Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Most Precious Gift

 
Two years ago we were begging for a family for this sweet girl..
 
 
Two years later... last Sunday... she was given a most precious gift from her Mama.
 

A most precious gift!


 
A most precious gift indeed.









The Harper now belongs to a girl I love deeply.
 
 

Ira Deutsch and the creator of The Harper - Tonia Mayhew.


 
 
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
Psalm 139:14
 
Tears of joy.
 
Tears of joy.
 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I Know One Little Girl...


I know there is one little girl out there..
 


 
Who is going to have the same blessing this little guy has been given...
 
 
A Papa who drops everything to read a book...
 

 
And play games with him.
 
 
She is going to be one very blessed little girl!
 
Her Papa is the best!
 
 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Traveling Soon...

 
 Check this out... the puzzle has just about disappeared!!
 
Only our state bird and Harper's state flower are left!
 
 
On Sunday church was cancelled as well as Elijah's Aladdin show..
 
Which meant we had a day to just kick back and relax and rest and do NOTHING.
 
 
Okay. It isn't in either of our natures to actually do NOTHING. 
 
 
Instead I spent several enjoyable hours writing names on Harper's puzzle.
 
 
How utterly cool is that?
 
 
Writing the names of so so many kind people.
 
 
What a blessed way to spend a Sunday!
 
 
 This morning the phone rang.
 
We have travel dates.
 
Travel dates right on top of coming home from the South Carolina convention and the same week as the Tennessee convention.  Both conventions where I am scheduled to speak.  There was no possible way for me to get home from SC and get on a plane.  There were not enough hours in the day to be at two places at the same time.
 
So...
 
After talking and considering we made the decision to request new travel dates.  It means turning down our first referral (you are given three) and it means we won't travel until the end of March, but we are at peace with the decision.
 
My stress level just decreased considerably. 
 
We won't know exactly when we will travel for a week or so but we now have a general idea.  That helps tremendously in planning.
 
End of March. 
 
Hurrah!!
 
 
 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Winners Winners!!

Drumroll please....  Names have been drawn and the winners are below!!
 
 Thank you Thank you to EVERYONE who donated!!

This giveaway generated over $3,500.00!!!!!!!
 
1.  ASUS MeMO Pad 8 ME181C-A1-BK 8-Inch 16 GB Tablet (Black) - NEW... Value $187.00
(donated by the Nalles, Hartmans and Drakes)

WINNER - MICHELLE STEVENS

2.  A working Train Track created by Harper's soon to be Granddad!! Value $100.00

WINNER - SUE HOLLISTER


It comes complete with the following parts:

Diesel Engine (Life-like) Sante Fe 3500
2 Freight Box Cars
1 Tanker Car
2 Hopper Cars
1 Caboose


Power Transformer (Life Like)


1 straight track
1 power point straight track
2 short straight track
8 curved track - H4505A
3 curved track - H4506A
2 black curved track
1 curved track
 

3.  A sweet Matryoshka Set - 10 pieces
Value $35.00
(Donated by Melanie Hartman)

WINNER - TONIA MAYHEW
 
The tallest piece is 5 1/2" tall... All 10 pieces have the same painted flower pattern on them!!  Very sweet!
 

 4.  An Aaron Shirt - Sized Medium Black - Child's

New!!

WINNER - CHRYSTAL ANDERS
 

 
Winners - E-mail me - covenantb@yahoo.com!!!
 


 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Last Call!!



THE GIVEAWAY ENDS TODAY!!  TONIGHT!!
 
You have one last day to get your name in....

In case you happened to forget who we are cross the ocean to bring home... here are our three sweet treasures...

Harper for the Nalles

  
 
Pearson for the Drakes
 
30520132428

Grady for the Hartmans



Here's what you can win...
 
 
1.  ASUS MeMO Pad 8 ME181C-A1-BK 8-Inch 16 GB Tablet (Black) - NEW... Value $187.00
(donated by the Nalles, Hartmans and Drakes)

 

2.  A working Train Track created by Harper's soon to be Granddad!! Value $100.00
 
 
 

3.  A sweet Matryoshka Set - 10 pieces
Value $35.00
(Donated by Melanie Hartman)
 
 
 4.  An Aaron Shirt - Sized Medium Black - Child's
 
 
 
 

THIS GIVEAWAY WILL END TOMORROW (February 21)
 



 
 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Ridiculous!

 
So you want to know what we made on our Orphans Treasures Auction???
 
Blow me away...
 
When I first decided to do it I set a RIDICULOUS goal. I didn't share it with too many people.   It was ridiculous. I've seen other on-line auctions before and I knew what the normal average for an auction would be and my goal was way beyond that average.
 
Plus, we didn't have world-changing auction items for us to reach my ridiculous goal.
 
 
But we have a BIG bill coming as soon as we get travel dates.  A $2,000 dollar bill to the agency that provided Hague oversight to our adoption.  It comes due the day we get our dates. 
 
We can credit card our airline tickets and a bunch of other expenses but we sure didn't want to credit card that bill.
 
So I set a ridiculous goal for our auction because I wanted to cover that $2,000.00 bill.
 
With three families benefitting in our auction... we needed to raise $6,000.00 in order for us to cover that bill.
 
Ridiculous
 
A $6,000.00 auction.
 
I mean I've been to real auctions on farms and at estates and many of them haven't generated $6,000.00 much less an on-line auction!!
 
Ridiculous!!
 
But...
 
Whispered prayers. A TON of work.  Hours and hours and hours of putting it together.  Kind people.  So so so many kind people.  A Loving God.
 
$5,985.32
 
That's how much our auction made.
 
WOW!! WOW!! WOW!!
 
We were 14.68 short of $6,000!! Is that not totally ridiculous???? 
 
Does that not make you want to laugh out loud??
 
Between the kindness of so so many people and the answered prayers of a Loving God, we can pay that $2,000 bill!
 
Plus... we still have a Giveaway going on. I didn't include Giveaway donations into that $6,000 total.
 
God so so good!
 
All of you who have poured into helping bring three orphans home are so so kind!!
 
Thank You!!
 
THE GIVEAWAY ENDS TOMORROW...
 
 



 
 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Digging Out


We are digging out around here...
 
Snowstorm digging out....
 
Auction digging out...
 
House preparation digging out...
 
We are just having a jolly good time digging out!!

If you won something in our auction, you should have received an e-mail from me with your total and the link to pay.
 
If you have already paid- THANK YOU!!
 
If you haven't paid yet please do so as soon as possible. I'm in the middle of packaging up all the items won that are here at our house and I would LOVE to send them off on their merry way to YOUR house! 
 
If you didn't receive an invoice... check your spam.  If you still didn't receive an invoice then e-mail me at covenantb@yahoo.com
 
We are still waiting on travel dates. 
 
Praying we get them soon.
 
 
 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Figuring out the Bids



THE ORPHANS TREASURES AUCTION HAS ENDED!!
 
I'M FIGURING OUT BIDS...
 
Please note:
 
The auction ended at 12:00 midnight EST so any bids from 12:01 and beyond will not be counted....  The comments were supposed to be shut off at 12:01 (21:00). So even though people could bid for a few minutes last night beyond 12:00, I am only accepting bids up to 12:00 (20:59).  
 
Please be patient... Please wait to pay until you receive a total from me!!
 
I flew in last night at 12:40 am and arrived home at 4:30 am...  The flight was rather bumpy due to high winds and I had to drive home on icy snowy roads for part of my trip. I'm a wee bit exhausted today.  Okay.  Not really. I'M TOTALLY EXHAUSTED!
 
But the convention was great, I'm home and God is good.
 
So hang on to your hats and I'll get info out to the winners as fast as I can.
 
 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine Ending

 
 
LAST DAY LAST DAY LAST DAY LAST DAY!!!
 
The AUCTION ends tonight!
 
Please go bid!!!
 
Please!!
 
On this Valentine's day...  Please show some love to three Treasures...
 
 
Let's make this Valentine Ending BIG!!
 
We currently have raised $4649.00 in our auction!! 
 
P.S.  - If you are bidding but have not registered with me - your bids, sadly, will not count.  You MUST send me an e-mail with name, address and e-mail so that I know who you are and I can contact you after the bidding ends tonight at midnight.  PLEASE don't make me remove bids!!!  My e-mail is covenantb@yahoo.com.  It only takes a minute!  Also... If your user id is different from your name PLEASE let me know because there are some user ids that I do not recognize and I am unable to match with registered bidders.  Unfortunately, if I can't figure out who the user id belongs to I will have to remove those bids.  If you already let me know your user id then you are FINE!!
 
 
 
The Giveaway ends February 21st!!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Two Days Left!!

 
I'm in TEXAS!!!
 
It's a bit crazy at this convention - last night there were police cars everywhere.  We couldn't figure out why until we realized that Glenn Beck was here at the convention.  On Saturday night Ben Carson will be speaking so I'm anticipating that it will be even crazier.  I have to leave for the airport about the same time he will be speaking.  Oh My!!
 
ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT ON OUR AUCTION!!
 
Go bid if you haven't bid.  Go defend your bids if you have been outbid. 
 
PLEASE!!
 
I can't do more than write this blogpost for our auction.  I will be barely able to even see if anyone has bid on anything today or tomorrow.  So please go... bid... support... 
 
Three orphans need to come home!!
 
 
We are hoping to travel soon although we are still waiting for travel dates.
 
 
 
Addition to this post...

Oh PLEASE pray for the Jones family...


Xavier went to be with Jesus last night.  I just found out.  Please pray for them.  They were not ready...

 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Black and White Striped Bag

 
 
Well Bless My Socks right OFF my feet!!
 
On Monday I was coming into the church building where I teach (homeschooling classes) when these two beautiful young ladies accosted me.
 
 
 
They had something they wanted to give me.  A little black and white striped bag.  They were both so so excited!
 
Inside the bag was a baggie full of homemade rubber band bracelets, a card and $140.00.
 
The younger sister (FILA shirt) had made the bracelets and sold them to her classmates at school to raise money for Harper.  I don't teach her. I don't believe I have ever met her before.  But she was selling bracelet for my little girlie!  Her parents told her they would match whatever she made.  She made $50.00 selling bracelets for Harper.  They were shocked. They kept their part of the bargain!  The older sister who I do teach put $40.00 of her own money into the bag. Wow!!  Wow!!
 
Yeah.  They blessed me.
 
A lot!
 
The extra bands they gave me....  We are going to give them to Harper and the other girls in her groupa.  I cannot wait!! I just cannot wait!!
 
The auction is still going strong!! 
 
THANK YOU THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO IS BIDDING AND GIVING!!
 
 
CLICK HERE TO GET TO OUR ORPHANS TREASURES AUCTION AND GIVEAWAY

P.S.  We are STILL waiting on travel dates!  I leave for Forth Worth, Texas early in the morning for the Great Homeschool Convention.  If you are there... PLEASE stop by my booth and give me a hug.  If I seem a bit distracted and unable to speak in coherent sentences.... forgive me.  Adoption has turned me into a bit of a mush brain right now!



 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Decorated Sheds

Sheds.
 
They dot the American landscape.
 

 
 
 
You find them behind houses, attached to garages, tucked away in woods. Churches use them. Schools. Businesses.  Parks.
 
They keep firewood dry. They house lawn mowers, tractors and garden tools.  They are transformed into workshops. They provide extra storage for a family's treasures.  They contain bikes and recreational equipment. They can even become a child's playhouse.  Their uses are endless.
 
 
Sheds.
 
Useful for storage, work or play.
 
I've written this post in my head a thousand trillion times since December 2013, when I crossed the ocean to visit our Lost Boys.
 
But I've never been able to get the words to come together in any kind of a coherent pattern.

Four years ago we said goodbye to the iron gates of Aaron's former institution.

Four years later, the boys who remain locked behind those gates continue to haunt me.  110 Lost Boys hidden away in a facility that, for all intents and purposes, remains closed to the outside world.

Last year I walked back through those iron gates. 

The cold was bitter on the day my driver/translator and I made the three-hour trip to Aaron's former home-- in a car with a broken heater.  We were chilled down to the very marrow of our bones. But the joy of returning helped keep the cold at bay.  
 
  


I was doing what I had never thought possible: I was walking back into that closed institute, and I was being welcomed by the director herself.

Given her attitude when we left there four years before, my reception seemed surreal.

She allowed me to visit with 25 of the highest-functioning boys. For about 45 minutes, I watched them take part in a celebration for children with mental and physical disabilities. They held a puppet show, played games and danced. Each boy also received gifts, including the ones I brought-- one matchbox car each from a collection donated by our friends back home.

The irony of that celebration was not lost on me. 

Although the director was nervous about my camera, she did allow me to snap a few pictures.  It was so hard to restrain myself, with 25 boys in that room.

Many of the boys had been in Aaron's group.



Many we had watched and loved from afar for the six weeks we were there.
 
 
So many memories.
 
 
Even four years later, these few pictures still bring tears to my eyes. 

 
Each one precious. Precious.
 
 
After showing me the boys, the director showed me the grounds.
 
 
 
The landscaping had changed quite a bit in four years. The caretakers had added animal sculptures made of painted tires, placing them in the flower beds throughout the grounds.
 
 
 
Instead of the barren, empty grounds from four years ago, now swans, giraffes and crocodiles dotted the landscape.
 
 
The broken walkways that had tripped Aaron so many times had been repaired.
 
 
 
But landscaping and walkways weren't the best of what the director had to show me. Her proudest achievement was the improvements to the sheds.
 
These sheds.
 
 
Sheds used not for storage, but for boys. Storage sheds for boys.
 
Sheds that formed the backdrop for the six weeks we spent there with Aaron. 
 
 
To us, those sheds have become a potent symbol of what Aaron left behind-- the miserable life he would have lived if God hadn't tapped on our hearts with the message that he needed us.
 
Sheds where boys sit all day, when the weather is warm enough. With no toys and no books, only benches and dirty rugs. With no words and no music, only the muffled sounds of unseen vehicles passing by outside. Where boys do nothing but stare into space all day. Crying when they're upset, although no one listens. Hitting themselves when they're angry, although no one cares. 20 boys to a shed, spending all day, every day confined to the sort of facility we reserve for tools and firewood.
 
The director wanted me to see the great improvements they had made to their sheds. 
  

Each one had been transformed on the outside. The drab, blank outside walls had been replaced with happy scenes of animals and people.

 
 
One of the caretakers had spent a lot of time and effort painting those sheds.
 

 
She showed me almost all of them. Some newly built, and some of the same old ones that haunted our memories. 
 
 
She didn't mind my taking pictures of the sheds. In this case, pictures were good. Pictures showed how much they had done to brighten up the landscape.
 
I was glad to see the painted sheds, and glad for the freedom to take pictures. 
 
But deep in my heart I ached. Ah, those sheds!
 
 
With their bright, cheerful paint on the outside-- there to impress visitors like me, to convince us that this is a good, caring institution. 
 
And they DO care. They do care for the boys. 
 
Aaron was not starving when we adopted him. He was fed, clothed and in decent shape. His caretakers had done what they could for him.
 
Knowing this, I smiled as I snapped these pictures, nodding in admiration of her decorated sheds.
 
But as I nodded, my heart ached.
 
Because inside the sheds, where the boys sit day by day, there is no paint.  The walls are still bare of anything but rude benches. The floors still bare of anything but dirty rugs.
 
So day after endless day, the boys inside continue to stare at blank walls.  Because the paint is for those outside, not inside. 
 
Decorated on the outside, but still empty on the inside.
 
Well-decorated sheds.
 
 
I agree that painted sheds are better than the drab, unpainted sheds of Aaron's past.

 
 
And I absolutely agree that they care for the boys, and give them as much as they can. Unfortunately, theirs is a poor institution set in the middle of nowhere. What little money they have must be spent on bare necessities. They are also understaffed, with only about 2 caretakers for every 20 boys. Confining the boys to sheds allows one caretaker to watch over them while the other attends to cleaning and other duties.
 
Painting the sheds is their way to make it better.  Happier. 
 
But the mindless life inside those sheds marches on. The paint provides no relief from the nothingness of their lives.  Neither do the decorated sculptures, which sit in gardens where the boys rarely go.
 
I have written this post a million trillion times in my head since December 2013.
 
I have struggled with knowing how to convey the joy of being there with the ache that I carried out of those iron gates.
 
I only saw 25 boys.  25 boys out of 110.  Out of the four boys listed on Reece's Rainbow I only was able to see Grady. Frail, tender, sweet Grady.  Pearson, Dagmar and Porter were hidden from me. 
 
I was so close but so far away.
 
At one point in our tour we were standing outside the laying down building. The untouchable building.  Filled with boys who never mingle with the general population.  I stood with the director outside the laying down building and admired the newly built shed in front of it. While we stood outside in the bitter-cold, well over 40 boys lay inside those walls. Alone. Lonely. Was Porter inside there?  I wanted so badly to ask her to let me go in.  Love on the boys.  See them too.
 
  Thirty minutes later I sat in her office eating lunch and while we talked I watched the 40 boys we weren't allowed to see making their way to lunch. I KNEW many of those boys.  How many hours had Rob and I watched those boys make their journey to the eating shed.  Pearson was in that group. Dagmar.  I wanted to be brave. I wanted to be bold.  I wanted to beg her to let me see them too.  We knew so many of them. But I sat quiet. Too timid.  To afraid to ruin the pleasant moments we were having.
 
The boys I didn't see makes writing this post gut-wrenching. 
 
Much has changed there, and yet nothing has changed.
 
The closed iron gates are still closed.
 
The ministry team has been turned away many more times than they have been allowed in. 
 
The boys still sit in a world of nothing inside decorated sheds and colorful walkways.
 
Four years later only three of those boys have a chance to get out. 
 
The other 107 boys will spend the rest of their time there sitting inside decorated sheds or laying in the laying down rooms.  Many will die there.  The rest will be transferred out to an adult facility where they will live until they die.
 
Grady has hope.
 
He has hope and a future.  His family has been moving mountains to get him out of those sheds and into the world of the living.
 
Please support them so that their financial burden is eased!!  They are not fully funded yet!!
 
 .
 
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
 
 
 
 

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