Sunday, February 26, 2012


ok you guys.....get ready to applaud : ) Seriously, it's a big deal......drum roll.


Maybe not a big deal for some 5 year olds, but my girl has struggled with buttoning forever. She's been able to button for just a few weeks but literally it took a good 20 to 30 minutes to get five or six buttons done. Her myo hand doesn't help in this case because she's has no tactile sense with it on. So I would have to button the first one to keep her PJ top from falling off and she would do the other five buttons and it took forever.  It didn't matter if we were late for bed. Late for church. It didn't matter. What mattered was that she was determined to do it and we just had to wait. That lion-hearted spirit that she has....she's teaching me! So tonight I put the shirt on her after her bath and I didn't do the top button because she wanted to try and I started blowing drying her hair because I thought we'd be there awhile I might as well get two things done at once and a couple minutes into blow drying she was done. She did it! She got so excited she started jumping up and down. She was proud of herself. I was too : ) My sweet girl. I had to take some pictures. These milestones are important you know..... especially to this sappy Momma.

That's my Mark 9:23 girl....

"What do you mean, 'If I can'?" Jesus asked. "Anything is possible if a person believes."

Daughter's of the Most High God

It's the simple things in life

like grocery shopping

and frozen yogurt (yes, in the south we eat frozen yogurt all year long! )

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Both for the widow and one for the orphan

Here we go on to our next fundraiser. I have to say though that this one is near and dear to my heart. One of my favorite verses in the bible is Isaiah 1:17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

We have the opportunity to do just we're really excited.

We've partnered with Both Hands Foundation and Lifesong for Orphans to raise funds to bring our sweet Josiah home while spending a day working on a widow's home in our community. I don't think it gets much closer to the heart of God than that.  So how can you help, you say? : )

The Organization: Both Hands is a non-profit organization that serves widows in the community in a very specific way, while helping families adopt. Both Hands partners with Lifesong for Orphans, whose mission is “ to bring joy and purpose to orphans.”

The Family: Our journey into the fields of the fatherless started in 2007 as we sensed God calling us.  We were united with our daughter Izzy in 2008.  Little did we know that we would go back in 2010 to meet our daughter Marianna. We have since stepped back out in faith and obedience in an amazing story that is taking us soon back to China to our son Josiah. We are humbled and excited to be partnering with so many to fulfill God’s plan for the “least of these” and us.
The Orphan: Josiah Jian Guo is two years old and waiting for us (his forever family) in Xiangfan Social Welfare Institute in Hubei Province in the People’s Republic of China. God led us to Josiah in the spring of 2011. How he came to us is nothing short of amazing. We can’t wait to bring him home and for him to be orphaned no more. 
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” Psalm 68:5

The Widow: Meet Debbie, a wonderful woman who loves the Lord and who leans heavily on Him for provision. She lost her husband to liver cancer two years ago. She is plugged into her faith family, but her children live far away. 
Living alone is hard and even harder to take care of her home and property by herself.  She has prayed for help for sometime and is humbled and overjoyed that such a thing like this would happen to her. We can’t wait to serve her in this way !

An orphan in China. A widow in Mississippi. A team of people desiring to be the hands and feet of Jesus. What do these three things have in common?  All three are coming together to play a key role in an exciting fundraising opportunity taking place all day on March 10th. This fundraiser will help us in our journey to bringing our sweet Josiah home while we spend the day working on Debbie’s home.
We have partnered with Lifesong for Orphans and Both Hands in an innovative way to help remove the financial barrier of adoption. Think of it like a charity golf outing, but instead of us golfing to raise money, we are going to support a widow in need. We want to give you an opportunity to participate in this awesome project. All money raised for our work will go to support the adoption of our son Josiah.
We are not all called to adopt, but we can all play a role in serving the widows and the fatherless. Would you consider taking part in this by sponsoring us to work for a day on a widow’s home so we can raise the funds to bring our son home?
For more information on Lifesong for Orphans and Both Hands

These are the ways you can help:
1.) Pray
· Pray for Josiah as he waits for us and for God to prepare his heart to be adopted as well as all the others still waiting. Pray for our family as we wait and for us to be used by God to serve the fatherless. Pray for Debbie as she receives this blessing on March 10th. Finally, please pray for the ministries of the Both Hands Foundation and Lifesong for Orphans as they do amazing work in the name of the widows and the orphans.
2.) Donate
· Please consider making a tax deductible donation to help reduce our adoption expenses and sponsor us as we work with our team to be a source of encouragement and support in the life of this widow.
· There are two easy ways to donate:
    On-line: Go to our project page by clicking here  and click the “Donate” button unde our family photo. Follow online instructions to pay safely with your credit card or PayPal account.
· Send a check: Make your tax-deductible check payable to Lifesong for Orphans. Please write “preference Braniff Adoption #2486” in the memo section of your check, attach the form below, and mail it to Lifesong for Orphans by March 31, 2012.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ok, so here goes…. There’s been so much going on that I’m not sure where to begin. I just know that I need to share some of this because I’m close to just bursting.  And I sure could use your prayers.

So, I’ll start with Josiah. Everyone’s been asking me “How much longer?” Well, our Article 5 was picked up …. Yeah ! Which means our next step is our Travel Authorization which should be in the next few weeks. We are quite a ways away from having enough funds for us to travel….in my faithless human way of thinking….in my faith filled God trusting mountain moving way of thinking….we are right where we are supposed to be and God’s about to knock it out the park : )  So, how much longer ? I’m not really sure. God knows though. We have 90 days after we get our TA to go get him and that is totally up to the Lord. Wow, that feels really good to think that and BELIEVE it.  Now, I can hardly stand not holding him in my arms one more minute and the Lord knows this Momma’s heart is strong but also aching for my boy.  I really long for the day I see him face to face and get to tell him that “He was Chosen” and how special he is to his God and his family.  Oh, goodness Josiah….we’re coming.

The girls are amazing. I left them for the first time this past weekend. Rob has been away from them on business a few times before but I haven’t spent a night away from them since they’ve been home from China. Oh, that wasn’t easy. They did beautifully though. They were with my family and had a blast. A testament to the work that the Lord has done in their little hearts that they don’t struggle with abandonment like they used to and they rest in the love of their family confidently. Thank you Jesus. My family showed up for me in such an amazing way. Not that I didn’t expect them too. Of course they would. I just really appreciate how much they love us. They love my girls so much. It comforted me so much that my girls were so happy to be with all of them while I was gone. As much as I missed them it made my heart smile to know they felt safe and content with them while I was gone.

So where did we go? Well, I don’t know if you remember my post from November Crossroads and the spiritual journey to the mountains we took in search of what the Lord had planned for us.  That journey took us to the Georgia, Tennessee and the North Carolina area for a few days. The Lord met us there and basically confirmed what we had already known that He was calling us back to vocational ministry and was calling us away from our home base of Louisiana. We’ve known this for quite some time we were just looking for some clarification about the “where”. Well, we visited a church while on that journey and not long after we got home that door closed. About a week later another door opened and that was what this weekend was all about.  On Friday night we flew to SC and spent the day in Charleston.  We visited with the Executive staff of Seacoast Church on Saturday and went to worship there on Saturday evening. We drove Saturday night to Columbia, SC and spent the night and then Sunday morning drove to Asheville, NC.  On Sunday morning we found ourselves back in the mountains that God had directed us to in December.  Once again He promised us that if we trusted Him, He would provide.  That He wouldn’t forsake us and not only that He promised that His plans for us are so much more than we could ever imagine for ourselves.  The idea of moving away from our family is scary for me. I’ve never lived away from them. Ever. And for this “beach” girl who has been praying for 70 degrees, sunny and the coast…. the mountains is a bit of a stretch for me. But God keeps bringing me there and showing me just as He showed Abraham  “on the mountain of the Lord, it will be provided”.  I knew that in December when I looked out over the mountains. I know that more today than ever before that this could be my home and that I would be “at home” there. He showed me that wherever He calls us, He will provide. And I don’t just mean financially. He will provide a faith family for us that will embrace us. They’ll love me. They’ll love my children. They'll even love my crazy, eclectic, thinking out of the box, not exactly fitting the pastor mold husband.

So, did I like Asheville?  No….. Definitely not…. WE LOVED IT ! : ) 

We love the church. We love the people. We love the city.  I guess the question is.... did they love us?
I would appreciate your prayers. For God's will to be done in all areas of our life. For me to continue to be at peace with whatever the Lord has in store for our family. For His perfect time to be united with Josiah. For Seacoast church in Asheville to be the imprint of Jesus in their community whether we are their pastors or not. For my family that we will one day leave here in Louisiana...for them to know that God will carry us wherever we go. This transition will be difficult for us, but God is faithful and He will not call us to anything that He will not equip us to handle.  I know you guys pray for us...I feel it and it means the world to us.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lots of drama lately......

I'm packing to go out of town and I hear Izzy in the kitchen asking Rob for an apple but she's explaining to him that she just wants to play with it. She's not hungry. Rob is telling her "No... because Uh, hello you don't play with apples. "  Then she tells him " Come on Daddy, I'm not going to do anything harmful with it "
                                                        Ummm...I beg to differ !!!

Poor Snow White

Don't kiss from Daddy "their prince" and Snow White was up and running again.....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Daddy - Daughter Date Night

I love that my girls get so tickled about a special night with their Daddy. They get dressed up even for frozen yogurt : ) It's so sweet to see that they want to look beautiful for him. We have this little tradition on Sunday mornings when they're getting ready for church. I'm always the one that dresses them but as soon as they come out of their bedroom they immediately go find Rob. He always makes a big fuss about how beautiful they are. They go seeking his approval and they always leave beaming. Every little girl needs to know that their Daddy thinks they are beautiful.

So, here is Isabella...all dressed up for a date with Daddy.  Mei Mei has been under the weather for a few days. I'm not sure what's wrong exactly. She's just been running fever with no other symptoms. Sometimes high fever and sometimes low. We were just at the doctors a week ago Friday with Izzy sick. It's that time of the year. Mari is so sweet when she's sick though. All she wants to do is snuggle with me.....and she's not the least bit grumpy unlike the rest of us : )