Sunday, July 31, 2011

We Interrupt This Blog...

....For swimming updates.....

Yes swimming....

The last two days have been filled to the brim and overflowing with swimming and more swimming! 

This son of ours.....


Not only coaches swimming for our swim team....



(Yes, the girls do love him)....


But he too swims.....









This past weekend was the annual 16 team swim meet at the University of Virginia. 

Our little country swim team came in 2nd again this year.

Unlike the other 15 teams in the league, we do not have our own pool but have to borrow two different pools to use for practice and a third pool 40 minutes away for our 'home' meets.

We are a country team and we may not have our own pool but we are mighty!  We are one of the youngest teams in the league but the other teams quake when we step up on the blocks! 

This year, during the regular season, we came within 20 points of unseating the team that has stood at the top of the league for over 20 years.  TWENTY POINTS!!

Despite not having our own pool.  Despite being a country team from the wilds.  Despite little funding and shallow pockets.

Our kids rock and this weekend I thoroughly enjoyed sitting back and watching them swim their hearts out.

And my sweet son Ben was by far my favorite swimmer to watch!!  He had amazing races and he made this Mama very proud!



Friday, July 29, 2011

Fatherless Friday

Little boys... Little girls....

How do I choose?

How do I decide who to feature on this Fatherless Friday?

Do I tell you about Nolan who was just transferred?


He is only a month younger than Aaron.  He is a happy, cooperative, friendly little guy.

He suffered early trauma as a child.  He has flat feet.  He is farsighted.  His has a speech impediment.  He has 'slight mental delay.' 

For this he was transferred.  A Lost Boy.

Or should I remind you that Easton is still waiting....



He is a walking, talking, very smart little boy who happens to have Cerebral Palsy and some eye issues. 

For this he was transferred.  He is only four years old.

And what about Hanson?

Oh Dear Hanson.



I KNOW where he is.  I've seen the outside of his building inside a closed facility.

I know what he is doing every single day of his life.  I know the poverty and the oppression that surround him.  I know that he is desperately lonely.  I know this about Hanson. 

And I know too where Heath is living...




The Forgotten Lost Boy.  The little guy who has to share a wheelchair.  The little guy who sits day after lonely day inside a shed or an empty room.  I've seen his world.  It is not pretty.

Who do I share about this morning?

How can I choose?

These boys or the hundreds more? 

There are so many.  Waiting.  Longing.  Hoping.

I'm having a hard time choosing this morning...

A hard time indeed. 


Psalm 34:17-18 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

IT.IS.FINISHED.

ANCIENTS IS DONE!!



We finally finished writing the Ancient history Companion Textbook for BiblioPlan!!

It is finished.


330 pages long.


It is done.




IN FULL COLOR.



DONE...


I cannot begin to express how it feels to finally say that we have finished ONE YEAR completely.

Book.  Maps.  Timelines. Assignment pages for all ages. Tests and Exams for the oldest students. Answer Keys. Coloring Book. Craft book. 

DONE!



I just can't express the relief we are feeling at this moment. 

It has been a long time coming.

We didn't create BiblioPlan.  It was designed a number of years ago by some teachers at the homeschooling Co-op our boys attend. 

What they originally wrote was a history/literature guide.  It didn't have any bells and whistles.  No maps.  No assignment pages.  No timelines.  No coloring books.  No tests.  No art or family fun ideas.   It was basically an excellent reading guide.

And we loved it.  We did it as a family and we thought it was the best program in the world.  But to get the most out of it, I had to do a lot of intensive work to find maps and timeline figures and other supplemental material to make the history element more than just reading the text. 

Then I was hired to teach at our Co-op.

A Hands-on Medieval history class.

Yikes. 

I had access to the previous teacher's notes for which I was extremely grateful (she was one of the original writers of BiblioPlan) but I also looked everywhere for resources to use.  There just wasn't anything out there that I liked.

Nobody was writing Homeschooling History curriculum for Co-ops!

So I started making my own maps, question pages and timeline figures.  I used BiblioPlan as my guide for teaching the class, but I had to tweak it to fit my Co-op classes.  I spent hours and hours and hours putting together a curriculum that I liked. 

It was challenging, but fun.  I had no dreams of doing anymore more than just teaching history to a few kids each year at a Co-op.

I certainly never thought I would be writing a history book.  Never in my wildest imaginings did I consider writing a history book as part of my life's aspirations.

I did want to write a book though.  My desire was to write a book on the Old Testament law.  Seriously.  I graduated from seminary years ago.  While I was there I gained a profound love for the Old Testament. After I graduated, I wanted to write a book on the beauty of the law that God gave to Moses.  I started that project, but children and life took over, and I set my notes aside.  They are still in a box in our house somewhere gathering dust. 

But writing a history book? Not on my radar.
However, one of my students in that first Medieval hands-on history class was the son of another teacher, Rusty Gorby, who had just bought the BiblioPlan business from the original writers.

And as I taught Rusty's son, she realized that what I was doing with BiblioPlan was exactly what she needed to take that curriculum to the next level.

And that is how we became a partnership.  Our families began to work together to take a wonderful program and make it better.  Rob and I focused on the history, and Rusty focused on the literature and on running the business.

And our families have grown in love and admiration for each other as we seek to honor God in all that we do.

It has been difficult, exhausting and extremely time consuming.

BiblioPlan is a four-year history/literature/geography/art/writing/Bible/church history curriculum. The four years cover Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern and Modern history. Our program is designed to allow all of the children in the family to study the same topics of history, geography and Bible at the same time, while also providing each child with age-appropriate history and literature readings.

I have taught all four years of the program more than once now.  As I have taught, we have been building and creating the curriculum.  We have written, created and changed; then we have written some more and changed some more; then we have listened to customers who have used it and acted on their suggestions; and now finally, finally, ANCIENT HISTORY is done.

It is finished.

Our names are on the book:



Rob and Julia Nalle. 

I'm proud to stand beside my husband on this project.  God graced us both with complementary gifts that have allowed us to work together on this project with little conflict and a great deal of love.  My love for children, teaching, research, and the Bible. His knowledge of history and skill with words and research.
God is good.

And in this particular book, which covers a lot of Biblical history, I was able to give glimpses here and there of my great love for the Old Testament and the Old Testament law.

This is my favorite book of the four, by far.

I'm just sayin'.

And the coolest part of this book, the page that I like the very most, is this one: 



Brings tears to my eyes.

But alas, we are not done.  We have three more books to go, so I can only shout Hurrah! for a few minutes.  We have another huge deadline to meet, because we're still planning to release the final version of the fourth year, MODERN history, by the end of August.

So stay tuned.....

For more BIBLIOPLAN!!

And while you are waiting, if you like, please go order yourself a copy of our new book.  It is currently selling on our website for $50 (discounted from the sticker price of $59.95). Even if you aren't using BiblioPlan, this book is honestly a great Ancient History/Bible resource for everyone in your family, and it  fits beautifully with other history programs!  Is it perfect?  No.  Does it have some mistakes?  Most likely.  We are human. 

If you have a Kindle or other fancy type reader then you can purchase our book as an e-reader. 

P.S.: Because we are now ordering bundles of professionally printed copies of our Ancients materials, they may take a couple of weeks to arrive. Right now we have a limited amount of copies of the new book available to ship out right away, and more are on the way.  We will order even more when we (hopefully) need more.

Direct link to buy the Ancients book alone:  ANCIENTS HARDCOPY COMPANION

Link to buy all Ancient products:  ANCIENT PRODUCTS

BIBLIOPLAN LINK

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tears and More Tears

Guess who has a family?



God is good.

He is so good.

One tiny little wheelchair bound boy who just lost his Mama is soon going to get another one.  And a Papa too. 

How unbelieveably sweet is that?

God is good.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cleared!!!

THE WARNERS ARE COMING HOME!!

THANK YOU FOR PRAYING.

THANK YOU!

THEY ARE BOARDING A PLANE AND COMING HOME!!

The Doctor said Joshua is free and clear to go!!!

THANK YOU JESUS.  THANK YOU!!

Please keep them in your prayers as they journey over the next few weeks.  They come home to much grief and sorrow.  Pray for them.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Night

Sunday night and I am coming to you to ask you to remember in prayer two families.  Both of these families I have shared about before. 

Dave and Lisa Warner have been stuck in Ki*v for the last 10 days because of the possibility that their son has TB. 


After getting that news, they then found out Lisa's sister had tragically died.  Stuck across the ocean, their grief is just plain beyond words.  Tomorrow, Dear Friends, tomorrow, they are taking their little guy to get another chest X-ray.  THAT X-RAY NEEDS TO BE CLEAR.  It just plain needs to show clean and healthy lungs so this family can travel home on Tuesday and grieve their loss together.  Please pray.  Please lift this family up TONIGHT before the throne that Joshua's X-rays pass all the tests and they can come home.  Where they belong.  Their blog is HERE

The other family is the Goodmans and their Sweet Caroline who is not currently on the special needs list and so right now cannot be adopted. 


Her heart is in terrible condition and she needs surgery.  Her options for surgery over there are not good.  The whole situation is mixed up and hard.  The link to their blog is HERE.  Please pray for this little one - this family - this entire situation.  It is beyond difficult to put any of it into words.  The love the Goodmans have for this little girl across the ocean may seem crazy to some until you have walked in their shoes.  To those who have adopted, their crazy love is not hard to understand at all.  It is what drives so many to willingly give up everything to bring their little one home.  It is a window into the Love of God for us.  A crazy, sacrificial love.  Please stand with them as they pray for their sweet little girl that God would protect her during this time.

All I Want For Christmas....


All I want for Christmas....


All I want for Christmas....



Is my two front teeth!!!



Love, Aaron

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Outpouring

I wrote two days ago that I AM JUST ONE PERSON but that I am not alone.  I wrote that after watching people rally around a little Lost Girl across the ocean.  This morning I have to say it again.  I am just one person but I am most certainly NOT ALONE.  The outpouring of love for the Parker family has blown me away.  In less than a day the Parker Chipin went from 0 dollars to $2,760.00.  Unbelievable.  This means that Charley can now take some time off from work and be WITH his littlest son.  Your outpouring of love has granted the family PRECIOUS TIME together.  Your gifts have helped ease the grief that this family is going through as they journey to say goodbye.  Words are not enough to say thank you for responding.  The Chipin is still open for those of you who would like to still contribute - You can access it HERE.  Every single nickel helps ease a bit of the suffering this family is going through.  Please keep lifting them up in your prayers as they walk in this valley. 

Thank you too for sharing across facebook and in your blogs about Patrick.  I know there is room at someone's table for a tiny little boy who is missing his Mama.  For those who have wondered - Patrick has Arthrogryposis like Aaron.  His arms and hands do not look affected, but his legs are.  He gets around using a wheelchair.   I'm not an expert but I am pretty sure that Aaron's doctor in Philly (at Shriners) would not write off Patrick's walking chances!!!



And for all you Aaron fans....

Yesterday he did another FIRST.  He went swimming in a Lake and LOVED it!  I didn't take my camera (bang my head against the wall) but a dear friend took some pictures so I am sharing those here for your viewing pleasure...











If you look closely in the last picture you can see that Aaron is kicking his feet. 

That is NOT trivial.  In order to kick, Aaron has to balance on his arms which is very hard for him to do.  He lay there in the water and worked and worked to get both his feet kicking at the same time.  It was a huge accomplishment when he was finally able to get them both working.   He's an amazing kid and I am blessed to call him son!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Not Abandoned

I have two focuses for this Friday.  Both are heartwrenching and hard. 

Yesterday I received an e-mail that open the floodgates that hold back my tears.  I haven't recovered.  I am still leaking tears as I write this post.  This story pierced my heart, and I don't know when I'll get over it.

Six years ago,  a Mama across the ocean gave birth to a little boy. His little body was twisted and contorted, and the doctors and nurses whispered in her ears, urging her to give him up: "He will never walk."  "He will be a burden."  "You cannot afford to keep him."  "He will be better off hidden away." "He should not have been born."    She was in an unforgiving world where broken children are tossed aside on a regular basis.

Despite all of this, her mother's heart would not allow her to let him go. Against the advice of all of those worldly-wise whisperers, she decided to keep him.  She carried her beloved little boy with the contorted body home, where she cared for him and loved on him.  She tenderly worked his arms and his legs.  She nursed him and washed him. It was hard. We don't know if she had support.  We know that finding work while maintaining a disabled child at home in that world is next to impossible. Somehow, though, mother and son survived together in this way for six years.

Back in January 2011, financial strain and her own health problems forced this Mama to take her son to live in a baby house orphanage. She chose the best one she could find, one where the staff was willing to work with special needs kids like her son.  She wanted to find a job and a home nearby so that she could visit her precious treasure. Evey time she walked through the door, his face lit up: his Mama was back.  Her love carried him through the loneliness of the baby house and kept him going.  He loved his Mama and she loved him. 

A few months later, though, Mama suddenly stopped coming. Her little boy longed for her and waited for her; but no matter how hard he wished for her, she no longer appeared. 

Her absence wasn't by choice. Unknown to the little boy, his Mama had died of cancer in March.

Now he is all alone in the orphanage, with no one to visit him, for the first time in his six years of life. He refuses to believe the caretakers who tell him that she is never coming back. Each day, he continues to look for her.  He scans the face of everyone who walks into the building, looking for a Mama who can never return to him.

A little boy who was tenderly loved for 6 years, suddenly orphaned.




He needs a Mama. 

He desperately needs a  Mama.

He will not be allowed to stay at his good baby house orphanage.  Because he is wheelchair bound, he will be transferred to an institution for older children with special needs, just as Aaron was transferred. 



I can't bear the thought.

His Reece's Rainbow name is Patrick and he needs a Mama.

He needs to grieve in the arms of a Mama who will help him overcome his great loss.  He needs a family who can restore for him the joy of being loved and held and cherished. 

I would get him if I could.  I would cross that ocean and bring him home if the road was clear for us.  But it is not.  And so I am crying out for someone else to go get him.  He needs a family.

My heart grieves deep within me for this one little boy.

Please please please post on your blogs about this little guy.  Please, someone go get him. 

Little boys are not supposed to have to say goodbye to their Mamas when they are only six years old.

*****

Just like Mamas are not supposed to have to say goodbye to their sons when they are only five years old.



But that is what is happening in my other story.

A Reece's Rainbow family is getting ready to say goodbye to their son. 



We met this family last year across the ocean. While we were bringing home Aaron, they were bringing home  two little girls with Down Syndrome. 

Hannah and Bethany.



Hannah came home and began to thrive immediately.  Bethany's story was different: her health was fragile. Over the last nine months, she has been hospitalized multiple times, for a long list of reasons.

While the Parkers were dealing with Bethany's litany of issues, their youngest son, also became gravely ill.  He, too, had a  long list of health problems, but his health was fairly stable until they brought the girls home. Then Joshua took a turn for the worse, and the family has been forced to watch their little boy go downhill fast.  

Sadly, the doctors have no more help to offer.  Joshua is approaching the end.  His little body is wearing out, and his doctors now speak of pain management instead of cure. Joshua will be going into hospice care very soon.
I'm writing this because the Parker family just plain needs help. 

Fathers shouldn't have to say goodbye to their five year olds.



But that is what is happening. 

In a short time they are going to have to say goodbye to their precious little guy.

The family needs help right now, and I am asking you to dig deep for them.  By praying, encouraging and giving.

Some friends and I have created a blog to make it easy to GIVE and to SHARE their story.

Please donate, and please pass their blog around on your blogs and FB.

You can access their blog HERE.  Please lift this family up in your prayers.

They are going through a dark valley and desperately need to know we are there for them.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Am Just One Person

I'm just one person.  I can't do much on my own.  I have little money and little resources and I am just one person.  What can I do?  I see injustice, poverty, depravity, a world caught in sin and strife.  What can I do?  I am just one person.  I am just one person.

I might as well throw in the towel.  Anything I have to offer is equivelent to tossing a feather into the wind.  What difference will I make with my measly donations here and there and my tiny voice hollering?   How can I make a difference when I am bound to my place by responsibilities and family?  I might as will turn my back and go about my days in my safe corner of the world, protecting my children and living my life so that I am not tainted by the poison of the world.  I am just one person and there is no way I matter much in the great scheme of things.  I am just one person.

But, I am just one person who CAN give 10.00 to a little girl in a far away country.  And I CAN share her story with someone else or two or three.  Maybe not much in the great scheme of things, but I can do THAT MUCH.  And as one person I can watch God move and act in the hearts of the one or two or three that I told and I can watch each of those people give and share the story to other people and in a matter of less than a week I can watch a tiny little forgotten girl's RR account go from $300.00 a week ago (SEE POST HERE) to over 20,000.00 as of this morning. 




I am just one person but I serve a MIGHTY GOD who again and again reminds me that all I need to do is offer my little meager bits of this and that which on their own matter little and add up to even less.  Yet He can take and use what I offer - pitiful crumbs- and He can multiply it beyond what I can ever ask or imagine.  It is HIS WORK and HIS WORK alone.  It is NOT by our might or wisdom or strategy or power.  It is God's work.  It is tiny offerings here and tiny offerings there gathered together by the Loving, Tender hands of God who takes those paltry sums and turns them into grand masterpieces.

I am just one person and I can't do much.  If I do nothing then I have more to keep for myself.  I can go about my life, safe, protected.  Or I can take my meager, pitiful offerings and hand them over to God who multiplies loaves and fishes on a daily basis. 

I am just one person.  But I am not alone.  And as my dear friend Adeye who started yelling a few days after I did for a little forgotten girl across the ocean so aptly put it:  ASLAN IS ON THE MOVE!  I am just one person but I am not alone.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stuck

Across the ocean there is a family who is stuck.  Stuck in the capital city. 

Dave and Lisa Warner's Gotcha day was LAST WEDNESDAY and they were just doing the final no-brainer steps so they could bring their newest treasure, Joshua, home on Friday.



But their little guy was sick when they brought him out of the orphanage.  He had a fever, cough, congestion.  And he had to pass a physical before he could leave the country.  It is a physical that rarely ever means anything.  Except this time.  The doctor listened to his chest and ordered a chest X-ray.  The X-ray indicated that he possibly had pneumonia.  It also indicated that he possibly had TB. 

Chances are he only has pneumonia but the possibility that he has TB has changed the landscape for this family.  A child with untreated TB CANNOT leave the country. 

In the midst of this disastrous situation, Lisa's sister died.  Did you catch that?  Her sister died.  They are across the ocean, stuck, and in a state of total shock and grief.

Please dear friends - lift this family up in your prayers.  Pray for Joshua.  Pray for Lisa and Dave and the rest of their family.  Please pray.  And please help them financially.  They are in a desperate situation.  You can follow their story HERE and link to their Reece's Rainbow family sponsorship page HERE.  Their account will remain open until this situation is resolved.  Please go leave the Warner's encouraging words, prayers, verses today.  And please consider making a donation to help them out.  But most of all - please pray that all would be resolved and they would be able to come home. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's In The Waiting

In our hurry-it-up, gotta-get-it-done, fast-moving world, waiting is the last thing we want to do.  No one likes to wait.  We want things when we want them, and we often display little patience when things fail to happen according to our timetables.

Frustratingly enough, waiting is a big part of the adoption world. Adoptive families hurry to fill out dozens of forms and rush here and there to get them all approved; but after they're all done, they sit and wait. And wait. And wait some more. And just when they think that they should be finished with all of the waiting, they find out that they must wait even longer than they thought.

And then adoptive families are forced to drop to their knees, beseeching God to help them move the mountains that stand in the way of getting their precious treasures home where they belong.
Rare is the adoption that moves at a brisk pace from beginning to end. The vast majority of them plod along at a nail-biting snail's pace.

But it is often in the waiting that God does His greatest work.

And for some reason, those adoptions that are especially hard-- those that drag on for a ridiculous amount of time, or that seem to encounter obstacles at every turn-- are the very ones that demonstrate how the mighty hand of God is at work. Those are the ones that show how God is not only rescuing Lost children, but also breaking down barriers and strongholds so that He can shine His light in the dark places where societies hide their unwanted children.

We have seen this not only in our adoption, but in several others as well.

We are seeing it again this week, with some friends who are trying to bring two children home from a country in Africa.  They are encountering an endless number of roadblocks; yet as they round each corner, they are seeing God's mighty hand moving in ways that go far beyond what they have imagined.  It is in their waiting that God is doing a marvelous work.  It is in their waiting and praying and crying out that God is answering prayers-- not only theirs, but also those of many others who desperately need HIM.

It is in their waiting that they are seeing that God is doing a NEW THING in the hearts and minds of the people in the village where their children were born.  It is in their waiting and praying and crying out that they are seeing God's true desire, which is for everyone in that village to know HIM.  It is in their waiting that they receive the pleasure of seeing God drawing hearts towards Him.  It is in the waiting.

To God, adoption  is more than just bringing children into families.  It is also redemption.  It is also relationship.  And it is in the waiting that God often does His greatest work.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Not Disappeared...

.... just in a bit over our heads with BiblioPlan...

Would definitely appreciate some prayers as we are under two huge deadlines and we are both weary beyond words!!

I know all of you Aaron fans are upset so... I'll just have to tide you over with some pictures of Aaron's first Fourth of July!  We do an annual Nalle family get-together...Food, Water Guns/Buckets and Fireworks are all part of our day. 





Uh Oh...


Not quite sure who won that round!!


Not allowed to shoot the photographer!!




Stinker!


Watching fireworks on Mama's lap...


Aaron's cousins watching fireworks from the safety of Gran's living room!!


Look what I can do!!