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 28, 2009

Christmas Celebrations

We have had much fun and family time this Christmas season. I've been so busy I haven't had time to post, so I turned the bunches of photos into collages.

I had so hoped to be able to find ways to spend time with the big kids and the little kids. Our first opportunity came a couple of days before school was out for JT, E, and me.

Josie-Tatum ran in our school's annual Jingle Bell Jog Fun Run. Caleb ran with her to help her keep up the momentum, and we all were there to cheer for her. The night before we made posters, and Josie-Tatum said, "I'm so glad you are my mom." Music to my ears. She also placed fourth out of 100 girls in first grade. One of her best friends was first.

Preparing for the holiday, I asked the boys to rake the pine straw in the yard. I must admit there was a little pouting with that request. They turned it into a game, though, as usual. They decided to see how high they could pile the straw. The girls were fascinated, as were the Stretch children who came over for dinner that night. We had fun with the adults and my big kids all bowling on the Wii!

We had the pleasure of watching the children perform in a Christmas play. Don't you love to hear children singing Christmas carols, to see their excitement before the program begins? If only we would all be so excited about sharing the good news. I think I saw the most precious camel and angel ever!

One night we all had fun just watching Ellie bowl on the Wii. You have to see the faces to appreciate how bowling became a spectator sport.

As has become our tradition, we spent the day before Christmas Eve baking cookies, some of which will be left for Santa. The big kids had asked as often as the little kids when we are going to make the cookies. Last year, I invited friends to join us and my boys were upset with me. I didn't make that mistake again. ;) If my boys wanted our cookie baking to me a "family-only" time, then I would certainly make sure it was. (I just don't have all of the awesome photos that Joli took last year when her kids were with us.)
As has become Ellie's tradition, she ended up covered in flour, having as much fun rolling out flour as she did cutting cookies. And, as has happened the last three years, since adding Brandon to our family, before the day was over, he made sure everyone had flour on their face. I was so thankful for the time with all five of my treasured blessings.

On Christmas Eve, I had already spent two days cooking in anticpation of our annual Family Christmas Eve Dinner at our house. It never ceases to amaze me how willingly my children will clean and help cook on Christmas Eve. The spirit in the house was ever so sweet all day long.

God's love has poured down on us this year as it has every year. I pray that you have had time to reflect on His goodness, and that we will all remember Him in the year to come!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's Beginning

to look a lot like Christmas!!!

Last week when we were home from school, we had a great time decorating the house for Christmas. We decorated the front porch, the front door, the indoor balcony, the dining room table, and the mantle. We have three Christmas trees, one upstairs that shines through the big window, one in the dining room for the family to enjoy, and a small one in the girls room. I love Christmas!!!

I think the girls had the most fun preparing the decorations for the tree in their room. We strung cranberries and popcorn. We were making memories, the best kind!

The girls had fun making snowman pins for their teachers, an easy "craft kit" purchased from Oriental Trading.

Thank you, Jesus, for my family, for the memories of my childhood, for the memories you bless me to make with my children. I pray for children who have no family, that your Spirit would move upon those who have room in their homes and their hearts, and families would be made complete.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

If Not You, Then Who???

I really should be in bed....it's back to school tomorrow, but I can't stop these thoughts rolling around in my head.

Stan and I went to see this

Thanks, Gwen, for recommending it.
It was the most powerful movie I've seen in years. It moved me like no other movie has in a long time, and it's a true story.

As, I watched the actor play the part of Michael Oher, I couldn't help thinking about him.

I took this photo before he became part of our family, when he was just "Caleb's friend," when he didn't share all that was going on in his life, when he pretended things at his house were just like things at ours, when I didn't know what he faced every day and every night.....

And, I thought of all of the other children out there, who pretend, who need love, who need stability, who need a family.

What are you willing to do?

Will you go here:
Adopt Us Kids or Adoption.com

Will you pray? Will you ask God what He would have you do? Would you help a family adopt? Will you sponsor a child? Would you feed an orphan?

If not you, then who?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Counting my Blessings

What a beautiful day here in south Georgia, sunny skies, cool dry air, just cool enough for long sleeves....absolutely perfect.

And, all of my children have been home since Tuesday night. It's been a few months since we've been able to spend this much time together. My heart has been full! I've enjoyed every moment (okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration) with all of my children. Stan has been home, too, not yet back at work since his surgery on November 4th. We've cleaned, cooked, decorated for Christmas, watched old movies, and laughed A LOT!

Today we spent much time with extended family and eating far too much food. We had lunch with Stan's family, aunts, uncles,and cousins, and then dinner with my family, more aunts, uncles and cousins. I love watching my children play with my cousins' children. It brings back the fondest memories of days when I didn't know all of the cares of today.

And, may we all take the time to remember those who do not have the blessings we enjoy, more determined today to do more than we did yesterday. To God be the glory!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Day to Celebrate!

This day, this time, six years ago, I was distraught. Referrals had come for other families logged in at the same time as our family. A week had passed, and still we did not have a referral for our precious girl. It was nearly 6:00 in the evening on a Friday, and our family of four was getting ready to go out for dinner, when the phone rang. When I checked the caller ID, I almost didn't answer it, because I didn't recognize the name. I was glad I did!

I heard the voice of our social worker, "Robbie....," and I knew!!!!!!!!!! She had news of our daughter. Her name was Gao Jie Lun, her birthday was November 22nd, and she was living at the Gaoming Social Welfare Insitute. I remember my voice quivering when I realized her birthday was the following day. Stan was downstairs, and he could tell by my tone that I was finally answering THE CALL.

We were a little late to meet our friends for dinner. We began making phone calls, and continued on the way to Jesup, both Stan's and my cell phones busy all the way. Once, I realized Stan was calling my best friend's husband, and I nearly yelled, "Oh, no you're not," I'm going to tell Melanie. So, I had two cell phones in my hands. All of you adoptive moms our there, you know the excitement of that moment. And, if you're like me, you close your eyes and it takes you back to the joy and peace of that day.

We had to wait until the weekend was over to see her photo, for the stork, aka UPS to deliver that priceless package.

Look at that face! Can you imagine how desperately I wanted to hold her, to love her, to make her smile.

And, just look at her now.

Happy, healthy, and full of compassion.

She spent that first birthday in an orphanage, where it is likely no one thought to say, "Happy Birthday." But, she has never spent another birthday without a celebration.

And, this year, we had an awesome party. Her birthday party was today, while her birthday is tomorrow. Josie-Tatum wanted a Chinese themed party, and we all had a wonderful time. Each of the girls was allowed to put on a Mandarin outfit for a photo op, we made Year of the OX photoframes, bracelets with Chinese character charms, and sun catchers. The nine girls were working so seriously that they hardly talked. It was funny! They enjoyed green tea in the tea sets we brought back from China. We made memories!!!

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Josie-Tatum's Birthday
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Just Plain Fun

So, last week, I found Ellie wearing the above wig and crown. When I snapped her picture, JT had to get in on the fun. Who knows why she chose a Santa hat and an American flag. You know you're the mother of young children if a person can find a wig, a crown, and Santa hat, and a flag, all in the same basket in the great room.

Saturday, though, was one of those days when it was just plain fun to be the mama. I spent the day realizing just how blessed I am.

we enjoyed a family reunion at Stan's cousin's farm. Regan was with us, because her parents and Riley were already in Atlanta, preparing for surgery. She had spent the night with Her Bennetts, aka my parents. Regan and Ellie are such sweet friends. I loved this photo, following behind the girls, as they walked past the goats and the pond to see the horses.

When we finally made it to see the horses, it took the girls a few minutes to trust them. They were MUCH bigger than the ponies they had ridden at the park the week before. Oh, to see animals through the eyes of children.

As if the goats, horses, and cows weren't enough to entertain the girls, there were puppies!

Then the girls had to face a difficult decision...stay later at the farm and miss part of Daniel's birthday party, or leave the animals to go to Daniel's birthday party. The party finally won!

We stayed until there was nearly no sunlight left. How wonderful to fellowship with adult friends while children play, to hear the laughter, to watch their carefree spirits, and enjoy cake and ice cream! It was also humbling to be spending time with Joli just days before the kidney transplant, with Regan too.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Still Another Blessing

All is well with Riley and Joli. Praise, praise, praise the LORD!

And, we received a financial blessing the same day as the kidney transplant. Praise Him again!

He is great and greatly to be praised!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

God's Awesome Provisions--UPDATE

Riley is out of recovery. The family is visiting with him. His surgery has been a success, and his "new" kidney output is just what the doctors had hoped for. Praising our Jesus!!!!!!

If anybody out there is checking today....

Joli is out of surgery, and doing beautifully. The surgery was uneventful, and she is in recovery. The doctor told the family that her one kidney is functioning better than most people's two kidneys together. Isn't that just like our JESUS????

Riley has been in surgery about 2 hours. His surgery is expected to last at least 4 hours. Please pray God's hand continuing to cover the hands of the surgeons today, continued peace for the families as they wait.

Our associate pastor told me there has been a sweet peace surrounding them all today!!!!!!!

Update: Riley's transplant surgery is complete. Doctor's are "closing him up."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pray, Pray, Pray!

Our church, Youmans Chapel Baptist, will begin a 24-hour prayer chain tonight at 6:00. Someone will be praying every hour for those 24 hours, immediatley before, during, and after the kidney transplant. (See the post below.) Please pray for Joli, her husband, her mother, and her children, sweet peace and strength.

Please pray for Riley's and Joli's perfect health today and quick, amazing recovery.

Please pray for Riley's parents, Theresa and Chester.

Please pray for the many friends, church staff, and family members who will be traveling to Atlanta tonight and tomorrow morning to be with them.

God is great and greatly to be praised!!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Praise the LORD!!!!!

My soul is overflowing with joy and overwhelmed with the goodness and mercy of our Great Savior. He has answered a 4-year prayer in a way that only HE could.

I've asked you to pray for this little man!

His mama is special to me. She was a youth in the Sunday School class when I was the teacher. I prayed her through her rebellion years. I rejoiced when she came back to Jesus. I rejoiced with her when she learned she was pregnant, following fertility problems. I rejoiced when she found out she was expecting twins.

And, next Tuesday, he will receive the kidney we've been praying for. Riley will finally for the first time learn to enjoy food at birthday parties. With his kidney failure, he has a feeding tube, and he rarely eats anything. He has no appetite. He sat at Ellie's birthday party, just months ago, not interested in cake and ice cream.

And, he will soon be able to take baths with his sister.

He has been driving with his mom, and other friends and family to JAX 3 times each week to receive dialysis. The shunt for his dialysis has made it impossible for him to take tub baths and even go swimming. He spends 4 hours on the road and nearly 4 hours in dialysis. He will soon be able to stay home and just be a kid!!!!!

But you have to listen to Paul Harvey, I mean ME, tell you the rest of the story.

When I shared with my children about Riley's upcoming kidney transplant and told them WHO was donating a kidney....I get teary eyed just typing it now. You see we've been praying since before Riley was born four years ago. We knew he had special needs before he was born, and we've know for years now that his only hope for a "normal" life was a kidney transplant.

We've prayed and prayed.

And, his live donor is my dear friend JOLI! I am amazed at the tapestry God is creating when he weaves our lives together. Those in the Chinese adoption community call is a red thread. I call it God-ordained paths. I told the girls, "Can you believe it? The kidney we've been praying for has been in and out of our house all of these years." Joli, who might not even have known Theresa and Riley, had she not been my friend, who God gave sweet peace and direction about testing for the possibility of a match, followed HIS path.

Joli and I first met when we were waiting on our first adoptions. She was with me the day before we left for China to adopt Josie-Tatum, when she was still waiting for Elisabeth.

And, she was waiting for us at the airport when we flew home, taking pictures I wouldn't have had she not taken them.

Before Riley and Regan were even born, she was with Josie-Tatum at her first visit to the zoo.

We rejoiced when our daughters met for the first time!

And, we've celebrated Chinese New Year together now for 7 years in row!

This dear friend who has grown more special to me over the years is now giving LIFE to the child of another friend.

How honored I am to know her, and to know the JESUS who works in her, and to know that He has allowed me to witness this miracle He has provided! How weak my faith can be, but how strengthened it is when we see His work in the lives of the faithful. Surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday. Please join me in prayer and thanksgiving!!!
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Ellie Min Chun

Ellie Min Chun
Josie-Tatum's MeiMei