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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ballgames, Bugs, and Babies

Busy, Busy, Busy! That's been our life this past week....hence the lack of postings. We've had somewhere to be or something to do everyday this week after school or in the evening. Josie-Tatum has had a stomach bug, with a fever over 102. Caleb has had tennis matches, Brandon has had soccer games. I've been to the social security office for Brandon and the accountant's office for our taxes.

Yesterday, I went to work, went straight from work to buy groceries, came home, unload groceries, fed the kids, went to the ball game, watched soccer, left our house, went to Savannah GA, waited on friends to return from the Philippines, and returned home shortly before 3:00 a.m. Then, I got up at 6:30 a.m, to head to our county's Pre-K center, to get in line and secure Ellie a spot in the Pre-K program for next year. Oh my!

But.....It is such a blessing to greet friends at the airport upon their arrival, following an adoption. I loved last night, no matter how tired I was. (Click here to see more of the story behind the precious face above.)It was a time to remind our girls of how special they are and how eagerly their arrival was anticpated. Josie-Tatum has such a heart for orphans, and she is excited when another orphan has a family. She asked yesterday, "Mama, do you think one day there will be no more orphans in the world?" So, I think to myself, how do I answer that. Thank God for his wisdom, for He speaks to me. I told her, "There may always be orphans on earth, but there will be no orphans in heaven." She seemed satisfied with that idea.

God is good. I am amazed at how He orchestrates our lives to connect with others. I taught the mother of Levi, Sabrina, in 2nd grade. Later in her life, she became part of our church, I taught her in Sunday School. Now, I've had the privilege of watching her become the mama to a child who needed one. And, another greeter at the airport was Amy. Amy was also part of that youth Sunday School class. Amy has also adoped internationally, from Vietnam. What a blessing both of you are. How honored I am that God has let me be part of your lives.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Child Goes Home

I've had a post on my heart, but today I realized I must reserve this post for a memorial to a little girl I never met. I just learned of Lydia Miyashita's story last week and have been praying diligently for her. Please pray for her family, as she went home to be with the LORD today. You can read her story and send your condolences to the family here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ellie's a Star

Ellie is so proud of being able to walk independently. She wanted to know last night if I was happy. Then, she asked me if Jesus was happy. "Yes, Baby, yes, Jesus is soooo happy." She walked home from Grandma's house for the first time today. She has said many times that she wanted to walk to Grandma's when she got out of her cast. (Yes, we live next door to Grandma.) When I look at her walking today, just 24 hours after being "freed" from her brace, I wonder how much better she'll be walking next week. When I compare it to the video from 2 weeks ago, and think that we'll be starting physical therpay soon, I grow excited thinking how much more strength and control she will soon be developing. The girls chose the Chinese song, "Where Are My Friends?" to sing while she walked across the front porch. And, you'll see just how ADD a 4 year old can be at the end of the video. If only you could have heard her laughing at herself when she watched it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Praises!--Updated below

We're home late....but
Praise the LORD! God has worked wonders in Ellie's body. We clicked
well with the new doctor, who communicated clearly the reason he wants her
OUT of the daytime brace!!!!!!

So, we came home with only the brace she'll continue to wear at night for a little
longer, but she is walking around tonight without the brace, and
already, I see her steps growing more steady.
God is good!
Thank you for your prayers,

I just had to update again, tonight, before I go to bed.
While I was posting this message, Josie-Tatum came upstairs, and placed her hand on my leg. (That is our signal that she has something to tell me, but she is waiting patiently on me to finish what I'm doing.) So, I post the message and ask what she wants. She says, "Ellie just walked from the bottom of the stairs all the way to your bathroom." That is through the foyer, across the back of the great room, and through part of my bedroom!!!!!!!!! She spent the next 30 minutes showing us how far she could walk. Oh my! This is so much more than I expected. I just love surprises.

Thank you, Joy, for sharing how you look forward to her running. I've already thought of that tonight, too, and by the way she was moving before she went to bed, I am sure it won't be long.
And, I will absolutley work on the video tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the way home from Tampa today, Ellie and Stan had fallen asleep, Josie-Tatum was quietly watching a DVD, and I became overwhelmed with the goodness of God's mercy and grace. Oh, what a mighty God we serve!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day....And Lots of Other Things

There are multiple headlines in this edition:
Happy Homecoming Day
One More Orphan Finds His Forever Family
How the Boys Spent Their Weekend
Prayers for Tuesday
Wisdom From Josie-Tatum
Funny of the Day

Happy Homecoming Day
I like to tell Josie-Tatum that she is the best Valentine's present I ever received. We flew home with our precious girl 5 years ago on Valentine's Day. She was awake for nearly the entire international flight. When we landed in Jacksonville, she was hard asleep!

This picture brought tears to my eyes, my beautiful Josie-Tatum being held for the first time by my precious daddy. She was asleep, so many of our family members had the opportunity to hold her who wouldn't have otherwise. ;)

One More Orphan Finds His Forever Family
Yippee, Jesus! Our friends Chris and Sabrina are leaving on Monday to bring home their precious Levi. They've waited a long time. You can follow their journey here.I have loved and cared for Sabrina a very long time, so long I might have to tell my age. (I taught her in 2nd grade.) I was her piano teacher, her Sunday School teacher when she was a teenager, and now our daughters are great friends. And, Kati spent the night with us last night.

We made Valentine's cookies today. Kati, JT, and Ellie spent the morning making ribbons and practicing their ribbon dance, with the Art of Chinese Dance DVD. They glittered each other's hair, and then we baked and decorated cookies. I can't wait to see Kati in the Phillipines

How the Boys Spent Their Weekend
Actually, this is just how they spent their Saturday afternoon. Yes, they have beds, but both of them chose to "nap" on the couch downstairs. They like to say that the girls get on their nerves, but I think they were afraid to miss something if they went to bed upstairs.

They spent the night on Friday night with a friend, along with several other senior boys, who are enjoying much time together, this, their last year in high school. Caleb tells me they were outside at 4 a.m., playing, "Man Hunt." Then, he told me it was the big boys' version of Hide and Seek. Can you see that? Seven boys, all aged 17, outside playing hide and seek at four in the morning?

Prayers for Tuesday
We will leave on Monday, once again, headed to Shriner's Hospital in Tampa. On Tuesday, we will meet Ellie's new pediatric orthopedist. Please be in prayer for a peaceful transition with the new doctor. Please pray the the Hand of God is beginning to close the gap between her femur and her pelvis.

Wisdom From Josie-Tatum
One night this week, the girls asked if they could wear their swim suit as cover-ups. (Yes, it is quite warm in south Georgia right now.) I told Ellie she couldn't wear hers because she has to have pants on underneath her brace. They walked and crawled away, and then JT came back. She asked, "Mom, why can't Ellie wear her pajama pants and her swim suit cover-up?" (Why didn't I think of that?)

Funny of the Day
Ellie did not tell me she had to go "poo." She was upset that she had to stop playing so I could change her. I yelled up to the balcony, "Josie-Tatum, can you check the upstairs bathroom and bring me some wipes?" Well, Whitney comes to me laughing and prefaces her story with, "This may not be as funny to you while you're changing a screaming toddler, but...."
Josie-Tatum had come downstairs with clothes in both of her hands, help them up to Whitney, and said, "Tell Mama I found some, and I'll go back upstairs and get the rest." To which Whitney replied, "She said wipes, Josie-Tatum, not whites." It was funny, even to a Mama changing a screaming toddler.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Am a Sentimental Old Fool

I can almost hear Grandma Walton saying, "You, old fool," to Grandpa Walton, even after her stroke. Does anyone here remember that episode, when she first returned to the show, and I think that was her first line, "Old fool."

But, today, I realized I am just that sentimental.

You've seen photos of the dirt road where I take my walks. When I was a little girl, I walked that dirt road to see my grandmother. Sometimes, I picked blackberries along the way. Sometimes I picked wild grapes. I always ended up at Granny's house, where I would have a seat in the recliner and ask, "Can I borrow a cup of water?" The water at her house had deposits of iron, and I loved the taste.

Well, the road is changing.

There's a new school being built at the end of the road, and, while our county needs a new school, and I even hope to teach there, I was sad when I watched the land being cleared every afternoon on my walks. Josie-Tatum seems sensitive to the change, too. She recently said, "When I get older, I'm going to have good memories of our walks on this road."

Now, the county is making plans to pave the road. I knew that would happen, and I had come to grips with that, but today I learned of an even further plans...I should have seen them. My daddy received a phone call from an attorney....asking for right of way, planning to use some of the land to pave the road. As I walked today, I grew rather sad.

It's the trees! I looked at all of the trees along the edge of the road on my parents' land. I've walked under those trees for nearly 40 years. Some of them are older than I am. Many of them have shaded my path these years....they are so beautiful. There are pines, live oaks, sycamores, and others I can't name. The landscape will change drastically.

I know my treasures are laid up in heaven. I can quote the scriptures that remind me eternal life is more important than anything this earth has to offer.

But, I'm still a little sad.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where theives do not break through not steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chinese New Year Fun

Photo Opportunities Before the Festivities Began

Before we had dinner, we made crafts.

We made dancing ribbons, and the girls had to try them out. Ellie stood for quite some time unassisted, "dancing" with her ribbon.

We made shakers. Here are Ellie and her future husband, shaking around!

Our dinner table was at the back of the room. When it was time for the entertainment, the girls and I moved up front and sat on the floor in front of the stage. Our First Coast FCC Chinese New Year celebration is always kid friendly, so we were joined by many other children hoping to get a better view.

There were several performances by children...all adopted from China. Here is the Ribbon Dance.

The Evening Finale...The Lion Dance

This is what Ellie thought of the Lion and the Lion Dance. See that lady's leg in the photo. I don't know who she is. No, really! Ellie had moved to sitting behind me as the lion dance began. I realized at one point that she was no longer holding onto my neck, so I look behind me. She was trying to crawl under the table where these strangers sat. Ummmm, really! I talked her out from under the table, but not out from under the stranger...I mean gentleman's chair.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Words of Wisdom from Ellie

So, tonight, we're leaving church and Ellie says, "You better watch out for cars, Mama."

"Okay, Ellie, I'll watch out for cars," I tell her.

Then she says, "If you don't watch our for cars, you'll have to get a new van like Grandma."

(LOL, my mother's van was totaled when another driver crossed the center line and hit her head on. Praise God, her injuries were minor. Now she has a new van.)

And, check back later. I hope to post lots of pictures from Chinese New Year last night....including a picture of Ellie doing her own version of the Ribbon Dance, without her walker.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Happy Gotcha Day! Five Years Ago Today

We were once just a family of four.

I never could have dreamed five years ago how God would change our lives when we adopted Josie-Tatum. She has brought us more joy than I could have ever imagined. God is indeed the giver of good gifts. I love you, my beautiful girl!

Now a Family of Seven

We celebrated tonight by eating at Josie-Tatum's favorite Chinese restaurant. Just now Josie-Tatum said she has 3 favorite days, her birthday, Christmas, and her Gotcha Day....especially her Gotcha Day. I pray that she will always know how special she is, that she is a child of the King, that God chose her to be part of our family. We plan to watch video of our trip to China tomorrow. And, Saturday, we'll celebrate CNY in Jacksonville.

Enjoy these pictures from the past 5 years.

Still grieving just 24 hours after "Gotcha"

A Changed Little Girl!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Oh, Happy Day! See Ellie walking!

O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph." Psalm 47:1

Today, Ellie turned four years old, and today, she walked all of the way across the great room for the first time ever. Did you hear me shout? It's still wobbly, but there's serious progress! She counts every step, and it's funny to hear her skip a number here and there in the teens. Forget the fact that the image quality is poor. Forget the fact that you can see the girls' toys in the corner of the great room. Forget the fact that the backlight coming in from the front door interferes with the light in the room. Forget the fact that she's walking straight into the camera. You can see Ellie walking here:

Here goes...trying to post the video again...it didn't work the first time. (You might want to turn off the sound on the playlist below.)
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