Monday, October 20, 2014

Without Borders

This past year has been full of many ups and downs, to say the least.

Exactly one year ago, we met our precious Emma Claire face to face.

Just moments after meeting Emma Claire for the 1st time

Emma Claire was not a fan of transportation in China.



This sweet picture shows EC's personality! Just the day after Gotcha Day!



Having Emma Claire, our little caboose, join our family was definitely the highlight of our year!



But, along with extreme joy, this past year has brought about extreme loss and sadness.

Almost 3 months ago, we lost my dad.

We are still learning how to adjust to our new normal.

His loss is real and felt daily.



But, once again, we have been reminded that each day is a gift and to treat it as such.


We, as Christians, are called to live out our faith.


Living out our faith looks different for different folks.

Thank goodness!

I know I certainly wouldn't be called to live out my faith by singing a solo in the church choir.

Whew! (I know you are all relieved!)

But, I do know that God has planted a desire to work with children down in the very depths of my heart.

I love children! (I guess that is a good thing, since we have 6 kiddos.)

I have always loved children!

I was the girl who was always playing with baby dolls and "teaching school".

As soon as I old enough, I got a job working in my church's daycare center.

I loved it!

Actually, there is not a single job that I have held that has not involved caring for children.


God has shaped this calling over the years.


Beginning about 12 years ago, He opened my eyes to children with special needs.

Wow! Am I forever grateful for the time I have spent working and volunteering with organizations and churches that serve children with special needs and their families.

It is through this very experience, that our family was equipped to pursue three special needs adoptions.


Speaking of those three very special adoptions, God has taught our family many lessons and opened our eyes once again to His heart and His desire for these precious children.

Back in 2008, our entire family (at the time) was blessed to all travel to China for Maylee's adoption.

We were excited, but had no idea what God had in store.

We knew that God had called us to adopt this precious little 23 month old girl, who happened to have spina bifida.

What we did not know was how our lives would drastically change as a result of our YES to adoption.

As you know, once your eyes SEE things, you never forget.


You never forget...

Dozens of toddlers looking up at you with no twinkle in their eyes.

You never forget...

The solemn look and no emotion on your new daughter's perfect porcelain face.

You never forget...

The beds...the many, many beds. with nothing more than a thin blanket on a piece of wood.

You never forget...

How your precious daughter would gorge herself not knowing if more food was coming later.



You also never forget...

That first beautiful smile.

Or

The giggle you hear as your children, from near and far, play together on a hotel room floor.

Or

The first non-prompted hug!



It is because of all of these things, all these experiences, the good and the bad, that I choose to live where my trust is WITHOUT BORDERS.

God has clearly given me a passion of working with children with special needs.

He has also opened my eyes to things I never would have even dreamed about.


I am excited that God has allowed an opportunity for me to use some of the skills I have learned in working with children with special needs to serve some very precious children who live in Eastern Asia.

These precious children are orphans and it is with much delight that I have said YES!

YES, I will serve for 10 days at a foster home near Beijing in November and volunteer to help out in any way that I am needed.


I am also thrilled that my daughter, Heidi, will be joining me on this adventure!


Would you consider joining with us on this journey that God has laid before us?


We welcome your prayers.


Prayers for traveling mercies.

Prayers for my dear, sweet husband.

Prayers for our children, left in his care (delivered dinner will not be turned away) :)

Prayers that me and Heidi will follow His lead and serve in a way that brings Glory and shines a light.




You can also join in our journey by purchasing one of these awesome t-shirts. This will help offset some of our travel expenses.


send us an email with your size and we will send directions on how to purchase



We will only be taking orders through this Sunday, October 26th, so that we can have time to get them ordered and shipped out before we leave for our serving/volunteer adventure.

Just shoot us an email (phelpsbunch (at) gmail (dot) com) with the size you want and we will send the directions on how to make payment. Or, you can comment on this blog post with your t-shirt size and paypal address.

You can also donate through our site, www.youcaring.com/withoutborders

These super soft shirts with a super awesome message are only $20 (add $3, if shipping is needed)

We appreciate your support and feel free to share with anyone!!!



I would also love to hear how you are living WITHOUT BORDERS!

What has God laid on your heart today?



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Little Park Time

The youngest four enjoyed a quick trip to the park while Heidi was in a meeting this afternoon.

We had the place to ourselves.



And, we all had a mighty fine time!






Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Legacy

It's been almost a month since my dad passed away.

I've had so many thoughts swirling in my head since I received the phone call from my mom telling me that my dad had been out watering flowers at my aunt's house. His foot got tangled in the hose and he fell.

They were on the way to the ER.

A lot happened from the time that I got that call and when I laid my eyes on my dad lying in the ICU in a deep, deep sleep from which he would never wake due to the Traumatic Brain Injury he had suffered.

We had one final week.

7 days.

For that, I am thankful.

We each had time to say what was on our hearts and assure him that we would be okay if God was calling him HOME.

..........................

But, there are a few things that I cannot get out of my head and really wanted to put them on paper in hopes that I can take what I have learned and move on.

Speaking of moving on...

I've heard this many times how after a loved one passes away that the rest of the world around you just goes back to normal.  And, you feel left. Left in grief. Left in sorrow. And yet, you, too, must move on. Just in your own time. Your own way.

But, to get to the meaning of this post...

God has taught me many things over the past month.

I want to highlight just a few things that God has laid on my heart lately.


WORK DILIGENTLY

Among the many things that my dad was known for, being a hard worker was close to the top of the list.

Growing up, I remember him working...a lot.

Sometimes 2-3 jobs at any given time.

At times, I didn't really understand.

But, as I grew, I began to understand.

You see, my dad did not have much growing up.

Times were hard.

We heard many stories of how hard it was for him and his many siblings.

He wanted more opportunities for his own family.

I imagine he dreamed of that goal as he worked though college, something that was not the norm for his family.

It was his honor to send both me and my brother to great schools and then on to college.


It's funny, my dad would often comment to my friends..."I just don't know how Rebecca does it all. Husband, 6 Kids, Work, Homeschool, Volunteer Things, etc.

Well, Dad - I learned from the master of hard work and that leads me into my next point.



LOVE WHAT YOU DO AND WHY YOU DO IT


It did not matter if it was patrolling the Natchez Trace Parkway, teaching a Jr. High Science Class, directing traffic in a parking lot, taking up tickets at a ballgame...

You better bet if my dad was doing it, he loved it and gave it his all.

It didn't matter how small or menial the assignment was, he did it with all of his heart.

Y'all, if you could see the precise planning papers of various tasks throughout the years....

His attention to detail was impeccable.

I'm pretty sure this is where my OCD tendencies were born.

For example, there is only one right way to fold a towel.

No exceptions.

Nope, not even one.

And, they have to go into the cabinet a certain way as well.

And, don't even get me started on the dishwasher.

Let's just say, that's my job at my house and I am completely okay with that. :)

I digress....

Back to the point.


This verse comes to mind in covering the past two concepts.

Whatever you do, work at it with all you heart,  as working for the Lord, not for man.
Colossians 3:23

You see, I believe when you are in God's will and doing the work He set out for you, whatever that may be, it is with pure joy that you give it your all. After all, it is that very work that He has led you to in the first place. He alone can provide the strength needed to complete the tasks set before you.

Lastly, and this one seems so cliché.


LIFE IS SHORT.

But, it is.

My dad was fortunate to live 82 years on this earth doing exactly what he loved every day.

I know many are not blessed to even make it to their 82nd year.

But, this simple reflection has conjured up all sorts of emotions for me.

I am a dreamer.

Okay, if you could hear my husband's laugh as he would read that statement....

Well, he says I live in A Rainbow World. You know, all rainbows and unicorns.

Hence, the name of this blog. :)

I have big dreams, y'all.

Why not?

I have actually personally witnessed several dreams, that seemed insurmountable, actually come to fruition.

Isn't that what our Heavenly Father wants from us?

Why do small things that we can tackle on our own?

Dream Big

Dream without limitations


If God  is leading you in a certain direction, follow.


Is God calling you to do something that just seems too big?




My favorite song right now is Hillsong's Oceans.

This song is my personal anthem right now...


You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where my feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me
Take me deeper that my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am yours and You are mine



May I live so that my trust is without borders.

Spirit, lead.

I am Yours and You are mine.


........................................................




Thank you, Dad, for all that you taught me and so many others!

I have no doubt that you heard the following words when you entered heaven's gates -"Well done, good and faithful servant."
















 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Our Super Star


Sam David has the incredible opportunity to play for our state's only wheelchair basketball team.

This is only the 2nd year for our team's existence. Therefore, we are very limited with resources.

Last season, our team only had access to used, borrowed sports chairs to use during practice and games.

There was not a single one of those sports chairs that came even close to being small enough for our SD.

So, Sam David just used his personal day chair which came with challenges. But, even flipping over a few times on the court didn't slow our tough guy down.

But, a few weeks ago, we got a message from Sam David's coach that we might be able to borrow a small sports chair from another team in a neighboring state. 

Wow! What a blessing!

So, at our practice this past Saturday, Sam David got to try out the borrowed sports chair for the first time.


Y'all, it was a perfect fit!

I don't think he stopped smiling for the entire practice!


Once again, we have been blessed beyond measure!

We cannot wait to cheer on our Sam David and the Wheelcats this upcoming season!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Sometimes... I forget

I know this may sound crazy.

But, sometimes I forget that my three youngest kiddos are adopted.

I forget that they haven't always been a member of our family.

I even forget that they are Chinese.

Crazy, huh?

But, it's true!

Then, I run across a picture like this.




Mike and I just returned home from a meeting about readoption.

This is something that needs to be done with internationally adopted children so they can obtain a birth certificate from the state you live in. It's not absolutely necessary, but tends to make life easier in the future.

We have already done this for Maylee, but we need to now go through the process for Sam David and Emma Claire.

So, when we got home from the meeting, I immediately went to their adoption file folders to locate the needed documents so that we could get the ball rolling.

That's when I ran across that precious picture. It's the youngest picture we have of our Sam David. A real treasure!

My eyes immediately welled up with tears.

I ached for that time he spent without a mommy and daddy to snuggle, to tuck him in at night, to kiss the boo boos.

Sigh.

The truth is..I forget.

But, it doesn't take much to bring me to my knees.

Oh, how thankful we are that God led us to Sam David.

I would do anything to have been with him for the first 2.5 years of his life.

But, that was not God's plan.

Our Heavenly Father is in the business of making beauty from ashes.

We serve a Mighty God!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Another Milestone ~ Happy Gotcha Day, Sam David!

Four years, y'all...

I cannot believe that it has been four years since our Sam David was placed in our arms.

What a crazy time it was four years ago.

Maylee was fighting a terrible bone infection and had spent the entire summer in the hospital.

In fact, when Mike and I left for China, Maylee was still in the hospital. Talk about stressful!

But, with Maylee in the care of grandparents, her doting siblings and a wonderful nursing staff at UMC, we boarded a plane to travel to China for our precious boy.

As with any adoption, there were a lot of unknowns.

Like Maylee, Sam David has spina bifida. But, unlike Maylee, he had never received any surgery for his spina bifida and he also had uncorrected bilateral clubfoot.

But, we were prepared. Expect the worst, but hope for the best. That was our motto!

We finally arrived to our hotel and walked in to see a crib!

Things were getting real!


Needless to say, we did not sleep much the first night we were there.

But, nonetheless, the next day finally arrived and we loaded up with the rest of our travel group to meet our new children face to face.


We anxiously waited in the Civil Affairs office in Guangzhou with a room full of anxious parents.

Finally, our time had arrived.

In comes our precious, tiny Sam David carried in the arms of a Chinese lady.

He was wearing a short-sleeved Hawaiian shirt and a diaper.

That was it.

He was handed over to me...

No, actually, I had to pry him out of the lady's arms.

I won't lie.

It was not pretty.

He screamed!

He cried!

We tried everything... juice..nope....snacks...nope....cuddles...nope

Time...he just needed time. Time for everything to sink in.

By the end of the day, he was starting to realize that we might be okay.

But, still, there was a sense of loss in his eyes.

His lip....he sucked on his bottom lip for comfort.



But, after a few days Sam David started to not only accept our love and affection, but also share some with us in return.

We had the incredible opportunity to visit the foster home where Sam David had lived most of the first two and a half years of his life.




We will forever be grateful for the House of Grace and the love that Ms. Sandra and the precious nannies had for our boy!

It was such a blessing to spend time there with the precious kids in their care.

God planted a seed there in our hearts.

God has been watering, weeding and cultivating that seed over the past several years and we cannot wait to see what fruit will produce from that visit four years ago.




So, so much has happened over the last four years.

Sam David had a major spinal surgery to detether his spinal cord and then we started the process of serial castings to repair his bilateral clubfoot.







Our brave boy has come so far and we are so very proud of him!


It didn't take long for our sweet boy to start showing his incredible personality!


Sam David continues to amaze us!


Sam David LOVES...

playing Wheelchair Basketball for the MS Wheelcats

playing Challenger League baseball

participating in 5K races with his friends, Mrs. Kim and Ms. Terry

playing outside with his siblings and neighborhood friends

building with legos

his "squishy" pillow

singing

ice cream

his mommy! :)



We could not be any more proud of our super special boy!




And, now I will leave with some recent pics of our precious boy!











Happy 4th Gotcha Day, Sam David!


We love you!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Year of the Horse

We all had a great time last weekend as we celebrated Chinese New Year.
















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