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

Thursday, February 25, 2010

And The Winner Is.....


The photo represents all of the boys in the stories below.

Thank you to all of you who have made me laugh the past week. Today I received Caleb's address!!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!! He was able to jot down about 3 sentences on the form letter, and I've already put his first letter from home in the mail.

Now, I suggest you hold onto your sides, because they may soon split. You might want a little tissue to catch the tears...for you may laugh until you cry.

I was having trouble making my decision. You will see why when you read this story from Lee Ann:

My cousin and I were about 10 or 11 yrs old and we were sitting on our grandpa's porch swing.

My cousins brother was about 7 or so and he was a mean kid to say the least! Always tormenting us and getting into trouble. Well he decided to start antagonizing us and calling us names.

We just ignored him so he went for the "shock factor"! He MOONED us!!! Which wasn't an unusual thing, BUT.....this time he took the cake! As he pulled down his pants and stuck his butt in the air, he had A PIECE OF TOILET PAPER STUCK ON HIS FANNY!!!!!!

I have never laughed so hard in my life!!! He is now over 30 yrs old and we still will not let him live it down!

So, I was ready to announce LeeAnn as the winner, when I received this story from Jennifer:

Having children yourself, hope you appreciate this one... You know how stressed we mothers can get sometimes, and there are times when we just need a break...

Well, I had one of those days and thought that if I could just take a long, hot bath then I would feel better. Joseph was 4 and Allen 5 at the time (Shane was 8 and entertained himself pretty good)so I put Joseph and Allen in my bed with the TV on and went into my adjoining master bath to soak... I could hear everything they were saying.. they were being so sweet and carrying on their own little conversation.

Allen said to Joseph, " I love you JoJo." and Joseph said "I love you too Allen." Then Allen asks Joseph, "Do you like the way God made me?" Joseph's answer was, "Yes." And then Allen says, "Well, do you like the way God made you?"... there was a pause, and Joseph's response was "Yes, but he could have put my worm up here by my belly button instead of way down there between my legs!"...

I thought I would die laughing! I later asked Joseph why in the world would he want his worm up there by his belly button, and his response, without batting an eye was..."easier to get to!".... boys, boys, boys :)

Then, I was faced with a dilemma. I didn't know who the winner should be. Both of these stories made me laugh...and out loud. Both times I laughed so hard I started coughing. Both times, I laughed so loud my family asked me what was so funny before I had gained control of my composure enough to share.

So, while I was having trouble making my decision, Jennifer sent me one more story. I will warn you that this one might really need a PG rating, but since she made me laugh TWICE, she is the winner.

I had forgotten about this one until this morning when Allen oh so reminded me by singing his own little made up song... last year on our way to Eufaula for spring break, everyone had to potty so we stopped off at a little hole in the wall convenient store to use the restroom...

Tim was getting gas, so the boys went in the restroom with me... lo and behold there was a condom machine on the wall.. haven't seen one of those in a restroom in years and of course the time I do, the boys are with me. The machine sparked an interesting array of questions, all of which I tried my best to avoid.

Allen however didn't ask questions, just observed the machine. I am chuckling inside the whole time and only responded to Shane and Joseph that I wasn't sure exactly what that machine was for, but I was certain that it would be a waste of money and we didn't want nor need anything out of it....

We made it to our cabin, settled in and two days later, while Allen is upstairs I hear him singing at the top of his lungs, to his own little made up song..." 50 cent for a Slim Fit... 75 cent for a Sexy Surprise".... you can only imagine.... did I mention that Tim's entire family was on the trip with us and that Tim's Daddy is a Baptist preacher??...

We all have a very good laugh!! and like I said, I had forgotten about this until he starts singing his little song again this morning on the way to school!!.... no one has mentioned it since last April when we were on spring break... what in the world triggered that, of all things??? .... out of the mouth of babes :)

Now, tomorrow, I will share with Jennifer, who just so happens to work with me, one of my family's favorite books by Mark Lowry.

Happy Thursday!!! Keep the prayers coming!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winners Announced Tomorrow

Sorry folks....delays occurred today.
I have chose the winner and the 3 funniest stories, but it's late.
Check by tomorrow. I promise you'll LAUGH OUT LOUD!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


So, I received a package today, and it was not what I had hoped. I was so looking forward to receiving Caleb's address. I have a letter ready to mail him, plan to add to it again tonight. While I expected the pacakge to include all of his personal belongings, and it did, I thought it would include his address, too.

That it just the first part of the puzzle.

Here is the second part.

In the box were his pants, shirt, undershirt, boxers, boots, socks, coat, cell phone, i-pod, belt, charger, toothbrush, saline solution, razor, and....his CONTACTS. When I saw the case, it never occurred to me that his contacts would be inside, but they were.

So, any thoughts? Has anyone out there had a similar experience. Why does Caleb not have his contacts with him?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chinese New Year and the Contest

We celebrated Chinese New Year on Saturday. See the photos and story below. Then, check back on Wednesday, I plan to share the top THREE funny stories, and announce the winner. Really, you ARE going to laugh out loud. And, scroll down to the bottom for my own funny.

I am also learning that staying busy keeps me from being sad. We spent Friday evening working at the benefit BBQ for the Clements family. Final totals aren't complete yet, but it looks like there will be profit and donations totalling over $6,000. Praie the LORD! We invited Casie to join us, and she came out for a while.

On Saturday, though, we drove the 2 hours to JAX, Florida, and celebrated in style as we have now for 7 years, each year with our friends, the Stretches.

Josie-Tatum: The Serious Crafter
There were several crafts the girls completed at the beginning of the evening.

Elli'es Idea of Crafting
Okay, she completed some, but, but this time, she was content to let her daddy craft while I photgraphed, and she put the supplies to other use. (If you were here with me, I would "pinky square" this was not a staged photo.)

Our first CNY with all six children:

The Newest Stretch Family Member
We had the privilege of welcoming home Lily Kay Zibing just last week. Look at that smile. Isn't she beautiful? And, tomorrow we have a play date after school. I can't wait for some more Zibing therapy.

My Beautiful Girls!
God knew I would need the precious girls when my big kids left home. I could not be mroe grateful that he chose me to be their mama.

My favorite photo of the evening:

This was the look on Ellie's face when the lion entered the room for the beginning of the lion dance. My children have always been afraid of the lion. Do any of you have that same experience? This past Saturday was the first year, Josie-Tatum or Ellie would get close to the stage. (Some of you may remember that Ellie hid under the chair of a total stranger last year.) They even followed the lion when he exited the stage, danced around the ball room, exited and entered again. They only turned back when the lion would occasionally turn his head to frighten the children, followed by squeals and giggles.

Why did I laugh?
The CNY celebration we attend yearly is sponsored by First Coast FCC and attened by hundreds of people, all families with children from China. Following the meal at our celebration, several groups of children performed on the stage. Being a family friendly event, those children not participating can always be found in front of the stage beyond all of the dinner tables where many adults stay behind. This year, like others before, Joli and I positioned ourselved behind our children. While we were wataching a lovely ribbon dance, Joli's son Noah, turns around and says with surprise, "Mama, I think all of those girls are Chinese!"

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Keep Them Coming!

Prayers and Stories....

I didn't feel despair yesterday, just brief moments of loss.

Thank you, for all of the sweet words, the prayers, the scriptures, and the phone calls. Some of you have checked on me everday, and that has meant much....I hope I am learning to be a better friend, as you have been so good to me.

I am learning to trust Jesus, as one friend wrote to me...I could hold onto Caleb but God's hands are bigger than my hands. He is safer in God's hands.

Now, keep those funnies coming. I have truly smiled, giggled, and LAUGHED OUT LOUD! Really loud at some of them. I will post my favorite three next week...so keep sending them....


Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Need a Laugh----Please Help!

I really need help, as I try to change my focus. My heart has rarely felt such despair, and I'm hoping you can help me.

So, I decided, I'm going to ask for help. (overuse of the word help, I know.)

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, right?

Well, I've decided to ask you to send me your true stories, funny, real-life stuff. And, I'm going to choose the three that make me laugh out loud the LOUDEST, and with your permission, post them on my blog.....

And, something I've never done before...I'm going to choose the funniest and give you a prize, a book that has made me laugh in the past.

I'll read them at the supper table at our house, to make Stan laugh, and help the girls smile, especially since Josie-Tatum cried herself to sleep last night. And, I'll send some of them to Caleb when I finally get his address. I don't understand why a mom has to wait to get her son's address, but that's another story.

So, if you've got a laugh to spare, send it to this Navy mom, and help her turn her mourning to gladness.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Warning: Raw Emotion

I'm going to write all of this down, so perhaps I can get it all out. I probably won't edit or spell check.

I've prayed many times for our troops, and many times for their families, but I NEVER had a clue how badly a mom or wife might hurt when the one they have loved for so long says, "Good-by."

I don't have words to truly describe why I can't stop crying, tears continually streaming, sometimes sobbing, sometimes quiet tears.

I was at peace, for the most part, until the last few minutes at the airport. That's when there were lots of tears. I was able to get all of that under control until....

Until we drove up at our home.

There was Caleb's motorcycle.

There was the burnt wood from the fire he and his friends built on Saturday.

There was the STUPID garbage can he has taken to the road every Wed. for years.

There was the reminder that tomorrow is gymnastics, and he often would pick Josie-Tatum up from the gym for me.

There was the couch where I found him more mornings that I found him in bed.

Then, I was ready to check the weather to lay out the girls' clothes for school tomorrow, and I didn't have to ask him if he was on the computer.

And, I pulled the cord away from his X-Box, only to think I won't be pulling the cord back to the computer for a long time.

There was the upstairs bathroom where I went to get tissue for my ever-running nose, and now the bathroom will hardly be used.

And, I know there will be so many more reminders before it gets easier, and I just want to crawl in bed for DAYS.....but, of course, I have two beautiful children in the bathtub right now, waiting for me to get them out, and get them ready for church.

So, I'm going now, begging you to pray that, when I hear from Caleb tonight, I hear some strength returning to his voice, pray that his mom will regain her focus on Jesus, pray for Casie who cried more than I did in Jacksonville today, and, if you have another friend, whose child is in the military, pray for them, and give them a call, or send them and email, and let them know you did.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fun With Caleb and a Special Blessing

Caleb was greeted tonight, by perhaps more family than he had hoped for. (I love my family!) Stan and I drove down with the little girls and Caleb's girlfriend Casey. Whitney drove down from college in Savannah. Only Brandon wasn't able to drive from Athens. My sister Bobbie came with two of her children, Joshua and Lindsey. Her grandbaby Maddison joined in the fun, too.

We all went out to eat at Outback, one of Caleb's favorite places to eat.

And, I had to take lots of photos...........

Thank you for all of your prayers. I've made it through this day without tears, and that is a major improvement over yesterday. (We'll see about tomorrow.) I want you all to know, though, how special my sister is. She was able to put into words so much I would have liked to say to Caleb. I've decided she must be the writer in the family. I shall cling to these words she wrote, in a card for him, for all of the days he is away.

Enjoy the photos she included of Caleb and Joshua together, and then get your tissue. (I warned you Kim.)

Aunt Bobbie's Blessing:

I'm glad your parents named you Caleb and I'm glad I could have a Joshua to go along with you. It's hard to mention one name without the other. I've always trusted you to look out for Josh to a certain extent and you have. You may have picked on him in the process, but you still looked out for him. Now you'll be looking out for him in a greater way. You'll be looking out for us all.
Your namesake in the Bible was a warrior too. At age 85 he drove the sons of Anak out of the promised land. They were the giants everyone else was afraid of. He was able to do it becuase he trusted in God even when others didn't.
May you be like Caleb of old. May you always stand up for what is right, trusting God will take care of you. May you be as strong when you are 85 as you are today, never forgetting your strength comes from the LORD. You will be both faithful and full of faith. Faithful to your God, your family, your church, and your country, and full of faith in the one who is called Faithful and True. May you be courageous, because you know in whom you have believed and He is able to keep that which you have committed to Him. Most of all, when your life is over, may the LORD Jesus Christ say of you, Caleb Bennett Mattox hath follwed me fully all the days of his life.

Aunt Bobbie

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Son, The Soldier

We've made this weekend ALL ABOUT CALEB.

Brandon and Whitney both came home. On Friday night, we had Caleb's favorite meal, pancakes and bacon.

We had a cook-out on Saturday. Well, the cook-out sort of became a cook-in, with temperatures falling near freezing by the evening. I gave everyone the option of eating indoors elbow to elbow, or outdoors in the cold with more elbow room. We had a few takers on the "outdoors" tables. So, imagine my 2300 square foot home with 84 people who came to say "good-bye" to Caleb.

You can see photos in the slide show below.

Then, last night at church we had special prayer for him...and his mama. Right before the ceremony, there was another activity. We cut Caleb's hair!!!!


I think he looks like my little boy again.

The little boy who would always come to my bedroom to check on me when I was sick, the little boy who asked me if I would be okay when his daddy wasn't home and he was invited to a friend's house, the little boy who wondered who was going to take care of our widow neighbor when we were on vacation.

The little boy who always looked after his mother and others is now going to serve and protect his country.

Please pray for him and all of the troops. Pray for his mama and his daddy, his grandma and his girl-friend Casey. Pray for Brandon, too. Feel free to send us scriptures that speak peace to your hearts.

We will go to Jacksonville, FL tomorrow to spend the evening with him after his check-in at MEPS, and then we will watch him be sworn in on Wednesday before he leaves for the airport to fly to Chicago for Basic Training. So, lots of prayers are needed on Wednesday afternoon, as we drive back to Georgia, leaving Caleb behind....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Baby Boy

Caleb leaves for the Navy in exactly one week. We can see him after his medical is completed next Tuesday evening, and then we can see him again the next morning for his swearing in, and then he will leave for Chicago.

I am proud!!!

But, my heart is aching.

Please pray for both of us!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Magical Memory Making Moment with Mulan

I know that every parent who visits Walt Disney World hopes that their children will have a magical experience. We are home and very tired, but, oh, what a blessed time we had. And, one moment was more magical than all of the rest.

Several years ago, we learned that the only way to meet Mulan at Walt Disney World was to find her in China at Epcot. Having seen her there before, we headed to China in the World Showcase on Saturday morning. We were NOT disappointed, as she was standing near the entrance to China with a short line of children waiting to take her photograph.

We joined the line and waited our turn. Both of the girls were ready with the autograph books in hand when they were next in line.

Mulan was ever so gracious to talk with the girls and pose for a photo.

And, as we started to leave, Mulan gave each of the girls a kiss. Ellie was so thrilled, knowing the print of Mulan's lips were on her cheek that I had to stop and take another picture.

Our surprise came soon after I snapped photos of those sweet lips. There were no more children waiting in line to see Mulan, so she stepped over to talk with the girls again. And, then Mulan asked Ellie, "Who is your favorite princess?" While Josie-Tatum was trying to speak in code, and apparently one that Ellie didn't understand, Ellie missed the message that she should say, "Mulan," and she spoke the truth as only Ellie can, "Snow White."

Ever the gracious princess, Mulan continued to provide Ellie and Josie-Tatum with a moment they will likely never forget. Mulan told Ellie that Snow White would be out soon, and she would wave to her across the lake. (Now, don't ask me what sort of Disney magic occurred after that moment, but I did see a man with a radio. He might have been a member of the Secret Service, or he might have been part of Mulan's China Intelligence Agency.)

But, Mulan took the girls for a walk to the edge of the lake.

They sat by the lake and chatted for at least 5 minutes. It might have even been 10. I don't know what Ellie might have said to make Mulan laugh. Maybe I shouldn't know. I do know her latest favorite thing to ask is, "Pinky Square?" (aka pinky swear) when she's just told a secret, and I sorta think she mighta told one.

And, Mulan managed, as only a princess might, to make sure she gave Josie-Tatum some time, too, though Ellie was working hard to remain the center of attention.

And, just as Mulan promised, though she was little late....(Mulan and the Secret Service Radio man said Grumpy left a mess for Snow White to clean up that morning.)
Snow White appeared across the lake and waved to Ellie with all her strength, and Ellie waved back like never before.

As we were leaving the second time, Mulan said, "Remember to tell Snow White you were the one she was waving to on the lake." And, Ellie practiced what she would say to Snow White for the next 30 minutes....REALLY...until we met her.

There have been few moments that made my heart swell like that moment on Saturday. I really should write a letter to someone at Disney so Mulan can be recognized for MAKING the MAGIC for one little girl, and being sure the include her older sister in the plan.

More to come about our trip later. I'm off to sleep!!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Praise the LORD!

There has been no progression in Daddy's heart disease in the past 4 years.

Nothing new with Grandma, still waiting to find the cause of her problems.

Only 2 more days till Disney!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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