was chosen for the 16th of Jan…. so I have time to find my game.

Blue Christmas

December 24, 2008


All this talk of Elvis singing Blue Christmas…. I didn’t realize how this song has subliminally affected me until today.  The tree is blue, the gifts are blue, the tablecloth is blue and Elvis is still singing the same song.

Happy day before Jesus’ birthday!  Remember the Christian heritage of our country.  Say Merry Christmas to one and all!

?#5 from My Sister’s Jar – Secret Service

February 11, 2008

Santa and Elves

Tell about a time when you did a secret service for someone.  What was it?  How did it make you feel?

For several Christmases in a row, my husband dressed like Santa, the kids like hokey elves, and we delivered gifts on Christmas morning before we opened our gifts. 

My favorite Christmas morning was the first year we paraded as Santa and his helpers.  We knew of a family who had really struggled because the dad was wrongfully in prison.  The mom was trying to make ends meet with two little children at home.  (different family from the one pictured) Thankfully, the dad was pardoned by the governor and was coming home Christmas Eve.  We realized that having daddy home was the best Christmas gift ever, but we wanted to make sure there were also gifts under the tree. 

We met the mom in a parenting class, so we talked to the other attendees who graciously donated TONS of toys and clothes.  Our family was blessed to be the deliverers.  The mom didn’t really know us, but might have recognized Rick and I.  She had never seen our children, so they dressed like elves and helped carry in the booty.  Rick really disguised himself well with MANY pillows, eyebrows, beard and make-up. I hid in Santa’s sleigh, waiting impatiently for their return.

After Santa and the three elves made a mad dash to the get-away car, I asked for a run down of the pseudo-heist.  All talking at once, the kids said there were only two gifts under the tree and the parents were speechless.  The mom kept examining Santa, trying to figure out who he was.  The elves put the gifts under the tree, then the mom hugged Santa.  I asked what happened next and Rick replied, “I started getting tears in my eyes.  I couldn’t see anything and Santa isn’t supposed to cry, so we scrambled out of there.” 

My heart is still full and tears still surface when I think of that morning.  Our children opened their gifts that morning, but all they talked about were the two kids that were surprised by Santa’s visit.  We all learned a valuable lesson that Christmas morning: It is truly more blessed to give than to receive.