Friday, September 28, 2007
Last Weekend
We had a wonderful weekend in the mountains last week. My family and my brother and three sisters all got together for a few days. There were a total of 22 people and it was great to have everyone together and just hang out. We also played some cards and began teaching the younger generation about the fine art of playing pinochle. Our oldest was really interested in this.

We took walks.



Big Sister helping Little Sister.

Cousins enjoying time together.

The younger generation learning new recipes in the kitchen. They had a great time helping Aunt Stacey cook up all her wonderful meals. I can still taste the freshly made corn salsa and fresh chips. Yummy!!!

Uncle Dan taught Garrett all about birds. Garrett loved learning about all the different kinds and looking through his Uncle's bird book to find the different species. Here is one he especially liked. He's already asleep or I would ask him what the name of this bird is....for the life of me I can't remember.



The kids also enjoyed watching the squirrels jump from tree to tree. They were the fattest squirrels I had ever seen. Obviously very well fed by the locals.


Paige spent most of her time hiding from me so I couldn't get a good picture of her. I trapped her behind the sofa while she was playing with some blocks to get these two shots. She is such a little stinker.


Now, of course, any good trip wouldn't be complete without some shopping. After breakfast on Sunday the girls went shopping while the boys stayed home and watched football. They had some of the cutest little shops and we purchased quite a few treasures. Samantha had a good time trying on every hat on the rack at this store. She did look pretty cute.

Well, now that last weekend is over tomorrow I have to get back to reality. I plan to clean my upstairs from top to bottom, with a little help from other members of the family.

I doubt they will show the same level of enthusiasm as they did for our mountain trip.

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  posted at 1:42 PM  
  6 comments



Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Wordless Wednesday - The Morning Meal

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  posted at 8:30 AM  
  8 comments



Friday, September 21, 2007
Sleep is Highly Over Rated Anyway, Right?
It is 4:00am and I have already been up two hours. Paige came into our room and asked for a drink around 2:00 and after that I COULD NOT GET BACK TO SLEEP.

This seems to happen more and more the older I get. I used to be able to go back to sleep in a few seconds, now sometimes not at all.

Does anyone else have this disease that seems to afflict mothers much more than fathers?

Does anyone else have husbands who can sleep through little ones requests for drinks or hugs in the middle of the night? Yeah, I thought so.

The good news is I have already done two loads of laundry and got quite a bit of packing down for our trip to the mountains this weekend.

All of my siblings (there are 5 of us) will be together for the first time in quite a while. Some cousins are also coming with their families so it should be a really fun family weekend.

Hopefully, I can get a little nap on the way up the mountain so I don't fall asleep to early this evening and miss out on some of the fun.

On another note, several of you have emailed me asking how Paige's school is going. Thank you so much for your kind words and concern. I cannot begin to tell you how much they mean to me.

Paige is doing great. She really likes school. After six weeks we can already see a dramatic difference in her language skills. School has also seemed to boost her self confidence enough that she will try and talk more even if we are having a hard time understanding her. It really has been remarkable and such a wonderful answer to prayer.

Her class has been working on telling people your name this week. We were all cracking up last night because she kept going around to all of us doing this...

Paige: Hi, My name Paige.
Me: Hi, My name is mommy.
Paige: Mommy

Paige: Hi, my name Paige
Samantha: My name is Samantha
Paige: Samantha

This went on and on for quite a long time. They must have been practicing saying the other persons name because she always repeated it after you said it.

We were all thrilled because she had never said her name before, she was barely making more than one or two word sentences at the beginning of August so this was quite a milestone for us.

So, it a nutshell, we are very pleased with her progress.

Well, that's it. Have a great Friday and enjoy your weekend.

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  posted at 4:01 AM  
  11 comments



Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Proper Attire Is Important For All Occasions
Today I was feeling a little lazy. It was one of those days where I just didn't want to leave the house. I didn't want to run to Target and get the 15 things on my list. I just wanted to stay home and putter around.

Do you ever have days like this?

My two middle schoolers had a half day and were home by 11:30.

We decided to go out back and pick the rest of the apples off the tree. We are going up to the mountains this weekend to visit my family and I thought to myself "Wow, wouldn't they all be impressed if I brought along a homemade pie made from my very own apples off my very own tree?"

Yeah, probably not. But I wanted to do it anyway.

When Samantha found out we were going out to pick apples she quickly ran upstairs to change. Why you can't pick apples in your school uniform is beyond me, but apparently it cannot be done.

She came down a very very long 15 minutes later in a new cute outfit, with a curler placed in the front of her hair to fix her bangs (apparently a new hairdo was also in order) and a heavy coat on over her new outfit. It was a brisk 75 degrees.

Now, when a girl is picking apples their is a particular way the feet are to be placed on the ladder to make the correct fashion statement while doing said activity.

Here is Samantha's version.

No kidding, the girls foot did not touch the ladder.

During our apple picking we began discussing my hair appointment which was suppose to be at 4:00pm. I really wanted to cancel it because I just didn't feel like getting all cleaned up to go to the "beauty parlor".

Now I am going to be really raw here and show you a picture of the back of my head. Where my deep dark roots are showing through. We won't even get into my eyebrows. Oh my, do they every need a waxing. You will also notice in said picture that I am still in my pajama top. At 2:00 in the afternoon.

I told you I was feeling a little lazy today. OK, don't laugh here it is.
Please note Samantha's curler in the front of her head. Clearly she must be mortified to have a mother who would rather pick apples then attend her hair appointment.

Here is a better look at my sweet girl.
Isn't that one of the scrawniest apple trees you have ever seen. The branches were all almost touching the ground under the weight of the heavy apples. I clearly need to do some research on apple tree pruning. I think ours could definitely use a little TLC.

I never did get to the hair salon so my roots are still dark and my eyebrows still bushy.

But, we did get all of these.

and I am off to bake a pie whether my family will be impressed or not.

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  posted at 8:53 PM  
  2 comments



Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Can You Feel The Cool Breeze Too?
We have been outside this morning picking apples off of our very full tree. From the looks of it the possums and other fury friends have been having a little feast on us for the last few weeks. Several of the apples were eaten all the way down to the core. Something our four year old found fascinating.

The weather outside is a wonderful 72. Clear skies and a little breezy. Just wonderful! All the windows are open and the house is airing out from this very hot summer.

My youngest son asked me to make him his favorite dinner tonight. He knows I try only to make this when the temperature is under 90 degrees, I refuse to turn on the oven otherwise.

So, in honor of fall coming our way and the nice cool weather I thought I would share my recipe with you. If your family likes casserole's or lasagna type dishes this might be a hit at your house too.

Company Casserole

1 and 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
15 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
12 oz. small egg noodles
3 oz. cream cheese,softened
1 cup sour cream
16 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated

Brown ground beef, drain fat. Add Spaghetti sauce, simmer 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook noodles and drain. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream. Mix well.
Spread half the cooked noodles into a greased 9x13" baking dish. Cover with half the cream cheese/sour cream mixture. Top with half the grated cheese. Spread all the meat sauce over cheese. Layer remaining noodles, cream cheese mixture, and grated cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until heated through. Serves 9.

This is really yummy. I hope you enjoy!

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  posted at 11:04 AM  
  3 comments



Sunday, September 16, 2007
Abundantly Blessed
I am feeling so thankful today.

Some things have happened in the last few weeks which demonstrate to me how God is taking care of my family. I am opening my eyes to his Blessings and drawing closer to him. I really feel like this is a wonderful time for our family.

A few specific things I am thankful for are;

My friend Celeste offering to notarize all of our adoption documents for free. This is a huge blessing which will save us hundreds of dollars. EVERYTHING needs to be notarized and we have a very large stack of documents for her. She has told us she will do what ever we need.

I got my passport in only 2 weeks. With all the press about people waiting for months I was really worried. I need this before we can submit our dossier and was so thrilled when we got it a few days ago. Yeah!!

I am thankful that Dave and I were able to take the junior high youth group (22 of them) miniature golfing last night and we returned home with our sanity and all of our brain cells. It was great getting to spend some special time with our two junior highers. Also, their was only a small amount of drama from the girls. Those of you with junior high age girls will know what I am talking about.

I have so many things to be thankful for. I could go on and on. I think I definitely need to participate in Thankful Thursday this week.

I have one prayer request.

We are in the middle of what is called the "paper pregnancy". There is so much paper work to deal with. Hubby and I both HATE paperwork. We are not a good combination for this task.

Please pray that I would stay motivated and not procrastinate. We need to just get it done. We have made some good progress but I need to stay focused or we may not be getting our new daughter until 2012.

Our nine year old would definitely not be happy about that. He wants her here NOW.

Thanks so much to all of you for your support and kind words. You mean more to me than you could ever know.

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  posted at 7:48 PM  
  4 comments



Friday, September 14, 2007
Another Mercedez Driver and a Sweet Friend
This morning I was sitting in the driveway of the kids school waiting to turn right onto a busy street when the car behind me SLAMMED into my bumper. My head was jerked around pretty good and the bumper needs some work, other than that we are OK. When I exited my car and saw that the driver had a Mercedes I let out a silent groan. What is it with me and women who drive Mercedes lately?

If you drive a Mercedes please don't take offense. I am sure you are a perfectly wonderful person. It just seems that THOSE cars and myself have not been getting along very well lately.

I have been sitting around pouting all day. I wanted to clean my house from top to bottom today. However, the fact that I cant bend my head to the right without it being very uncomfortable has kind of slowed me down a little. I was feeling annoyed.

So, I decided to take a little break and see what was going on in the blogosphere this afternoon. I clicked over to my sweet friend Kelli's site to find out she is in the hospital. Kelli needs a kidney transplant very badly and has been fighting off infections and all manner of other things lately. To say she has had more than her fair share of trials lately would be an understatement.

Through it all she is always upbeat and trusting in God to get her through.

It made me disgusted with myself for moaning and groaning over my little old stiff neck.

If you get a minute will you please go and leave a comment for sweet (and very bored) Kelli. I know she and her family would much appreciate any prayers and encouragement you can give them.

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  posted at 5:18 PM  
  4 comments



Thursday, September 13, 2007
We Had A Birthday!
Garrett turned 9 a few weeks ago amidst his mother's weepy protests that this could not possibly be his last year in single digits. I refuse to let him turn 10. I'll let you all know later how that works out.
Here he is very excited about this large box of baseball cards.

He was thrilled with his Yankee pennant. I can't tell you how much it pained me to purchase this particular item. (Go Angels!)

Singing Happy Birthday and blowing out the candles.


This young man is such a joy to his daddy and I. He is a great athlete and does really well in school, but more importantly, he is a really good person who cares about others.

He also seems to be quite the ladies man. At the end of last school year one of the other mother's told me her son didn't want to play with Garrett anymore because he had stolen his girlfriend. I laughed thinking she was kidding. SHE WAS NOT!

This mother actually thought that because this little girl now wanted to play handball with Garrett instead of her son he was going to have some long lasting effect on his life. They were in the second grade. Sigh.

Thank goodness we have many years until this young man has his first REAL date.

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  posted at 5:00 AM  
  8 comments



Wednesday, September 12, 2007
When The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree
I have been feeling guilty lately about neglecting my parents. Though I speak to them on the phone several times a week I haven't actually seen them in almost a month.

With the end of summer, and getting everyone ready to go back to school, time has just seemed to get away from me.

I was just getting ready to pick up the phone and give them a call when the phone rang. My Mom was on the other end of the line asking when I might be coming by with the kids? We made plans for me to drive out and see them today after the kids morning dentist appointment.

Mom was very excited and said "You'll bring books right"?

What?

She goes on to explain that while she is really looking forward to seeing me, she had hoped I had a few new books to pass along her way. It seems she had nothing to read.

My parents don't have a library close by so over the past few years I have become my Mom's lending tree. I try and keep her supplied in books. Obviously, I had fallen down on the job and she was having literary withdrawals.

I guess the apple really doesn't fall to far from the tree.

My mom loves reading and baseball. If the Dodgers are playing a game DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER CALLING HER. She may or may not pick up the phone and if she does she wants you to get right to the point. If the game is not on TV she listens to it on the radio.

As you can see my entire family takes the game of Baseball to an all new obsessive level.

Well, I'm off to search for books.

Have a great Wednesday.

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  posted at 4:43 AM  
  2 comments



Monday, September 10, 2007
Was There Really Life Before The ATM ?
Over the last few days I have been flung back into time. Before the ease of debit and credit cards. When people actually had to go to the bank.

You see, I had this great idea a while back to get rid of all our credit cards. We currently have no balances on any cards and I wanted to keep it that way. With the holidays not to far away (gasp) and the fact that I have no real self control regarding such matters I decided it would be best to get rid of them all.

We had Visa's, Master Card's, Gas Credit Cards and Department store credit cards. To many cards and not enough time to keep track of them all.

So, hubby and I decided to keep one Credit Card for gas and emergencies along with our debit card.

I have to confess about having a little panic attack regarding this. I like the perceived security that all those cards hold for me. Somehow the fact that I had a wallet filled with plastic made me feel better. Even if I wasn't going to use them, I liked having them with me.

Last week I took the plunge and threw them all away except one Master Card and my Debit Visa Card.

I called my bank to request a new debit Visa card because mine had that three digit number on the back scratched off (from to much use, no doubt) so I couldn't order things online. I was told no problem and my new card would be here sometime this week.

In the afternoon of the same day I had to call Worldstride to pay the balance for Tyler's 8th grade trip to Washington DC next month. I had to use the Master Card because I had to pay over the phone. This was a new card that I had just activated.

Later in the afternoon I picked up the kids at school and since I had a few errands to run I went through a drive thru to get them an after school snack. I handed over my debit card to pay for their drinks and snacks. The nice teenage cashier looks at me and say's the wonderful words "I am sorry, your card has been declined". Excuse me? That's not possible. She runs it through again. Still declined.

It seems when I requested a replacement card they cancelled my existing one. Don't you think they should have told me they would be doing this?

Anyway, I figured no problem. I will just use the Master Card. I hand it over to the nice cashier with my children leering at me in embarrassment. She sweetly looks at me and says "I'm sorry, this card has also been declined". What??????

It seems because I had put such a large purchase on the card as its first transaction they had suspended usage until they spoke with me to verify the charge.

Great!

All I can say is thank goodness for the ashtray in my car where I keep all my change. I was able to count out just enough for the kids snack.

After this little adventure the kids were asking me what is going on? Are we poor now? I thought the whole thing was a little funny, unfortunately the kids did not. They informed me they actually knew people in the restaurant. OH MY!

That evening I ask Dave if he will please get me some cash the next day (Saturday) so I can have some money (I am surprised I wasn't breaking out in hives at the thought that I was penniless).

Garrett had a baseball game the next day. When I went to drive to his game across town I noticed that my gas tank was on empty. I stopped at the corner gas station when to my horror I remembered "I HAVE NO MONEY", "NO WAY TO PAY FOR GAS, AND I AM ON EMPTY!!!!!".

This is really not a good scenario for a control freak like myself.

I have a little coin purse that I keep with me with odds and ends in it. I looked in there to see if their was any cash so I could at least get a couple dollars worth of gas (which we all know is only 1 gallon) when I was so excited to find my American Express Card. I guess I had forgotten to cut that one up.

I was saved.

Anyway, this got me to thinking. How did my parent's survive without the ease of whipping out a card to pay for something? I can vaguely remember my Dad saying he wouldn't have any money until he went to the bank the next day. I think they went on Friday and got cash for the whole week? I couldn't imagine doing this? How would you know how much to get??? Maybe they just budgeted better than I do.

I had to write a check at the grocery store (because I didn't have my trusty debit card) and was a little surprised at how foreign it felt. I never write checks any more.

So, I thought I would take a little poll and see if I am the only weirdo out their who can't survive without a debit card. Do you have one? Do you still write checks? Do you pay bills online or do you do it (what my kids say) the old fashioned way and write a check?

Let me know, I can't wait to hear from you.

  posted at 11:32 AM  
  6 comments



Wednesday, September 05, 2007
The Sound Of Silence
This morning was the first day back for my Middle Schoolers. That means all the kids are back in school. Yeah!!!!

Samantha(11) was a little nervous as this was her first day at her new school. Yesterday was the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the new buildings (they are so AWESOME)and a brief orientation for the middle school parents. The rest of the week she and Tyler(14) will have something called "Camp on Campus". They don't actually do any work. The teachers have fun things planned and the first three days of school are all about making new friends, feeling comfortable, and understanding how happy they are that your student is their.

I am so thankful we were able to swing it financially this year for them to go. I was a little weepy this morning thinking about how thankful and happy I am. God is so good.

The kids were thankful too. All they have to bring the first week is a Bible and their lunch. On Friday school won't start until 10:00am because they are staying until 8:30 at night for a cook out, Bonn fire, and lots of games. Have I mentioned how much I love this school?

On other news, I can now start working on getting our dossier done for our adoption. I have so much paper work to complete but I didn't want to become obsessed by it while the kids were home. I am now free to obsess all I want while they are at school.

I had to write one of our first big checks last week. I got a little nervous but once again God gave me the peace to just trust Him and know tha He is in control of the situation. I don't know about you but I don't have $20,000 laying around. When I start to think about the amount of money we will need I start to hyperventilate a little. But then God swoops down and reminds me I don't need all the money NOW. He has plenty of time to provide for us.

I had a talk with the kids the other day about money and how much it was going to cost. They were a little surprised. "Why can't they just give us a new sister if she doesn't already have a family" asked our youngest son. I have to agree, that would be much easier.

However, I am excited for our children to see first hand how God provides for our needs when we trust in him. Since I am 100% sure this is what He wants us to do I know that he will provide the way.

Now if only Mom can remember this and stop fretting about it all the time. Geez!

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  posted at 8:41 AM  
  10 comments



Monday, September 03, 2007
Hubby's Household Hint
Our oldest son, Zach, hates to shop. I have been bugging him all summer to come shopping with us to get a few new things for school. No, he would say, I have enough clothes. Don't worry about me.

True he had clothes. His wardrobe consisted of three pairs of shorts, a few pair of jeans, and about 8 t-shirts. That is it. He is very picky so I never attempt to buy anything for him if he is not with me.

He is in charge of doing his own laundry so last night, in preparation for the first day of school which is tomorrow, he threw his entire wardrobe into the wash and added a few of his little sister things as well.

Today when he went to fold his laundry he found that almost all of his clothes had been dyed either green or yellow. It looked like someone had taken a marker and written all over his clothes.

The culprit? Yellow and green crayons Paige had left in the pocket of her Capri pants.

A little panic set in as we were deciding if we could get them cleaned up in time for school tomorrow.

Much to Zach's dismay it was decided we should run out and buy him a few new things just in case we couldn't get the crayon out of his ENTIRE wardrobe.

I took Zach to the mall and Dave stayed home and investigated remedies to remove the baked on crayon from the clothes.

He found this at the Crayola website and I thought I would share it with all of you in case any errant crayons get put into your dryers to melt all over the clothing.

Spray affected areas with WD-40 (I would suggest doing this outside as it is really stinky), then rub liquid laundry detergent into the affected area as well. Rewash in wash machine with detergent and a little bleach (we used OxiClean).

Dave did this while we were gone and got the crayon stains out of all the whites. He is still working on the colors.

Who knew WD-40 had so many uses?

Though I am sorry it happened, I am glad I finally found a way to get my certain teenager to go shopping with me for a few new badly needed items.

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  posted at 10:16 PM  
  5 comments



Sunday, September 02, 2007
Can The Rapture Be Far Behind?
Today our city experienced an earthquake. While hubby and I ran for the doorway to protect ourselves the children continued to watch cartoons on TV. I guess they figured if it was really bad we would have grabbed them and dragged them under the doorway with us. After this little incident the children were AGAIN given instructions on what to do during an earthquake. Watching cartoons was not on the list.

The heat here today has been unbearable. Not only is their high humidity but the last time I checked the temperature gauge it read 109.

We had to run to Target for some last minutes school supplies. The inside of the store felt like heaven. I think they had their air conditioner set somewhere around 60. It was quite a shock when we left the store and were thrown into what Samantha said "Must feel like how Hell really is". Yes, it is that hot.

As we were pulling out of Target we noticed lots of black smoke coming down the hills behind us and flames shooting into the air. A forest fire had obviously started while we were shopping. Now we had black smoke to go along with the unbearable heat.

Earlier in the day, while the TV was on, they interrupted programming to announce a severe flash flood warning in a local area. They didn't just flash it across the screen at the bottom like usual, they interrupted programming with a big booming voice making sure no one missed the announcement nor the magnitude of seriousness the announcer wanted to convey.

We had lighting and loud thunder but not rain in our area.

I was waiting for the locusts and poisonous snakes to appear at any moment but thankfully we were spared.

It has been one wild afternoon around here.

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  posted at 7:30 PM  
  6 comments



The Priest, The Rose Colored Dress And The Wild Bore
My friends, I have been in mini series heaven this weekend. Disc One of my all time favorite TV movie, The Thorn Birds, came last week and I have been in a frenzy of anticipation to get the 486 minutes of free time needed to view that disc.

Some of you out there may not actually know what I am talking about. If your were not allowed to stay up past 9:00pm in 1983 you most likely have never seen this wonderful film. If not you must first read the book by Colleen McCullough (FANTASTIC) and then rent the films at your local neighborhood movie store (or order through your online deliver to your door service like us lazy people do).

Anyway, Saturday at 6:00 arrived. We had already had dinner, I had cleaned the house, and the boys were busy watching some war movie with there Dad. My chance had arrived.

Oh, it was pure heaven. Until the boys movie got over and they wandered into the living room and started asking questions.

What is going on? Why is that minister wearing a dress? How come that lady is all upset?

Just as sweet Meggie is descending the staircase for Aunt Mary's 75th birthday party and her eyes catch with Ralph's, and you can see he is so in love with her even though he is trying not to be, just the sweetest moment ever, my boys say...

Mom, why are you crying? This movie is stupid!

To which I sweetly yell to the other room "Honey, the kids are ruining my fun and aren't letting me cry with my movie".

The boys are ordered to the other room to do push ups for disturbing their mother's mini series watching heaven and are told by their father not to disturb me again. He also explains why girls like to watch silly movies like that. Such a helpful man.

My joy can only be dampened by the fact that my inbox says disc 2 was sent yesterday. With the holiday on Monday I won't get to finish my mini-series marathon until Tuesday at the earliest.

Well, I guess their is a bright side. Just think how much time I can actually spend with my children instead of ignoring them while yelling at the TV screen "No Meggie, don't marry him, he's no good for you'!

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  posted at 12:17 AM  
  7 comments



Lilypie Countdown to Adoption tickers
About Me...

Name:
Julie


I am a spontaneous, out going, daughter of the King, who is married to a wonderful guy who is a quiet, shy, non-spontaneous, scientist who also loves the Lord. Truly a match made in heaven! We fight and argue, love and laugh, every single day. I am passionate about orphan care and love to tell our story to anyone who will listen. This blog is dedicated to that journey.

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Cast Of Charachters



Me and Samantha (13)


Tyler (16) with Grandpa and Grandma


Hubby and Zach (18) at a game


Garrett (11) and Paige (6)


Waiting for a court date!


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Jo Jo


Sydney


Mr. Fluffy Bottoms

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Blessed By Adoption

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Words To Live By
"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."
~Psalm 127
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27



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