Thursday, December 24, 2009

Disney Vacation

We feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to spend a week at Disneyworld. It was a wonderful time for the entire family. Being Jett's first time, we were all eager to see how he would react to the characters and the was everything we hoped for and more.

First, we discovered that there was a cheerleader competition at WDW while we were there....they seemed to overtake the resort where we were staying...Port Orleans Riverside. The cheers were everywhere and the noise was a little much for all of us. Upon calling to request a quieter room, we were told that we would get a call back within an hour. So, we continued our day at Epcot and received a call about an hour later. They upgraded us to a very nice room in The Contemporary. Woo-hoo! What a blessing. It was a much larger room and the amentities were amazing.

We rode every ride possible (most of them more than a few times), saw many shows and met lots of characters. Kaitlyn's favorite ride is Mt. Everest and we enjoyed it in the rain! She also met Marie, her favorite cat, in France (in Epcot) one day which was a huge surprise. Madison loves Cali River Rapids, so we all rode it with ponchos on...twice! JT got soaked both times... Jett loved Toy Story Mania and Buzz Lightyear the most. He fell in love with Mary Poppins and Cinderella.....gotta watch that boy!

Kaitlyn was able to celebrate her 13th birthday while we were there as well. What a treat to get Happy Birthday wishes everywhere we went. We at breakfast at Chef Mickey's, lunch in France and dinner at The California Grill (watching the fireworks high above the castle). What a beautiful day!

Plenty of pictures were taken and we enjoyed every minute of it! What a huge blessing!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

School Pics and Adopting Again!


All of the kiddos had their school pictures taken yesterday. What a joy to see the blessings that God has given to our family. And speaking of blessings, we are about to increase the size of them....we are adopting again.

As soon as we brought Jett home in January of 2008, we knew that God was calling us to adopt again. So, we have started the process again with Lifeline and will be adopting through Lifeline. We are almost finished with our home study now and the next step is the referral. We'll just be in waiting mode..... It's so different this time because Uganda uses English as its official language so there is no translation involved. The paperwork is easier because everything doesn't have to be notarized twice.

We will have to stay in Uganda for 30 days, but our family is ready for that. Everyone will go together, and depending on the time of year, JT may or may not have to come back to the US during the process. Our entire family is excited about the possibilities! We don't know how many children, the gender or ages. We are trusting God for His Sovereignty in that area!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Arizona Mission Trip October 2009

Before the nightly worship gathering, Jett decided that it was his turn to lead worship. Watch out Autumn......

Jai Rose and Kaitlyn serving drinks at a block party in Cockleburro!

Jett made a hat and decided he would be king of the sanctuary....

Madison had a good time helping at the block party!

There is no greater joy than knowing our children are learning to put others first as they serve on the mission field. I watched as our three kiddos served with abandonment in Arizona a few weeks ago. I'm so proud of each of them!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fun Pics

Madison and Jett decided to go "skiing" one day after school. So, I find them dressed like this when they come downstairs. Notice Jett has on shorts only...guess he doesn't know that it is cold when you are snow skiing.
Jett at the McWane Center - pretending he is being eaten by the whale!
Madison joined Claud and Raphael at the McWane Center for some fun examining their own hairs - it was gross!
Madison's science curriculum this year requires quite a few experiments with a microscope (we've since improved to a much better one). So, she takes it in the bathroom along with the laptop and does her experiments in there.
Our "hippy" child - Kaitlyn - doing schoolwork while wearing her favorite Peace shirt. Anything with a peace sign on it, she's all over!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Memories of the summer

Two of our "babies" got married - now Michael and Heather Whitmire!
More of our "babies" - Morgan, Kaitlyn, Brittney, Autumn, Holly and Madison.
The youngest baby - Jett!

Our "family" - Brady and Beth Cornelison, David and Chelle Whitmire, and Michael Whitmire!

It's been quite a while since I've updated the blog, but I came across these photos from a couple of weeks ago.....they were a reminder of what a sweet summer this was. Here are just a few highlights of our time as a family!

  • JT was able to spend 3 1/2 weeks in Arizona and 2 weeks in Africa.
  • Our whole family along with most of our small group spent a week ministering in the dump of Guatemala.
  • Sweet, extended prayer times with our small group that blessed our lives immensely.
  • Playing at the pool with friends!
  • Piano camp for Madison with some of her great friends.
  • Student Life Camp for Kaitlyn - her first extended youth trip.
  • Student Life Camp for kids camp for Madison - little sleep but she loved it!
  • A special time of dependence on Christ and His sustaining power!
We were able to top off the summer with a trip to Indiana for Heather and Michael's wedding. What a beautiful time to spend time with friends and family! What a blessing for us to witness God's divine power and purpose in their lives as two individuals became one. It was a glorious time! Thank you Jesus for this summer....we are blessed beyond belief!

We are eager to get all of the kids from Divine Grace Ministries on our website soon. People will be able to sponsor children - $40 a month covers room and board (some currently walk many miles a day to go to school), tuition, fees, books and a uniform! Psalm 67 tells us why we are is NOT FOR is so that His glory can be spread to the nations and so that His name will be known on all the earth. What a tangible way to spread the Gospel message!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Missing: 1 Front Tooth

For almost a month now, Jett has had a loose front tooth. When I went see my friend Nancy yesterday, we went to the bathroom to check out the looseness factor. It came right out. Jett was SO proud of himself!

Now, he talks with a little lisp but is enjoying the space for extra water spouts. Ah, he's growing up so fast!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rock the Block 2009

Last week our family worked with our small group to lead a Rock the Block Backyard Bible Club. We averaged about 8 children a day. What a blessing it was!

First, we were able to clearly present the Gospel message every day and show that God wins over everything. The material, God Always Wins, from Children Desiring God is excellent...I highly recommend it. We used this same curriculum in Arizona last year so it was easy to pick it back up.

Second, working with our small group every day was such a blessing from the Lord. It was Biblical community right here at home. What an honor and privilege it is to share life with each of these families!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Memories of the dump...

This is the outside of The Tabitha House located in the dump area of Guatemala City. These children who are literally rescued from the dump daily have this view of garbage on the street.
A view of the dump where over 10,000 people live.
A mom who raises her children in the dump.
Houses are built on and around the dump with a maze of sidewalks and stairs that do not connect one area to another.
Houses in the dump are made from any scrap material available especially wood, tin and plastic.

An online friend recently asked me to share more about our time in the dump of Guatemala City. It is with a heavy heart, tear-filled eyes and lasting memories that I pen this post.

On Sunday afternoon our team gathered at the Baptist Seminary of Guatemala to discuss the ministry opportunities for the next day. Option 1: teach and lead children/preschool programs at The Tabitha House. It is located in the dump area and provides Christian training and childcare for women who are trying to escape a life of prostitution as well as their children. Option 2: Go into the dump, hand out food, and pray with families. Both places are in a dangerous section of town and we are forewarned of this many times. The dump is extremely dangerous Carol says and we don't need to take it lightly. She goes into details of the dangers involved. We pray and determine who God wants to go where. For the first day, none of the children with us (7 of them) will go into the dump. The adults will tread there first.

The dump group gathers on the steps outside of our room to pray. As we sit around, I look into the faces of JT, Susan, Leslie, Patty and Greg, and I see God's faithfulness. I see a group looking to Him alone for life. We fear not where He sends us. I pray that God will give each person a sense of peace and that He will show Himself in mighty ways.

On Monday morning God directs our group to the dump. We walk up and down stairs through mazes that ironically wind themselves through tin houses held together by a few nails. I see houses with no floors and some with see-through walls. Some even have no roofs. Many don't have water or electricity. If they do have the privilege of electricity, one or two light bulbs hang from the ceiling with exposed wires. Banners that we see at ballgames are the walls of some shacks. Children walk through the dirt with no shoes over piles of garbage. Mothers pick lice out of their daughters' hair and groups of men smoke pot outside of their homes. My heart aches for the hopelessness I see in their eyes and in their homes.

God directs our paths to the homes of women who are striving to seek God in their daily lives. I find myself wondering if my home...the comfort of furniture, electricity, running water....the support of family and friends....if THOSE things make it EASIER for me to trust God. Would I trust Him if I lived here? Would you?

The second day of our dump visits sees a new group going into the homes. Our group consists of Kathy, Rich, Patty, Brooke, Erica and Amanda. I'm excited about what God is going to do today. I'm a little more de-sensitized to the surroundings as I spent the entire day on Monday in the dump. Or so I thought. As we enter the first house, I see a mom who seems astonished that we are visiting her. She reveals that her life has been hopeless lately and she has been asking God to send her an angel. She says that God told her He would send people to her. We came. She thanked us for being the angels that God sent. Tears form in my eyes and I wipe them away. Surely, she is just mistaken. We are not worthy. We are not angels. But, the tears won't stop. I'm a counselor...I can handle these things....I doesn't work. I'm overwhelmed that God chooses to use us to minister to this woman in need.

Then, Carol tells us about the next place we are going to visit. It is just our group as she has asked everyone else to step outside. She tells us details of a family where the children are being abused. I ask the typical abuse questions to determine the level and extent of abuse. The facts are vivid and paint a picture of children in the midst of a horrifying situation. I cry out to the Father on behalf of the children...why? The group looses all sense of dignity as we cry together and as a family of believers. We call out to God for the children and beg for their release from this situation. We know that we cannot physically go on without God sustaining us. We are emotionally and physically spent at 10:00 in the morning. We cannot walk another step without God directing our path. We refuse to move until He moves.

He moves us, and we move on to see the family. God shows His mercy and grace as He reigns on high. We are overwhelmed by His love and grateful for the way He showed Himself to us. He alone is worthy to be praised. He is a loving God with a heart for the nations. He uses us to make His ways known on the earth and His salvation among the nations.

This is only a glimpse of the Father's work in Guatemala City. I can easily forget what I saw and experienced there. I pray that God reminds me daily of the sights, the sounds...more importantly, the people there. God is good, and His love endures forever.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


For the past three months, we have been watching every penny that goes in an out of our house. With the economy we have taken a new and detailed look at our budgeting/spending process. We know what is "enough" for our family...the bare minimum to live and what we need to live on each month. Sometimes, that "enough" is less than we anticipate.

So, we are combining all trips over 5 miles into one trip...errands, visits, appointments, etc.....cutting coupons (lots of them!), and not eating out. One website that has helped me tremendously has been I check it out weekly to find the best deals at CVS, Walgreens and Publix. I cut the coupons that they suggest (or print them) and save at least 50% on our groceries.

Just three weeks ago, the girls and I went to Publix. We bought $151 worth of groceries for just $65. It was amazing!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A House Full....

For the past five days, we have had a house full of staff and summer interns. On Saturday, the summer interns for the ministry, Autumn, Holly, Brittney and Michael, arrived. In addition, Karen Katchuk, our staff liason from Kentucky, and her daughter Morgan flew in. So, we had 12 people gathered around the dinner table. What a joy!

What a blessing to host our friends and family for several days. It was pure joy to hear and see....

  • Autumn strumming her guitar while Holly sang a song that Autumn wrote.
  • Hearing Holly and Heather sing worship songs upstairs.
  • The laughter coming from Jett as Morgan chased him around the house.
  • Michael teaching Madison how to play chess.
  • Karen braiding Madison's hair for the day.
  • Autumn trying to figure out which one was the dryer!
  • Brittney and Holly laughing endlessly.
  • Kaitlyn wanting to take Morgan to her 6th grade small group.
  • Having a row full of people we love at church.
  • Giggles, laughter and other untold noises late into the night.
I am a content woman in the Lord knowing that I am blessed beyond degree. I love you all!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

JT and Sheryl with our friend, Pastor Morales at New Jerusalen.

The Spice Girls (Patty, Brooke, Susan, Leslie, Erica and Amanda) with Jett!

The girls - Madison, Caroline, Haleigh, Savannah, Kaitlyn and Hannah.

Kaitlyn painting in the Tabitha House, a refuge for children in the dump.

Jett stood before a crowd of people at New Jerusalen on Sunday morning and quoted Psalm 23. He was a part of ministering to the same people group from which he came....oh, how God works!

(This same post was published on our ministry blog: with the exception of the remarks about Jett.)

Over the past eight weeks, our small group has been re-studying Experiencing God. We are all at similar stages of life, and we are learning so much this time around. God is showing us Himself in ways that we have never seen. We are absolutely amazed.

Most of our small group was able to travel to Guatemala together. What a time of biblical community this was for us. We were joined by Susan, Brooke, Amanda, Leslie and Erica from Brook Hills. It was a beautiful time of fellowship for all of us. We laughed together, cried together (often) and learned together. What a true picture of the church.

My mind still does not comprehend all that we saw in the dump in Guatemala City. Houses with no floors, walls made up of old plastic banners, no running water, no electricity, hazards be honest, I wouldn't let a dog run around in there. It was unhealthy, unsafe and full of people dying to hear about Jesus.

I was brought to my knees by stories of children abused in ways that I cannot repeat. At one point, our group had to re-group. We were all in tears and could not go on. We were beyond the breaking point and literally couldn't take another step without God doing a work. He did it, and we continued. I am so thankful for His divine grace, love and comfort. He reminded me of the need for tears shed on behalf of innocent children. He reminded me of the need for tears in a place that needs Him.

There are many more lessons but it's difficult to verbalize them all. I am still in shock and humbled by His mercy.

We were so blessed that Jett did extremely well! When we were on our way to Guatemala, he said "I am so excited!" Of course, I asked him, "Jett, why are you SO excited?" With a smile that will melt your heart, he exclaimed, "Because you're not going to leave me there!" Oh, the faith of a little child and his trust in us as his parents. It made me proud!

Jett received so much love while we there, and his name was the first one everyone remembered. I'm afraid he was spoiled by the kitchen crew, and they loved it! He ate more than we have seen him eat in a long time, and we were all surprised by his capacity. How can a 38 lb boy eat 3-5 lbs at each meal and not gain a pound?

We are so grateful for your prayers that sustained us. We are just thankful.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kids Say the Funniest Things

Madison enjoying the McWane Center.
Jett and his friend Zackary hanging out at the grocery store.
iKaitlyn and Courtney loving hanging out for the day!

Over the past month, we have heard some funny things around here:

  • Look Mom I have glossy teeth (meaning, I flossed my teeth).
  • Why does that guy have a stick lawnmower? (translation: weedeater)
  • Can't she just cough that baby up? (trying to figure out why a pregnant woman doesn't have her baby already)
  • Thank you Jesus for fortifying us (translation: providing for us)
  • Mom: Jett, do you speak Spanish? Jett: No Mom: Okay, do you speak English? Jett: No Mom: Well, what do you speak? Jett: I speak regular.
  • I think we can adopt 2 or 3 or a hundred million.
And for my friend Nancy who wears a daydress when she gets home, props to you! You made me laugh today.