Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Purchased. Today.

He's just a simple bear.

Stuffed with fluff and very little brain.

A simple little bear for a little girl across the ocean.



Because yesterday our dossier was submitted.

And just like that the reality of this adoption has taken hold of our hearts.

We have a room to prepare.

Because soon - soon - a little girl is going to be living in this house.

Oh My Heart!

I can't breathe.

I am gasping for air.

I don't want to lose her.

I don't want to lose her!

Oh Dear Lord - Please!

We were submitted.

All that's left is to wait for travel dates.

And here's the crazy because with adoption - there is always crazy...

We could travel in one month.

We could travel in three months.

The timetable is dependent upon the wording in Mary's file.

In her country, they have created a punch list of special needs that a child could have that are considered urgent. If a child has those any of those special needs on that list then their adoption is expedited.  Fast-tracked. Mary has epilepsy. Epilepsy is on the special list.

IF Mary's file has the correct coding for epilepsy then we will be crossing the ocean in a month.

If Mary's file does not have that coding then we will be crossing the ocean in three months.

We won't know either way for another two weeks.

That's crazy!

Honestly, we don't think the coding will be correct on her file.  But we are laying the groundwork to leave in 4 weeks just in case.

I would drop everything to be able to leave in 4 weeks.

Mountains be gone.... Gasping for air is hard on the lungs!

A boys' toy room is being transformed into a room for a princess.

Sheets for her bed are on the way.  A comforter. 

And a bear.

Filled with fluff and with very little brain.

But ready to valiantly cross the ocean to bring home the one who will whisper secrets in his ear at night.



Dear Lord - Please!

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's Live!!

The Build Your Bundle Sale is LIVE!!

Click HERE to check it out!

I don't often do advertisement on this blog but this sale is one of a kind. None of the material that is in the sale this year was in last year's sale except for one back by popular demand curriculum!! It's all new material!

For all of us moms who have special needs kids... there is a Special Needs bundle that I have already bought!! 

Three of BiblioPlan's products are in this sale including our Medieval Days Audio book, our brand new Giants of the Faith Ancients and our Hands on States Notebooking!!

I highly recommend you check this sale out if you are a homeschooling mom or if you teach school!!

From 8AM EST for only 9 days!

The ONLY bundle sale that lets YOU pick & choose what to purchase!

 There are 234 products priced up to $120 that you can choose from. There is even a NO PRICE CAP bundle this year!

Don't forget that if you buy 2 Build Your OWN Bundles you will get the 3rd one for FREE!
Let me do some math for you:

Purchase 3 Basic Bundles of Five for just $50! That is 15 products priced $19.99 and under at a savings up to 83%!
Purchase 3 Basic Bundles of Ten for $78! That is 30 products priced $19.99 and under at a savings up to 87%
Purchase 3 Premium Bundles of Five and get the best savings!
  • 15 Products with NO PRICE CAP
  • Choose from 234 products priced up to $120
  • Total potential value: $1,094.91 for just $78.00! You can save up to 93% with the Buy 2 Get 1 FREE deal when you Build Your Own Premium Bundles!
Click here for complete details about the Buy 2 Get 1 FREE offer.
Save up to 96% on 20 individual bundles packed full of resources for your home and school!
  • *All new products and no duplicates throughout the bundles!
  • Over 240 products from 112 authors
  • Cathy Duffy Top Pick Publishers
  • 3 Build Your OWN Options - you can pick and choose what YOU want with an option for no price caps!
  • Get the Bundle of Bonuses Book for FREE with ANY purchase. This is loaded with over $250 in freebies and awesome sales and deals!
*The only repeat products from prior years are Ellen McHenry's curriculum because it is wildly popular. We bundled it all up in one bundle this year!

Remember - these bundles will NEVER be sold again. For 8 days only you can take advantage of prices starting at just $9.95 (up to 96% off!)

Don't forget that if you buy 2 Individual Bundles you will get the 3rd one for FREE! Click here for complete details about the Buy 2 Get 1 FREE offer.

Take a look at the individual bundles and how much you will save:

If you would prefer, you can Build Your OWNBundle!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Corrected Build Your Bundle Link

To enter the giveaway please use THIS LINK! The post from yesterday will be correct now but it wasn't yesterday. So to enter, hurry and go now!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Build Your Bundle - Oh My!!

I am not big on advertising stuff on this blog but once a year we put some of our BiblioPlan products in this cool Build Your Bundle sale for homeschoolers and teachers.

Since many of you are homeschoolers I don't feel guilty telling you about this sale.  I can't share what products from BiblioPlan are in the bundle sale this year - you will have to wait until Monday because that is when it starts. I can say that I was allowed to make my purchases early and I was thrilled at what I bought!! 

I can also say that if you click THIS LINK you can enter the Build Your Bundle Giveaway. If you win you get some really cool prizes...

 Even if you don't win.. you will get a coupon good off a Build Your OWN Bundle which means you can pick all the cool BiblioPlan products we have in the sale plus a whole bunch of other cool stuff!!

This is the ONLY bundle sale that lets YOU pick and choose what to purchase!

There are 234 products priced up to $120 that you can choose from. There is even a NO PRICE CAP bundle this year!

AND.... if you buy 2 Build Your OWN Bundles you will get the 3rd one for FREE!

Click here for complete details about the Buy 2 Get 1 FREE offer.

Besides the build your own bundles... there are great packaged bundles.

Charlotte Mason, Early Learning, Character Building, Elementary, Upper Grades, SPECIAL NEEDS, Unit Studies and more and more and more...

There are bundles for everyone... including a fun mystery bundle!! 

So go check it out... enter to win... and get ready for the best sale of the year...

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sometimes You Just Gotta Brag....

I don't brag on my older boys very much even though they make me so proud so much of the time.

But I just need to stop and brag a bit this morning....

Yesterday Elijah was SUPPOSED to walk the aisle and receive an Associates in Computer Science degree with honors but he was a bit busy following the Yellow Brick Road...

He figured being a scarecrow is definitely much more fun than wearing a robe and listening to a bunch of speeches.

Plus, he gets to stick an oil can in his brother's face which is definitely a highlight for him!!

And for Rob and me... to see BOTH OUR SONS on stage is precious!

They blew me away last night with their talented acting and gorgeous voices!

I am just so very very proud of them....

And we are also really proud of Aaron who was also rocking the stage last night as a monkey!! He was adorable! It is definitely his favorite part ever!! Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures to share of him.  I backstage manage so I am dependent upon everyone else taking pictures of my actors!!

If you are in the area, tickets for the shows can be found HERE

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Kind Acts and an Announcement!!

Sometimes silence needs to be broken.

Sometimes a commitment made needs to be set aside for a moment in order to acknowledge the kind acts of others.

This is one of those times.

Sweet friends have been fundraising for us.

Beautiful works of art by a former orphan have been auctioned on behalf of our little girl across the ocean.

An amazing fundraising full of prizes is currently in process. The young lady who is doing the fundraiser truly has a heart of gold.

Donations have been quietly coming in from so many of you that we are just overwhelmed beyond words. 

We are so very grateful for each and every kind act being shown towards us and Mary.

Our little Mary's puzzle is definitely not going to be blank!! 

Though we are not fundraising.... God is providing through all of these kind acts and I need to break my silence and acknowledge them.

Thank you to each and every one who has so lovingly given!!

This morning we found out WE HAVE BEEN APRROVED BY IMMIGRATION!!

Our official approval paper should be here some time next week.

All the rest of our dossier is already in country so all we need to do is get that paper over there and we can be submitted.

Then we just wait for travel dates.

We are projecting travel between August and October!

It's coming fast and we can't wait.

Please keep praying for Mary. For our process.  Pray that mountains lay low and paths remain cleared for this adoption. Pray that our little girl is not transferred from the babyhouse. Pray protection around her heart and that fear will not keep her from family.

CLICK HERE to get to Leah Hardwick's amazing fundraiser

Monday, May 8, 2017

Happy Gotcha Day, John

Two years ago today, May 8, he walked out of the orphanage and into our lives...

Our son.

He was so little!

 He rocked our world!

We love him.

We cherish him.

John Edward Nalle

Happy Gotcha Day!!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Just Consider for a Moment

Here's what I know.... If I don't share about their need - then you can't respond.

So I am sharing again. 

Often we see that the families need thousands and we think that our little measly 5.00 isn't going to make a tiny bit of difference so we throw up our hands and walk away. 

But if everyone who had a measly little 5.00 gave that measly five... then those measly fives begin to add up to a lot more than that. 

I've seen it happen over and over and over again.

All I'm asking is for you to consider just giving 5.00 dollars.  Pick a family and donate 5.00. 

That's all.

At least pray about it.  Pray and consider for a moment what 5.00 feels like to the family.  Consider how 5.00 feels to a family who is scrambling around trying to do this and that and the other to get  ready to cross the ocean... or consider the family sitting over there now - short on funds but trusting that God will provide.  Consider how they feel when they see their grant account jump. Even a tiny jump.  Watch them smile a bit as they realize that someone out there cares enough to give to them.  They are not alone. They are not without support and encouragement. Though they may not know you - though they may never meet you on this side of heaven - they are touched by your kind act.

Do a kind act today.

Find 5.00 in your wallet.

Pick a family and let them know you care.

The Steinhoff's are adopting these two lovies.... They are about $2,200 short of funds. Their grant account needs to read $5,200 to be fully funded.

The Hefner Family  are currently IN COUNTRY and are getting to spend time each day loving on their new lovie!!  Their grant account needs to read $7,000 to be fully funded. They are about 3,600 short.

The Thorp family  and are still $3,500 short of funds and are now in country. Their grant account needs to read $6,500 to be fully funded.

The Thomas family  is still $2,800 short of being fully funded. Their grant account needs to read 6,600 to be funded. They will be flying out this weekend to bring their lovie home for good!

Just 5.00

Thank you!!

P.S. The Hollisters won the chocolate!! 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Don't You Hear His Tapping?

It's Friday. It's beautiful outside. The Lord has been blessing us abundantly with donations for our Mary. I could sit here content and enjoying my first day off in a very long time.

But then I would miss the amazing opportunity of sharing with you about four familes.

Four crazy, what we saw changed our lives, we have room at the table, adoption-loving families who are either across the ocean or packing their bags because they are leaving in a matter of days...

Three families have adopted and adopted again.  Some have adopted and adopted and adopted etc...

In the eyes of the world - they are nuts!!


In the eyes of the One who matters most... they are doing exactly what He has called them to do.

Of course they are not fully funded.

Yet, they are still going.

Trusting. Believing. Relying on the One who has called them.

Four families.

The Steinhoff's are adopting these two lovies.... They have children from every part of the world and have no problem finding room at their table for two more. I love this family!! I've had the privilege of meeting them at the reunions!! They are about $2,200 short of funds. Their grant account needs to read $5,200 to be fully funded.

The Hefner Family is adopting this precious little lovie and I can't wait to see her.  Rob and I had the privilege of spending time with the Hefners on their last adoption. They are the sweetest family in the world!! They are still 5,000 short of being funded but it hasn't stopped them. They are currently IN COUNTRY and are getting to spend time each day loving on their new lovie!!  Their grant account needs to read $7,000 to be fully funded.

The Thorp family had their hearts broken when they brought home two treasures a few years.  It was the kind of heart breaking that is calling them to go back to rescue a sweet girl from a life on the streets.  I haven't had the privilege of meeting the Thorps but they are doing us a great kindness by carrying some of our precious documents across the ocean for us!!  They are leaving on Monday and are still $3,600 short of funds. Their grant account needs to read $6,500 to be fully funded.

The Thomas family is adopting a precious little girl they were able to host last summer. She stole their hearts.  Pure and simple theft.  They have been racing like mad since she left to bring her home for good. Doesn't she fit quite nicely between them??? They are leaving next week!! They are still $3,000 short of being fully funded. Their grant account needs to read 6,600 to be funded.

All four families are responding to the Lord's tapping on their hearts.

God calls some to adopt.

He calls the rest of us to come alongside those families.

He taps on our hearts to give.

On this Friday... will you pick one, two, three or four of these families and give? They are all at the end of the process.  Every single donation - whether five dollars or five hundred - is a gift. Money is not stopping them but it is also a huge huge stress for each of them.

If I didn't share about them... you wouldn't know... now that you know....

Don't you hear the Lord tapping?

And here's a special incentive...

If you give within the next 48 hours - whether five or five hundred - to any or all of the families - let me know because I have a sweet little gift I want to send someone.

Donate and leave a comment either here or on facebook or e-mail me at covenantb@yahoo.com and on Sunday I will pick a name and send this sweet chocolate to one of you!

It's my way of saying thank you.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Aaron's Tower

Aaron's Tower...

Created using his feet and his hands.


John and I traveled to Shriners on Monday for brace adjustments...We went up on Monday and came back early early early Tuesday morning so John could go to school.

Early early early tomorrow morning I'm off to Ohio for the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati. Poor John drew the short straw and is traveling with me. We will be home Sunday afternoon.

On Friday, Rob and Ben are doing the MACHE convention in Frederick, MD and Aaron is going with them. 

Then on Monday morning Rob, Ben, Elijah and I will leave early early early in the morning for Washington DC to get our immigration fingerprints!!  One step closer to Mary...

On Tuesday... I will be face planted on the floor!!! 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Then They Remembered His Words...

What happens when the BIG BROTHERS hide the eggs for the LITTLE BROTHERS??

When they hide the eggs so hard that little brothers can't find them???

Mama and Papa help.

And Gran too.

And all is well!

Fun times at Grans on a beautiful Easter Day!


He is Risen.

Just as He said!


On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” 

Then they remembered his words.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I'm Leaning

When we sat down in January and shared our hearts about adopting a certain little girl... when I laid out my fears and struggles and resistance - my two biggest struggles were the paperwork and the fundraising.

I could not see how in the world I could ever find the energy to do all that paperwork for a third time. I know there are many families who have done the paperwork three, four and beyond times but me... I couldn't do it. It was a mountain I did not want to climb. It was the draining force that kept me from committing in December when I knew Rob was ready to jump. It was the thousand pound weight that kept me from saying yes in January after I read his dedication in our newest book. It was the barrier that had me face planted before the Lord. I didn't want to do the paperwork.

God lifted the weight.  He removed the barrier.  One minute I am praying and fighting like a mad-woman and the next - total peace. It was nothing short of miraculous.  I went from feeling like a weight was drowning me in the ocean to a deep-sense of God's presence and a light-hearted peace that the paperwork was not only doable but easy.  Adoption paperwork is NOT easy, and in reality it hasn't been all that easy, but the entire time we have waded through the bulk of the paperwork, I did it with a peace that passed all my reasoning.  I had one meltdown in a six week period. One time in a six week period I had a stomping fit over a set of papers we had to do. One.  I can guarantee that when I did the other two sets of paperwork that I had way more than one meltdown.  Ask Rob. Ask my sons.

My other barrier and one that was even bigger than the paperwork barrier - I didn't want to fundraise.

It wasn't just that I didn't want to fundraise - it was that I really did NOT want to fundraise. 

When I sat down with Rob and I laid out my fears and struggles and resistance... I told Rob point-blank that I didn't want to fundraise.

I did NOT want to fundraise.

I just did not have it in me.  The thought of asking again for the funds we need to ransom a child was something I just couldn't bear to do again.

He looked me square in the face and said okay.  We don't have to fundraise.  He set me free.  He meant it. I meant it.

We agreed in that moment of our 'Yes' that we would just trust God to provide. If that meant selling everything and anything then okay. We would sell.  If that meant borrowing then okay. We would borrow. 

For us, it meant leaning into the Lord and letting Him carry the financial burden.

The peace that washed over me in that moment is again - beyond words.  I was freed from a burden I didn't want to carry this time.

No letters to friends and families.

No auctions or giveaways.

No active, open fundraising.

I'm not against doing our own private selling of stuff, which we are doing. I'm selling quietly on e-bay and other venues. I'm not against having an RR FSP for donations or a You Caring.

But this time around, we are not actively seeking donations.

This blogpost is it.

I needed to share my heart on this subject because many have asked when I am going to do a giveaway. 

I'm not.

I will gladly and lovingly raise money for other orphans or other families.

I will not be doing that for us.

This is not a backward attempt to get donations.  I am not writing this as a manipulation tactic to raise funds.  I am sharing the very depth of my heart.  This time around we are just leaning into the Lord that He is going to provide.

I KNOW He will provide.

He's already providing. He has graciously allowed us to cover the 7,000 + we have paid out for all of our state-side expenses. Yes. We borrowed for part of it.  And that is OKAY.

He has tapped on hearts and in little acts of kindness - donations have been quietly coming in. I cannot begin to express my gratitude and awe over those quiet acts of love.

He has filled me with a peace that is beyond my understanding.

I'm a doer.

I'm a planner.

I'm experienced in fundraising and I could easily whip myself into a frenzy to get us funded.

I'm the calculator.  The strategist.

This time I'm the leaner. The weary Mama who doesn't want to ask one more time, but who wants her little girl home and is trusting that on every realm - God is going to move the mountain.

I'm leaning.  In His arms.  Trusting and believing.

The peace I have - it's unreal.

For Aaron and John we bought puzzles and wrote on the back of each puzzle, the names of everyone who dropped into our bucket for their adoptions. My dad had both of the puzzles framed and they hang in our living room.

Dad wanted to do a puzzle for Mary. So I did buy a puzzle.


We will write names on the back.  But I will not seek out donations.  Mary's puzzle may not have the mass of names on it that Aaron and John have. That is OKAY.

I'm leaning.

And I'm at peace.

Am I saying fundraising is wrong? Absolutely not!! I guarantee I will be helping fundraise for other families and for orphans in the future. I believe that it is often in fundraising that hearts are moved towards adoption.  I believe that fundraising not only brings relief to a family but brings awareness to the orphan crisis in this world. I believe fundraising allows the church to come alongside those who are stepping out in faith. I believe it is one way we can easily get involved.  Rob and I give whenever we can to families and orphans.  We will continue to give even while we set out to cross the ocean ourselves. 

Responding to the orphan crisis by giving is what God has very often called us to do and we will continue to respond to that calling each time He taps on our hearts.

But this time around we are not going to fundraise for ourselves.

We are leaning.

And I am at peace.

And that is the sweetest feeling in the world.

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland."

Friday, March 31, 2017

A Change in Attitude

I am a lousy sleeper.  When it comes to a hotel room.... lousy sleeping is amplified times ten. When it's your husband's birthday (yesterday) and your son's birthday (Elijah- today) and you are 9 hours away working a convention in Nashville, TN and they are not with you...well...  I'm sitting here at breakfast feeling rather sorry for myself. 

I'm feeling sorry for myself despite having my oldest with me.

I'm feeling sorry for myself despite a safe trip over here yesterday.

I'm feeling sorry for myself despite knowing that sitting on my counter at home is our completed homestudy.

I'm feeling sorry for myself despite knowing that that completed homestudy is making its way to immigration.

I'm feeling sorry for myself despite finding out this week that one of the Threesome Weesome's family was just submitted and will traveling soon to get him out!!

Do you remember my Threesome Weesome??
Well, Chester has a family and soon... soon... soon.. They will cross the ocean and he will know that he is loved best of all!

That leaves Two Weesomes ...

Byron and Joey.


Two wee little guys from John's institute who are waiting for a family to love them too.

While I am sitting here feeling sorry for myself... they are orphans across the ocean with no one racing to get them.  No one is looking at their pictures and whispering prayers over their heads. No one is plowing through the paperwork and pinching their pennies to bring them home.

No one.


Byron and Joey

I have no reason in the world to feel sorry for myself.

No reason at all.

Seeing their pictures this morning has changed my perspective!!

As I go through my day today... I'm going to be whispering prayers over both their heads that God would move in hearts today for these two boys.

As I go through the day today... I'm going to count the amazing blessings I have.  A husband and a son who get to celebrate another birthday. A finished homestudy.  A little girl across the ocean whom we love best of all.  Four sons.  Four amazing, loud, noisy, crazy, food-devouring, messy sons. 

I'm blessed and I am grateful.

I get to spend the day telling people about BiblioPlan. I love sharing about the work of our hands. I get the pleasure of having my oldest son working beside me. I am comforted to know that dad is taking Rob and Elijah and the little boys out for a nice birthday dinner.  There is a little girl across the ocean... I get to whisper prayers over two little boys...

I truly am blessed.

I am very grateful.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Bureaucratic Machine Has Taken Over

We have been waiting all week.

For one lonely piece of paper.

In the entire scheme of things it's pretty insignificant.

We will look back on this moment in time and will remember it is as a moment of frustration but will also be able to observe it with the perspective that only the passing of time gives us.

Each day I have called the office that holds our paper hostage.  No person answers the phone. That would be too easy. Instead I pour my heart into an answering machine. Pleading for mercy to an inanimate object that could care less. Hoping that someone on the other end will push the button and care.

After days of talking to the answering machine I realized I had two choices. I could pray that the person listening on the other end will do something, or I could forget the answering machine and find someone in that building who will answer the phone.

I chose the latter. I went on the website and hunted and looked and finally I found another number. 

This time I got a real live person. Someone who cared. Someone who listened.  Someone who was rather embarrassed that I had been trying for days on end to reach a person in their department.

Within just a few minutes of talking to a real live person I learned that my paperwork had never made it.  I was dead in the water and didn't even realize it. We would have sat and sat and talked to a mindless answering machine for the next century without any response. 

Thankfully, the person on the other end of the phone kindly forwarded me to the person who does clearances.  And in a matter of minutes I was able to send our paperwork directly to her.

And just like that our moment in time has passed. Our home study should be merrily on its way next week to immigration and then we will wait again. And we will pray. And we will go through the frustration that is inevitable when you wait and wonder and wait some more. Because we are at the point in this process when little is in our control anymore.  The bureaucratic machine has taken over. We are at its mercy.

That's why we pray.

And that's why we make nuisances of ourselves by making calls and talking to machines and being persistent.

Because at the end of it all a little one waits.  Her waiting is very different than ours. Her waiting is the quiet, lonely longing of an orphan hoping that someone out there in the entire world would love her best of all.  Her waiting involves the endless days of the life of an orphan. Her waiting is real waiting. Ours sees the end and we anticipate with joy and trembling. Hers is dreary and sad.

We wait and we fight and we make obnoxious telephone calls and we talk to answering machines and we go through every single hoop required of us because we know that our waiting will end her waiting.

And that makes it all worthwhile.

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland."