Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Desiree who was the winner on the 30 days of giveaways on Ni Hao Y'all!

Happy shopping Desiree!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pediped Giveaway at Ni Hao Y'all!

So, today is our Pediped giveaway on Stefanie's blog, Ni Hao Y'all. Visit Ni Hao Y'all to enter to win! See you there!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

30 Days of Christmas Giveaways over at Ni Hao Y'all

I just posted a button in my gadgets linking to a friend's blog that I think you will love. Her name is Stefanie, and she has adopted six children from China, and is in the process of adopting another little one. Her blog is a fabulous resource for anyone with a heart to adopt one of the world's 147,000,000 children without families.
Now, here's the fun part! She is hosting Christmas giveaways from now until Christmas. All you have to do is visit her blog, become a follower, and leave a comment each day in the giveaways section and you will have a chance to win the day's giveaway! How fun! And, what is even more exciting for me is I will be giving away three items during the giveaway. I will be giving away a pair of Pediped Children's shoes in the size and style of the winner's choice, a handmade baby or children's dress, and a pair of cashmere cotton pajamas or nightgown. I hope to have more pictures on my blog soon. So, hop on over to Ni Hao Y'all and join in the fun!

Ni Hao Y'all

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My New Mission

After much thought, I have decided to begin a custom sewing ministry/business. I have sewn for many years as a hobby, making clothes for our children, bedding, curtains,...and the list goes on. When our second daughter was born, I even tried my hand at heirloom sewing and found that I enjoyed that too.

While my children were dancing with Atlantic Contemporary Ballet Theater (now called the Atlantic City Ballet), I made costumes for the company.

I still have little ones to sew for, but I find myself longing to use my gift in a bigger way.

About a month ago, I received an email from John Bentley of Harmony Outreach in China, and I quote it here.

Because of your faithful partnership with us in this work I want to give you this candid report. It is time to wire funds to China and we do not have enough to meet all of the needs of our projects—Harmony House, the Kaifeng Deaf School, the DaMing orphanage for teens, and the underground seminary we support. This is not something new. In the past six months I have personally loaned Harmony $30,000. I have no more to lend and thus, for the first time, we face the unpleasant prospect of having to slash support to our projects.

The journey God called me to so many years ago has not always been through green pastures. It has also involved desert places and even the valley of the shadow of death. I have come to understand why one of His titles is “Deliverer.” We have gotten all the way through this economic downturn without it affecting our work in China. It will absolutely break my heart if we now have to cut the support they need so much.

One thing I do know is that it is not my burden to carry. We are mere vessels of clay— designed to demonstrate God’s love and mercy. Apart from Him we can do nothing. It is always up to God! I have observed that it is typically when you are backed up to the Red Sea with the Egyptian Army closing in, thrown into the fiery furnace, or land in the den of lions that God’s power and deliverance falls. Please join your faith with ours that God will once again show His power and deliverance so that we do not have to cut suspend any of our projects.



“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.” (2 Cor. 4:7-12)

I was so moved by this email that I felt compelled to do something to help. Hence, the development of Three Threads Custom Children's Wear. I have decided to call it Three Threads because the funds earned will be distributed in three ways. The first portion will go to support Harmony Outreach in China( The second part will be given to our church building program. We are building a new addition with a gym and classrooms which will be used to reach out to our community ( The remaining portion will go toward adopting from China.

I have purchased four bolts of fabric, and will be purchasing more soon. Above are the first two styles I have made from the Peaches and Cream collection. The baby bishop styled dress and bloomers are $55 and the bishop styled tunic and gaucho pants are $65.

Here are a few pictures of my daughters modelling. I had one willing subject, and one not so willing. Well, in her defense, it was hot, and I am no photographer. :)

Email me for orders( May God bless my efforts, and may it all be for His glory!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our Hands Are Full Indeed

We have a big family. We have six boys, and three girls ranging in age from ten months to fifteen years. Our house is full; our lives are full. Everywhere we go, every time we all climb out of our twelve passenger van, each time we run to the store en masse, every time we leave our house, someone either says to us, "Wow, you have your hands full!", or, " God bless you!".

Sometimes it is said with admiration and respect. Sometimes awe fills the words. Many are aghast. But far too frequently the words echo sounds of a society that cautions allowing one's family to get too big. A society that values ease, and rest, and amusement. A society that says small is better. A society that teaches walking by sight, not by faith.

While I am fully aware of the awesome responsibility of rearing a bunch of kids, I am saddened by the view that insists life remain in manageable compartments. And even though I completely understand that not everyone is called to have a "mega" family, I can't help but wonder if far too many well meaning people are missing out on God's incredible blessings by refusing to open their minds to the possibility of more.

I did not always see myself mothering a huge family. I can't say that I planned to have nine children. However I never came to a point when I felt comfortable saying there was no room in our lives for any more. I never felt we were at the end of our resources because God's resources are endless. I never felt comfortable saying, "I can't" because in Christ, "I can do all things".

If our lives only take us to a place where we can manage everything in our own strength, then how have we walked by faith? If we will not allow our minds to explore possibilities we have absolutely no clue how we would ever accomplish, then we are reducing God to a limited God who can only work within the blighted scope of His finite creation. It is our own lack of faith that limits God's miraculous work in our lives, not God's lack of ability to take us beyond ourselves. And it is Society's lack of faith that causes it to fear growing a family beyond its comprehension.

We are not a family without limitations and weaknesses. We are not a family without challenges. We are a family that walks by faith. We are parents who very early in our parenting years asked God to join us on our journey. We asked Him to help us with each child He gives, to bless our efforts to love and guide them, to complete our limited efforts with His ability to make all things good. And we have been blessed beyond comprehension.

Our children have benefited from being a part of something bigger than themselves. The life skills they have learned from living with a group of people with different personalities, needs, and abilities has been a blessing and will continue to benefit them throughout their lives. Words fail to express the joy I feel as a mother when I see the patience and compassion our preteens and teenagers show for their younger siblings. The responsibility they have learned by understanding the impact their decisions have on their brothers and sisters has been awesome to observe.

The little ones love being part of a big family. There is always someone to play with, always a party somewhere, always a sibling to confide in when challenges arise.

Children in a big family, out of shear necessity, learn to wait, to share, and to give. Watching our children grow and learn to love each other amidst a society that seems to be losing its children to a very self centered lifestyle, has been an incredible blessing to us. It is interesting to note, that all of this appears to happen naturally in a big family because, as parents, we have gone beyond our own ability to make their lives easy.

Having a big family is not without its challenges. There are moments when my mother's heart grieves for our children. We are different. Mega families cannot keep up with everything small families do. I would be dishonest to assert that I do not see that or sometimes feel the loss for our children. However, my tears quickly turn to joy when I see the people they have become, the alchemy of their hearts. I can't help but believe that, in some way, our cumbersome size is good for them.

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus says over and over again, "Ask whatever you will in my name, and I will do it." And, "Thy faith has made you well." What if we all believed God to take us beyond ourselves? What if we allowed ourselves to dream bigger dreams? Or like Jabez' now famous prayer, asked God to enlarge our territory, and to use us for His glory? I get the feeling we have barely scratched the surface of what we could do if we believed God for more.

My husband and I have allowed God to take our family beyond ourselves, He is blessing us beyond all that we could ask or imagine. In response to all the questioning glances and comments. I am compelled to answer a hearty, "Yes, we do have our hands full, and I am so thankful we do. God has blessed us indeed!"

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." 2 Corinthians 9:6

A Mother's Prayers

"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all of my life." -Abraham Lincoln

I posted this quote in my status several days ago. Since that time, my mind has replayed that quote over and over again until it has become like a flashing light of caution throughout my days. "I remember my mother's prayers," I hear again and again. I wonder when this stage of child rearing is long passed, when our children's growing years are over and they have moved on to adulthood, will it be my prayers that they remember? And will they cling to them?

A mother wears many hats. In a day, she is a chef, a laundress, a teacher, a nurse, a decorator, a chauffeur, a comforter, an encourager, a disciplinarian, a puppy trainer, and the list goes on and on. Many women are breadwinners, too. And yet in the midst of all these responsibilities, there is a window of time that is slowly closing and will eventually be forever shut. Like sand through an hour-glass, time is passing. And we are only given a finite amount of time to share our hearts with our children, a blip in the time line of eternity to communicate the burning passion of our hearts.

And so, by necessity, we are sifters, too, of all that clammers for our time and our children's time. After school activities, sports, dancing, music lessons, friends, play dates, birthdays, Dr.'s appointments, shopping, phone calls, emails, pets, laundry, demand our time and attention, and we find ourselves quickly sorting and prioritizing each one. We have a set of standards by which we evaluate every urgency that crosses our path. Is this good for our children? Do they need it? Is is worthwhile? Is is best? And beyond these, we ask ourselves, will this prepare our children for adulthood? All worthy goals and standards, indeed.

However, as I have reflected on Abraham Lincoln's words, I am struck by another standard that must override all other worthy goals. Are we preparing our children for eternity? Do the activities of our days reflect that most pressing and urgent desire of our hearts? Do we have time to pray with our children?

Childhood will quickly pass, as will adulthood. In what seems like meer moments our lives will move from this natural physical world to the permanent, steadfast spiritual world that is our forever home. Our time here on earth is only worthwhile in that it is preparing us for eternity with our Heavenly Father.

So, as a mother, we have the awesome responsibility of prioritizing our lives in such a way as to allow time for prayer with our children. Our children need to hear us pour out our hearts to our Heavenly Father. Are we praying about their days, their school, their country, their futures, their someday spouses, their children, their gifts and abilities? Do they hear us ask God to use them for His glory? And do they hear us ask our Heavenly Father to forgive our mistakes and mend the pieces of our sometimes feeble attemps to parent? Do they know that every accomplishment in their physical lives pales when compared to the importance of their relationship with Jesus, their savior?

When time has forever shut it's window on our days of mothering our children, will it be our prayers that they remember?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Reflections of a Life Well Lived

One of my earliest memories is of my grandmother, great-grandmother and mother, sitting on the tan leather couch in the sun porch of the Willow Grove house where Anna grew up. We were sipping tea. It somehow seems fitting that my earliest memory would be of the women in my life who taught me who I was and who I am called to be. Anna Rhubart was one of those women. She was steadfast and never changing. I always knew what was important to my grandmother, and I can summarize her life’s focus in three threads: She loved the Lord, she loved her husband, and she loved us. Every activity that I remember about her life reflected these three main threads. Playing the piano, playing the organ in church, accompanying Charles, leading family hymn sings, knitting and crocheting, all reflected these three loves of her life.

Every morning found her reading her Bible, watching the birds, and praying for each of her children and grandchildren. As the years passed and she grew older, her mind never dimmed and she never lost the ability to relate to each one of us at whatever stage of life we were in. Somehow she remained a part of all of our lives, spanning the generations with effortless grace. Mom-mom was a realist who knew about life’s struggles, and as the difficulties of life went on around her, her faith never wavered. She remained our constant prayer warrior. She pressed through every circumstance and ended up on top.

She is on top today. She lived her life loving, worshipping and trusting her Savior. She is pain-free now and filled with Heaven’s incomprehensible joy. She left behind a legacy of a life well lived. Her Bible sits beside her chair as it always did, worn from years of use, and exactly where she left it the day before she died. Within its pages lie mementos of her life, a legacy for those she loved of a life walked hand-in-hand with Jesus.

A quote from C.S. Lewis expresses so poignantly what my grandmother knew for certain and describes the premise on which she so faithfully lived her life: “If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy; the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” Indeed, she lived her life knowing that the temporal things of this world would never fulfill her, nor could they keep her from the eternal life she was meant to live. There is no greater blessing a mother and grandmother can leave her children than to pass on the wisdom that this world is temporary and that we are created for eternity. Day by day, and moment by moment, Anna Rhubart did just that.