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

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Ellie and I both slept beautifully last night. I woke Ellie up at 9:30, so we could go to church. (We skipped Sunday School.) She kept up with her "I want mama-itis," so we put her wheel chair beside the piano stool, and she sat with me while I played for the morning service.

She got cranky in the afternoon, following lots of visits from friends and family. I laid down beside her, and sleep caught her unaware. She slept for 2 hours.

She wanted to go to church again, but this time I had to hold her. She never could get comfortable, but back home now, she is happy in big sister Whitney's lap.

I thank God for my Big Kids, who have carried her upstairs, humored her, held her when she is grumpy. I will try to post more pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Home Again

He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul.

Praise the LORD! We are home.
When we awoke this morning...his mercies are new every morning....the swelling in Ellie's foot was dramtically better. Ellie ate very little, but we had only one hurdle left. She needed a bm.

We took drastic, um, suppository, measures. Once she had her bm, and the nurses knew the works worked, we were on our way.

As we waited for the works to work, Ellie enjoyed herself and felt more like herself than she had all week. We didn't have to keep her on her back all day, so she spent much time in her wheel chair. Once again, Fatima helped to entertain Ellie. She was so kind, reading to her, and again, giving tips on maneuvering a wheel chair. We went outside and the girls took turns in adaptive swings. They painted, well Ellie messed, with fabric paint on stuffed dolls. Shriner's is so good for kids. We visited with some dogs at pet therapy.

We left with a trailblazer loaded from the bottom to the top, with wheel chair, special car seat, walker, luggage, all the toys given by friends and Child Life at the hospital, 6 mylar balloons, diapers....on my! We had given Ellie a dose of her pain medication to make sure she was comfortable on the ride home. Until she fell asleep, she was inconsolably irritable. Nothing made her happy, until, thank goodness whe went to sleep for over 2 hours.

We stopped at the country's favorite, well for those 60 and older, and us, Cracker Barrel. Ellie was still not happy. Finally I took her out of her wheel chair, and held her. She gave up her supper, and ate out of my plate, not much but the most she's eaten since surgery.

She was relatively easily to entertain the remaining 1 1/2 hours home.

And, here we are! Thank you for your prayers, as they have carried us through. Please keep them coming throughout our adventures in Spicaville.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Love, Grace, and Mercy

Whit did a marvelous job updating you all yesterday, but I didn't have the camera with me to take anymore pictures.

Both Ellie and I slept better last night. While I remained in her bed, I slept for several hours, with only a slight stirring when the nurse came in. We were able to keep her foot elevated all nigth, but this morning, the swelling was worse. Her foot was so tight, I thought the skin might break. So, we are not yet home.

We went, however, to the "cast techinician." We were told that we wanted to disturb the cast as little as possible, so as not to disturb the hip. He did, however, snip the cast a little around her ankle, to try to give some more ciruclation. Then he wrapped the foot some to try and force the fluid back into her body. Praise the LORD, that has begun to help.

The challenge of the day was keeping Ellie on her back ALL day while we kept her foot above her heart. If you know Ellie, you know we were up against a mighty will.
We tried the wagon again, but she only wanted me to hold her. Finally, we went to the cafeteria/activity room, known as the fish ball, but called the living room by Ellie. There were used 3 chairs side by and side and two in front. I sat in one, with Ellie's head in my lap. We used pillows to prop up her middle and her legs. She sat there and played for almost 2 hours. Whitney brought Chic Filet icedream and sweet tea. Ellie ate the most she's eaten since surgery. Then, I finally had to ummmmmm, tinkle.

After meeting with the doctor in said position, we went for an x-ray to see if the hip was remaining where he wanted it. As we talked a played a little more, Ellie went to sleep.

When she awoke we had a "bath" and got her new wheel chair. I will do my best to post a picture tomorrow. She looks so grown up in her chair and wants to push it herself. She actually is learning how from the most precious little 8 year old, named Fatima, who is from Mexico, but lives in Brunswick and is our roommate.

The fever has been gone all day! I'm not sure about the blood sugar, but if the swelling stays down tonight, we can go home tomorrow.

I am overwhelmed by the messages you have sent to me and to the Father. I don't have much time to reply, but know that I read every one. I keep reminding myself that we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.

His love is shown through each of you. His grace and mercy are carring us through.

God Bless,

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Day After...

So, it's important to mention that this is not Robbie, it's Whitney...Ellie is refusing to let mom out of her sight for long (except when we distracted her with crafts and face paint from their activity times...go me). So, Mom asked me to post the rest of the day's events...Whitney doesn't know blogger, so we'll see how this goes!
Biggest this of the day was probably that the fever is gone and she's breathing fine on her own! Praise the LORD for that!

Ellie was still a little drowsy this morning when we went by this morning. She had slept some the night before (which was not true for mom, who slept in the bed with Ellie the entire night). Right after the rest of the crew arrived, it was time for one of their activity sections (there's 3 in a day). For this morning, it was time for music therapy. The lady played the guitar with the girls, gave them shakers to play along with her, and in return the girls taught her how to sing Mary Had A Little Lamb and Twinkle Twinkle in chinese. The therapist also had a giant guitar pick that Ellie used to strum the guitar from where she was laying. It was the most of 'Ellie' that we'd seen since the day that she had surgery.

Next, the nurses brought a wagon for us to take her out in for a little while. This actually proved to be great for her, as it helped calm her down. I think she was having some breakthrough pain, so a little distraction therapy came in handy (well, so did grandma and grandpa coming up while we were outside)

Next, after we had lunch, laid Ellie in the bed for a rest, got told by a PA that she might be able to go home tomorrow, we went to the therapy room to be fitted for a carseat and wheelchair. While everyone was talking, Ellie played with some Weebels...don't know if i spelled that right...but if you're clueless, think of the commercial about "they wobbel but they don't fall down".

Anywho, a little after that, Dr. Kim came in and expressed some concern over some swelling in her feet, which we originally thought was from the IV, but is yet to go down and looks like it might be increasing. He is wanting her to keep her feet up as much as possible (as in they should be the highest part of their body). He also seemed to think that it would take a little while for the swelling to go down, so it will probably be Saturday before they can go home, but JT and I will be returning tomorrow. So, pray that the swelling will go down so they can get HOME!

Anyways, Mom might be back tomorrow, she might not, it might be the literary stylings of Whitney again tomorrow...we'll have to see!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Big Day

Loopy Ellie after the first meds...before she was put to sleep.

Wondering where to begin, I will say, Praise the LORD. In everything give thanks for this is the will of Christ Jesus in you. Ellie is now resting peacefully but out of the deep sleep of anesthesia. Dr. Kim was able to accomplish his goals. I was blessed to be surrounded by my family today, and both of our pastors. The pastors left home at 1 a.m. and stayed until Ellie was fully awake.

This day has been very long, arriving at the hospital at 7:00, seeing Ellie off to OR at 8:00, the nurse coming to say surgery had actually begun at 9:20 and that 4 hour surgery would begin.

The nurse came out every 1 1/2 hours to say surgery was progressing as hoped. It took longer that we expected, though, about 5 hours rather than 4. The doctor came out and we went to see the xray, how he had "built" a hip using a bone graft creating a larger "umbrella" for the femur to fit under. Then, he cut and angled the femur to fit better into the socket.

Her cast was on the hip and only down one leg. He told us how important it would be for her to be still, lying, or sitting for the nexxt 6 weeks. I asked if she could crawl...he said no....I said she was a busy girl. He said we might better put some cast down the other leg. He asked what I thought. I didn't want to make that decision alone....I asked the preacher. He said, "You won't be able to keep that girl still." So the cast is down both legs, only part way down the left.

Dr. Kim said we would see her in about 15 minutes. 30 minutes passed. Then 45. Finally, they called the parents of Ellie. She was having difficutly coming out of anesthesia and breathing on her won. She was doing better, but it took nearly 3 hours for her to come out of the deep sleep enough for them to move her into her room. She has a fever tonight, and her blood sugar has dropped. The nurse said these things are not normal. PLEASE continue your faithful prayers.

She was sleeping when I left her just now for dinner. Grandma is with her. Thank you for the many messages I've received today, for your prayers, and calls. I will try to reply to you all tomorrow. I can hardly fathom the peace I felt throughout this day; only the love, peace, and strenght of Jesus could make that possible. (Of course, I was little shaky during that she isn't waking up well moment.)

I'm showering quickly and going back to the hospital tonight.

Ellie Post-Op--May she never be this still again. ;)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

God's Creation

Pre-Op Today--Surgery Begins at 8 am tomorrow

All of you mothers out there with children who have special needs can understand what an ordeal today has been. We were at the hospital for 5 hours. I am so glad we decided to spend the night at the hotel, rather than stay at the hospital tonight. Ellie and I both needed to get out of there!

The day began well. The picture above is of Ellie, with the Child Life Coordinator at Shriner's. We went to x-ray first this morning, then we met with Tara, from child life. She brought a big doll named Sally, and she explained to Ellie what will happen in the morning. Ellie got to put things on Sally that the nurses will put on her tomorrow. It was the coolest thing I've never imagined.

I must say the staff at Shriner's is awesome. Everyone is so child friendly and family friendly. We met with Tara, and a nurse practitioner, and a care coordinator, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, another nurse, the anesthesiologist, one or two somebody elses, and the two ladies who had to take Ellie's blood.

We were there so long they gave us armbands so we could have a free lunch in the cafeteria. Then we went back for a cathed urinalysis and the blood work. Oh, my!

That was by far the worst experience of my life with Ellie. (It may rank right up there with a spinal tap on Whitney when she was just months old.) I have learned that Ellie does not have good veins. Three nurses worked together while I held Ellie. They stuck and she screamed and they kept trying and she screamed and everybody tried to comfort her, but they couldn't get any blood. They put the band on her other arm and decided those veins weren't good enough either. Ellie was so upsest they had me pick her up for a while and just love on her. Then I sat down with her and they decided to use her hand. I was praying, and it was successful, but obviously so painful as she screamed and screamed and cried and screamed. When they were finished she was drenched with sweat and sobbing and gulping. I thought she might throw up.

We had one more paper to sign, so when everyone left the room, I just kept comforting her. She was motioning here and there around the room. She wouldn't say anything until finally in a whipser, "I want to leave." OM goodness. I swayed with her back and forth until she fell asleep.

I am grateful for the child friendly staff who had someone carry all of my things to the car so I could carry Ellie. She is now happily watching Ni Hao Kailan on the DVD player, and we're waiting for Josie-Tatam, Grandma, and Grandpa to show up. Then we're planning to go to the beach for about an hour--our last hurrah! When I mentioned we were going to beach, the anesthesiologist told us his favorite place to go and printed directions for us. How cool is that!!! (He also said he couldn't wait to see her personality when he had to give her the medication to sedate her before they take her from her mommy. He told me she would be the most compliant child I've ever seen.)

This day is over...but tomorrow is the big day. Thank you for your prayers. I have certainly felt them today.

Enjoy these pics!

Monday, August 25, 2008

We are Here!

We are here in Tampa, and here is the proof that Brandon cooked my breakfast...but you might want to scroll down for the best pics!

--Stan dancing with pom poms to cheer Josie-Tatum up. He told me if I posted them as they were I would need a new husband, as he was dancing without his shirt. So...here they are cropped, pom poms in hand, and the face that says, "Oh, No...I'm caught!"

And, now back to our broadcast....

Thank you, Jesus, for the angels your word tells us are encamped around us. We saw several wrecks and passed through two patches of storms. For a moment I think I forgot my "big girl" panties. I was thinking...I want to call somebody and tell them to pray, but I can't pull out my cell phone in this weather, driving down the interstate. I slowed down to 45 mph, and this person in front of me hit his breaks.

Jesus was there, though, and as if prompted by the Holy Spirit, I thought...I don't have to ask anyone to pray for me. I can pray for myself...so I began to pray and praise the LORD, and I felt His peace returning...aka I found my big girl panties. Ellie and I sang as loud as we could to my new "favorite for the moment" CD, the Sonflowerz. We sang, "My Adoration," "Cover Us, and "All Over the World." I started feeling so better singing, that we sang and sang, louder and louder until we got off the interstate, and I couldn't find the hotel. Of course, I've found it now.

Ellie, who did NOT take a nap today, was still wide awake and wound tight when we arrived at the hotel at 9:00. It's 10:00 now, and I haven't put her to bed. I'm letting her wind down in the bathtub while I wind down on the computer. Okay, she's splashing loudly now....I better go get her.

We won't have to get up very early tomorrow. Her appointment is at 10:00, and we expect to be there for around 3 hours, and, learn what time her surgery is on Thursday. I'll let you know!


Sunday was blessed day, indeed.

Our church had such a sweet special prayer for us last night following the evening service.

Stan was trying to spend extra moments with both of is girls. He was singing along to Camp Rock with Josie-Tatum. Once, he began dancing with pom poms.

On Sunday morning, JT began missing her mommy who hasn't left home yet, so Daddy picked up the pom poms again. I snuck a picture, and will try to post it tonight when Ellie and I get to Tampa.

And, this morning, Brandon cooked my breakfast! How sweet was that?

Thank you again, so many times, for your prayers,

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Our Fay-Cation

School was cancelled yesterday, due to Flood warnings from TS Fay. I had a good day staying home with my girls, knowing Ellie and I will leave for Tampa after school on Monday. Thank you, Jesus for one more day at home.

Yesterday, we played and made homemade icecream.
Today, we've been shopping as a family and went to a birthday party.

Ellie's pre-op is on Tuesday, early morning, thus the reason Ellie and I are leaving Monday afternoon, and spending the night in Tampa. After pre-op, I plan to take Ellie to the beach, just 30 miles from Shriner's. I hope to watch her enjoy one more time fun in the sand, sun, and water, before she's unable to do those things for 12 weeks. I'll try to post pictures, not sure how much computer access I'll have after that, but I should be able to post one more time after surgery, before most of the family goes home.

The rest of the family will come down on Tuesday evening and be with us then and through the surgery, probably until Thursday. Ellie and I will be alone on Friday...until we get to go home, which I'm hoping will be by Sunday....maybe before.

Your prayers mean more to me than you can imagine. I know the peace I feel as we wait comes from above, and God is answering the fervent prayers of many.

God Bless You!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

If She Only Knew

If she only knew how many people loved her.
If she only know how many people are praying for her.

I've received so much encouragement over the past month, as I asked faithful prayer warriors to life Ellie up in prayer for the 30 days preceding her surgery.

The founder of Ellie's foster home replied and asked my permission to share the prayer request with friends in Beijing who loved and cared for Ellie. The next day I received an email from a lady who lives in Beijing telling me she was praying for Ellie.

I received a message from someone in Canada who told me she was praying.

My wonderful group of prayer warriors from the Bethany COP yahoo group have been the best, most encouraging, uplifting group of saints I could have ever asked for. Ten years ago, would I have ever dreamed that I would have so many cyber-brothers and cyber-sisters.

We have a good friend from Kentucky who happened to be staying with us the week we started the prayer vigil. She went back home and her church and friends have joined us in prayer.

I really would like to take the time to list the names of all the friends from all over the country who are remembering Ellie. Two days ago, a message from someone I'd not heard from in months, who just "happened" to check out our blog...she's praying.
The next day two messages from "strangers", but not really, members of the family of God who followed a link to our blog. They are praying.

I checked out a friends' blog, and she had the sweetest post. She had a picture of our family and was requesting those who read her blog to be in prayer.

A friend from church mentioned how her family is praying daily for Ellie. And, one night, during that prayer, when her husband mentioned Ellie's name, her 3-year-old son said, "Because we love her."

Last night, our associate pastor told me as he was praying with his son, in second grade and in my Sunday School class, his son whispered during the prayer, "Don't forget Ellie."

My wonderfully spiritual hairdresser, who couldn't help but cry as she told me today she was praying for Ellie and her circle of prayer buddies were joining her.

And, the shepherd of our flock, a man of God, Brother Randall, who has Ellie's name on sticky notes to remind him to pray. One Sunday leaving church, he mentioned Ellie and then said he felt the LORD moving on him to pray right there while shaking hands in the back of the church. He began to pray, and then he was speechless. The Holy Spirit took over, and no words were spoken, but I can only imagine what sweet sounds the Son was uttering to the Father on Elllie's behalf.

And, to each of you, who have followed and prayed, cried with me, and rejoiced...
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.

And, most of all, to the Holy Spirit himself who makes intercessions for us with groanings which cannot be uttered, for I so do NOT know how to pray. To Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, who is at the right hand of the Father, the right hand of righteousness, making intercessions for Ellie, for her mama, her family, for you, thank you.

May the LORD bless your faithfulness to us and to Him,

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bring It On--One Week from Surgery

Lyrics by Steven Curtis Chapman

I didn’t come lookin’ for trouble
And I don’t want to fight needlessly
But I’m not gonna hide in a bubble
If trouble comes for me
I can feel my heart beating faster
I can tell something’s coming down
But if it’s gonna make me grow stronger then…

Bring it on
Let the lightning flash, let the thunder roll, let the storm winds blow
Bring it on
Let the trouble come, let the hard rain fall, let it make me strong
Bring it on

Now, maybe you’re thinkin’ I’m crazy
And maybe I need to explain some things
‘Cause I know I’ve got an enemy waiting
Who wants to bring me pain
But what he never seems to remember
What he means for evil God works for good
So I will not retreat or surrender

Now, I don’t want to sound like some hero
‘Cause it’s God alone that my hope is in
But I’m not gonna run from the very things
That would drive me closer to Him
So bring it on

Bring it on
Let the lightning flash, let the thunder roll, let the storm winds blow
Bring it on
Let the trouble come, let it make me fall on the One who’s strong
Bring it on
Let the lightning flash, let the thunder roll, let the storm winds blow
Bring it on
Let me be made weak so I’ll know the strength of the One who’s strong
Bring it on

Okay, I'm not there yet, but I want to be. I may not be able to sing every word with my whole heart, but I do want to live them. I want to be so in His will, that come what may, He will receive honor and glory. I pray every morning to be reminded that his mercies are new for the day, and enough for the day.
His strength is perfect in my weakness. And for sure His treasure in this earthen vessel reminds me that the power within is of Him.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

This Crazy Girl!

So, I had this crazy girl at the urologist. (Yes, she does have a bladder infection. Please pray that this and her runny nose clear up quickly before her surgery.)

But, onto the crazy part: A man I know that Ellie has never met came in the door. I spoke to him and Ellie said, "I NOT have your sugar." Well, I truly believe she had mistaked him for another man with gray hair and a full beard who attends our church.

So, this man and I began to make conversation. He caught up on the changes in our family. Ellie quickly decided he was the kind of person she could enjoy talking to, so she told him, "Last night I poo pooed on the potty. And it was big snake, too, wasn't it Mama?"

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine! And, God is giving me many laughs before the BIG surgery day!

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Never Know

I never know what I will find when Ellie comes to bed. I will help her put her pajamas on, but when she comes to bed, something happens.

She is often busy while we are reading bedtime stories, so she may come to bed in her pajamas and a hat.

A few nights ago, she had put another shirt on over her hot pink pajamas, was wearing bright green bloomers from a dress, and a pretty pair of white shoes with pale pink trim.

Last night she went to bed with those some shoes on with her pajamas. Whitney and Caleb joked about how they would never have gotten away with that. I reminded them that I am 43 years old, and I have learned to look over what doesn't hurt a kid. Plus, I don't have the energy to start an argument with my 3 year old. ;)

Then, when I got Ellie up this morning....who knows when this took place. She had added a pair of socks to her ensemble--not just any socks, but green and red striped Christmas socks that went to her knees. This still with her princess pajama top, no bottoms, and her pretty white shoes with the pale pink trim. Where did she find Christmas socks in August? I wish I had the foresight to have the camera ready at 6:30 a.m.

Tonight was a little less humorous, but she surprised me when I changed her diaper for bed. She insisted again on only wearing her pajama shirt. She didn't have on the shoes. When I changed her diaper, though, she lifted her shirt, and she was wearing a bright orange head band around her waist.

This girl is a hoot!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Two Weeks Away From Surgery

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."

Last night, after my fatigue from work, hearing my children talk and play loudly all night, a headache, and little patience all afternoon, I marveled that God had entrusted me with these precious gifts.

I am out of my comfort zone with Ellie's special needs and her upcoming surgery, but this is God's moment. He can prove Himself for He will be my strength. He will comfort my Ellie. His grace is sufficient.

Please keep the prayers coming!

Friday, August 8, 2008

My Big School Girl

It seems like such a short time that we were in China bringing home our baby. And, today, that baby, Josie-Tatum had her first day of kindergarten. She went to pre-K last year, but she seemed so grown up today. She gets to ride to school with Mama, and she's at Mama's school. WHile our school is HUGE, over 1100 students, her room is very close to mine, so Mama could peep in once during the day. I looked in the window of the door, and she was enjoying herself playing in centers.

I took this picture of JT with her teacher. Funny, Caleb and Brandon are both SENIORS. Yikes! They pretended to be jealous that I was taking the camera to school to take JT's picture, but when I offered to take theirs, they changed their minds.

I left Ellie sleeping in the room with Whitney. Her college classes won't start until next.

I had a good first day, too. I enjoyed getting to know my students today. Their personalities are all unique.

And, tonight we get to watch the Opening Ceremonies!

God is so gooooooooooood, all the time!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Funny of the Week

So, you know, Ellie went to the gastroenterologist. After her not so fun, rectal examination, we discussed a test she would have when she was four.

Two days later, while I was driving down a busy highway, Ellie pipes in from the back seat, "I not go back to the doctor when I four. That doctor not touch my hiney again."

Well, Josie-Tatum decided she would intervene. She asked, "Ellie, do you want to keep pooping in your diaper?"

Ellie said, "No."

JT asked, "Do you want poop to get on your shirt when you have diarrhea?"

E said, "No."

JT said, "Then you have to go back to that doctor."

Ellie immediately asked her favorite question, "Why?"

Josie-Tatum sighed and said, "Mama, can you please handle the rest of this?"
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