Why We Call Our Blog the Miracle of More

The miracle is a beautiful image of Ephesians 3:20--more than I can ask or imagine. Every day is a miracle. Every moment is a miracle. Specifically for our family, the miracle of more is our family growing in ways I would never have imagined when we first committed to adoption 8 years ago. But, the greatest miracle is the change in ME!

If you have questions about adoption, our work in South Africa, or spina bifida, please email me at rbmattox@bellsouth.net

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Story of God's Grace

This story is unbelievable...unless you believe in an Almighty, All-Knowing God, full of goodness and mercy. If you'd like to warm your heart, click here.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas

We've been busy, too busy for blog posting. I worked so hard the days leading up to Christmas, that I spent yesterday "vegetating,"--slept late, really late, then took a 2 1/2 hour nap later in the day...but I think I've recuperated!

Every year, we bake cookies for Santa, the day before Christmas Eve. My kids are always joined by my nephew Joshua, and this year by our friends the Stretches! It was 5 hours of hard labor, but the kids LOVE it! And, we have lost of cookies to share.
Click to play Christmas Cookies
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Our own family tradition of 17 years....when my paternal granmother passed away, we started a new tradition, having family over to our house for Christmas Eve. Stan had to work, so I had to have the big kids help out more than ever, preparing a meal for almost 30 people!!! And, I love it!!! The best compliment I have ever received about my cooking came from Stan. He says, "This dressing tastes like my Grandma's."

And, here is where the second hand onion story comes....As Brandon was chopping the onion, Caleb was choppin celery. After Brandon's eyes began to water, Caleb said his eyes were watering too, the effect of second hand onion.



Smiles from the family after a BIG Christmas Eve Dinner, my family of 7, a photo of my one and only best-friend sister with my parents, and Stan's family.





Following Christmas Eve dinner, Caleb helped me cut out name tags for Santa. He said, "It's really hard for me to buy into that whole Santa thing when you're making me cut out my own gift tags. "

This year, on Christmas morning, I decided not to spend my time taking pictures or video. I simply enjoyed watching the children open their gifts. Ellie and Josie-Tatum came to tell me that Santa had come. (Stan was at work, so he missed his first Christmas morning in our 25 years of marriage.) The girls excitedly shouted, "He brought a see saw." Then Ellie said, "And a shovel and a bucket." Well, I knew the shovel and bucket were outside in the sandbox, so I asked if she was sure. She said, "In one of those boxes somewhere."

JT headed up the stairs quickly and shouted, "I'm going to be first." Elie, who is usually upset when being left behind, shouted, "And I'll be last."

There is so much magic and joy in Chrismtas when you are 3 years old. Josie-Tatum enjoyed herself, so did the big kids, but to hear Ellie say, "WOW!" over and over again with each gift was priceless. She was a little confused by the last box she opened. It was empty, but a message was in the box that read, "Look outside." She remained confused until we went outside. She had hoped for a sandbox, but she would tell everybody she wanted a bucket and a shovel for Christmas. I had to explain that several times.

Here is a video of her first moments in the sand box. I didn't try to edit, so you'll hear Josie-Tatum announcing she needs to go ummmmmm.....pee. And, listen for Ellie's, "Wow!" one more time. (I'm still trying to upload the video...having issues.)

My cousin Tom has journeyed south for the holidays. He grew up here in south Georgia, but now lives in North Dakota. He left home with sub zero temperatures and spent Christmas Day with a high of 80 degrees. Ellie had never met him, but she quickly decided his daughter Amanda was okay. After she followed crawling Ellie all around Grandma's lawn, she announced when leaving, "I love her. She is my new best friend." I enjoyed catching up with Carrie. Hey Carrie!!!

After we came home from my Grandma Tatum's house, we went back out to play. While Ellie was digging in the sand, Josie-Tatum climbed on top of the crawl-through space on the swing set. She shouted, "I'm QUEEN OF THE WORLD, World, World, world..."
Ellie shouted, "I'm QUEEN OF THE SANDBOX, Sandbox, sandbox......"

Today my great nephews, Jack and Brodie, came over for our Christmas with them. We don't get to see them often, so it is always a blessing when they are over. And, if you're reading, today is a special day for Jack, please whisper a prayer for him. The LORD is answering a prayer for his life.
video

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

And His Name Shall Be Called





I've always decorated the outside of our house; this year, though, I wanted to add something. So, yesterday, I spent time making the new sign. His name is Jesus. He is the reason I sing. He is the reason I celebrate. His life through me changes everything. His birth and death make it possible for me to be adopted into God's family. What a blessed gift!

And, tonight, I asked Josie-Tatum, "Do you know who said His name would be Jesus." And, she knew. She knew it was an angel. Praise the LORD!

I often forget how special our times are when everyone is home...until we're all together. This day has been blessed indeed, a gift from above. We've not had any snow to play in, but everyone has cheerfully chipped in to help do the household chores, in sweet anticipation of Christmas Day.

I had gone with Brandon to town, and when we came back, this is how I found Stan....


We spent part of the evening at a local bank. This business decks the lawn like no other. Parents and children from all over come to the bank in the evening to ride a miniature train, walk through the child sized gingerbread house, the igloo, and take pictures. It's become a family tradition for many.




And, just before bedtime, we spent a rather unique moment together. SHHHHH! Don't tell anybody. BUT...we went up on the rooftop...not the high peaked roof, but the roof over the front porch. We sat there, sipped hot chocolate, and yelled, "Merry Christmas!" to passersby. We made a memory!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

White as Snow--A God Thing

"Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow."

I love Christmas...as I've said many times before. I love baking cookies, putting up lights, decorating Christmas trees, Christmas specials on TV, Christmas carols, and all things Christmas.

I've pondered much lately, though, how much of our celebrations have nothing to do with the Christ child, or how the meaning is lost. Please do not read this post thinking I am criticizing others...for I truly am not. I am soul searching.

I have determined that I will spend this last week before Christmas actively engaging the children in a discussion about the true meaning of Christmas...and of course, having fun while we're at it.

I had been thinking about the scripture above...and realizing I didn't know where it came from...had one of those, "Is that really what the Bible says?" moments. I had planned to have a snow activity right here in south Georgia where highs have been near 80 degrees the last few days. How was I to accomplish this, you might wonder? Well, I bought a can of snow for $1.00 at Wal-Mart. I decided the girls would have fun spraying the windows of the house with the snow, and we could talk about Jesus at the same time.

Last night before I went to bed, I found the scripture above, in the book of Isaiah Chapter 1. As I was drifting off to sleep, I began to wonder, though. Isn't Israel rather dry? How would the people of Isaiah's day know what snow was? Here comes to God thing....when I got up this morning, I read another chapter in the Beth Moore book, "To Live Is Christ." She described a certain place in the Bible near Mount Olympus, warm coastal seas and snow capped mountains.

Now, many may say....That was a God thing? It was for me...I had questions about what I was planning with my children, and without any more intentional research on the subject of snow, God has sent answers to my questions.

So, today, the girls and I read from Isaiah. And, you know what?? I've read to them before from their Bibles and their Bible story books, but their attention amazed me! We talked about the Old and New Testament, and how Old Testament prophets foretold of the arrival of Jesus. They both sat and listened....(I had to have Whitney take pictures.) Later in the day, Josie-Tatum brought me the Bible and asked, "Mama, where was that verse about the snow? I want to write it." Wow! Talk about joy in a mama's heart. We even talked about the bubbles in our bubble bath being like our sins after Jesus, as white as snow.

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the prompting, and thank you for the little sponges in our homes who will soak up your word if we will only be faithful to present it to them.

Merry Christmas!
Robbie



Friday, December 19, 2008

An Abundance of Photos!

School's Out! Hip, Hip, Hooray!
You can feel the excitement in our house. Even the teenagers are being kinder to the little girls. ;)
And, here's lots of photos of various moments from Disney.

Pooh's Playful Spot is a good place for moms to rest and kids to get rid of excess energy.







Visiting Mickey's House and Minnie's House





Pictures From Pixie Hollow where one passes before meeting the fairies....




Osborn's Family Spectacle of Lights is a must see at Disney Hollywood Studios at Christmas. Try to be there when the lights first come on. The excitement is awesome! Then there's "snow"--Central Florida Style, but it sure can excite some south Georgia girls.




JT is a tween before her time. What should I expect from the child who was reading in Pre-K? She loves all things Hannah Montana, High School Musical, and Camp Rock. She enjoyed this show in front of the Mickey's Sorcerer's Hat at Disney Hollywood Studios.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Mom's Delight



Do you want to know why I really LOVE Disney World? It's because I delight in seeing my children's eyes light up. I love it that they still believe in things that are impossible in the eyes of adults. I love to see them feel like princesses when a princess is talking to them. I love to hear them laugh and I love to hear them sing. I love the look of anticipation when they hear the parade music coming. I loved watching Ellie's face when Mulan walked up while she was taking a picture with Mushu. I loved running...literally...running with Josie-Tatum down Main Street USA when the park opened at the Magic Kingdom.

And, I truly believe the LORD delights in our pleasures, for every good and perfect gift is from Him. I beleieve He smiles when He sees my smile watching my children. I believe He has given us the opportunity to know His heart when He gives us children. He wants us to know the joy in sharing our lives with someone we love. He wants to show us how deep that LOVE can be.

Two Princesses in Front of a Castle:


Our Hotel: All Star Movies Resort....lots of photo opportunities...huge over-sized statues of characters from Classic Disney Movies..like 101 Dalmations, Fantasia, Toy Story, and more.


Disney Tip #6:
It is well worth the effort to get to each of the parks BEFORE opening hours, at least 15 minutes, 30 minutes isn't bad. We've found the gates open about 5 minutes or so before official opening, so you can make your way to the area of park you're most hoping to visit and beat the crowd there. We had the most fun arriving at the Magic Kingdom before it opened. For the first time, we made it to the MK Opening.

We were surprised when we saw someone come to the front and welcome us to the MK. Then, all of the characters came riding in on the steam engine. When we made it into the park, we almost ran to ride Dumbo, where lines can be long. As we ran along Main Street, USA, shop keepers came out on the sidewalk, all wearing Mickey gloves. They would give the kids High 5's, (Um 4's if you're a mouse) as we walked/ran past. The laughter was priceless.
And, we did more in the first hour we arrived than in the next 3 hours, by beating the crowd.



Disney Tip #7: If you're riding on Disney Transportation, plan to head toward the bus stop at least an hour before you want to get into the parks. It doesn't usually take that long, but if you plan for less, you may get frustrated b/c you'll arrive later than you had hoped.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Crazy for Characters!!!

We greeted the original Disney Characters at Epcot. Ellie was thrilled with her first meeting, her friends from Mickey Mouse Playhouse. She scratched Pluto behind his ear and he kicked up his hind legs!






The line for Princesses at the Magic Kingdom was short this year, only 15 minutes, because everybody else wanted to be in line to see the fairies. We hopped right in line to meet the princesses. They took their time with the girls and chatted with them before pictures.






Not sure what Ellie was "up to" in this picture, can't remember, but she was into her story, and Belle was a good listener.

But Josie-Tatum still wanted to see the fairies, where the line quoted 75 minutes. She said she was willing to wait, so wait we did! The girls were troopers. I must say the fairies rushed us through more than the princesses. I guess they were feeling the time pressure, knowing what the line was like outside.




Disney Tip #6--Check out the map and information given you when you enter the park. There you will find the places where your child can meet his/her favorite characters.

Disney Tip #7--While bags are checked when you enter the park, you can take snacks. We purchase some snacks while we're there, but they are expensive. We like to take our own, to save money, and make waiting in line a little easier. You can polish off an apple while you wait!
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Ellie Min Chun
Josie-Tatum's MeiMei