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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Beautiful, Peaceful, Blessed

That was our weekend.

It started with my favorite--a phone call from Caleb. I grow to realize all the more how much our Heavenly Father wants to hear from us, how much he misses us when we don't stay in touch. I realize, too, even more this year, what a sacrifice it was to send His Son to earth...for you and ME.

Then, Josie-Tatum spent the night at a Spend the Night Party for the first time...she's growing up.

While she was away, we had to make much of Ellie...it started with pedicures. Casie helped.

On Saturday, we were visited by our dear friends, Vicki and Ava Laurence, once again friends connected through adoption. Vicki blessed us with nearly an entire wardrobe of hand-me-downs...some still with the tags. Thank you, Vicki! Ellie has worn something from you everyday since Saturday.

Her daughter Ava Laurence enjoyed exploring our house.

Early in her visit, Ava Laurence found a bracelet...somewhere in my not-so-clean house. It wasn't until minutes before they left that she realized it was candy. The looks she kept giving her mama to be sure she wasn't going to stop her from eating it were priceless. I never was able to catch those eyes!

Then it was off to another birthday party, where there was a pony to ride. Ellie LOVED it!!! I'm hoping to soon have her take part in Saddle Up, where she can ride ponies every week.

Josie-Tatum enjoyed the ride, too. You may note, however, that she is NOT wearing a cowgirl hat and bandana. She was given one of each. Since when were seven-year-olds too cool for western wear?

And, we spent Saturday night watching one of my ALL time favorite movies. I've already seen it twice. Josie-Tatum saw it for the first time, and she wanted to see it again on Sunday. It really is a MUST SEE!

I dare you to watch Blind Side and NOT be moved....

(If you have young children, there is one scene at the end I'd recommend you skip.)

Then, on Sunday, our children participated in a skit to remember Palm Sunday. I love to see the children involved. I love to remind them what Easter really is. I pray we can keep Jesus at the center.

And, then, when we watched Blind Side the second time on Sunday afternoon, here is how Ellie spent her time.

The weekend was beautiful.

It was peaceful.

I am blessed!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Time---Therapy for the Blues

What a beautiful day the LORD sent yesterday. The wind was blowing just enough for Ellie to fly her kite. (The kite was her reward for completing her good behavior chart and quickly working to complete her catheter at school.) The temperatures were just warm enough to be comfortable in long sleeves.

I think I've found a new physical therapy for Ellie. She was able to keep her balance very well, while holding onto the kite string and using the tension to counter-balance when needed. She even "ran" for a short period. Next time, I hope I can get video of her running.

I was even thinking...since it's always windy at the beach, perhaps I could get the insurance company to agree that kite flying is the best PT, and we could get them to pay for frequent trips to the beach....well, it's a thought.

And, I couldn't have staged this picture if I tried. I clicked the photo at the exact time the kite fell from the sky.

My Daddy broke his wrist yesterday, too. He'll see the orthopedist on Thursday. The good thing is I spent time with my mama and my daddy and my sister and my niece and my grandma and my aunt.

Do all Grandmas have a junk food...I mean snack...drawer? Even Caleb wrote about Grandma's snack drawer in his journal in elementary school. When you go to Grandma's house, you have to open it up.....just to see. They chose marshmellows of all things. Can you tell?

And, last...I just liked this photo...sort of an optical illusion...as if the kite was in the tree...but I loved the beautiful blue sky, the dark green of the pine needles and the colors of the kite. Isn't it amazing how God created all things...even the "little" things like white light that can be separated into a spectrum of colors?

I hope you all find a good reason to enjoy family and God's creation this week!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Memorial Box Monday

I am afraid I am all too transparent at times....

But, today was one of those days when my flesh would have me give into the spirit of mourning. I have asked some faith-filled prayer warriors to join me in the fight. And, praise the LORD, he has sent some sweet peace.

I pondered NOT posting a Memorial Box story this week. But, this evening, I talked myself into a walk, and as I walked I talked to God, and as I talked to God I began to think of what I would want to post. The more I considered the post, the more the LORD spoke to my heart.

And, he brought this scripture to remembrance, "but, David encouraged himself in the LORD." (I Samuel 30:6) And, I praise the LORD that the more I considered sharing this story, the more I encouraged myself....

So, if not for anyone else, this one is for me.

I play the piano.

Some of you may know that, and others may not. But, most of you do not know the REST of the story.

I started playing music in fifth grade.

The Clarinet.

I couldn't play more than Mary Had a Litte Lamb on the clarinet tonight, though I played the clarinet for the next seven years.

Sometime during my pre-teen years, I expressed interest in learning to play the piano. My parents agreed to let me take lessons, and I took for less than a year. My piano teacher was expecting a baby, and she stopped giving lessons.

I continued to play the piano some on my own. If I visited a friend's house where there was a piano, I found myself drawn to it. I wonder if Melanie remembers all of the times I played the piano at her house. Equipped with my knowledge of the treble cleff, I would pick out the notes and play, using only my right hand most of the time.

When I became a Christian, I became more interested in church music. I would watch other pianists play, and sometimes I would go home and try to improvise from watching their hands. I soon taught myself to play "Silent Night," using the hymnal as my road map and adding a few chords along the way.

By the time I graduated high school, I had taught myself to play FOUR entire songs, and I was quite pleased with myself.

Then, something happened.

Our church no longer had a pianist.

One of the deacons came to our house and asked me if I would consider the position...

How crazy is that?

I only knew FOUR songs.....

With love for the church, love for music, and love for Jesus, I agreed. Brother Billy, the music director, was supportive, and actually encouraged me to take the position. For the first few weeks, we sang those four songs at every service. The church helped pay for more piano lessons, and soon, week by week, I added one more song to my repetoire. But, if I had practiced a new song, I didn't have time to practice one of the old songs. So, each week, I told the music director what the congregation would sing. And, each week he smiled and encouraged me to keep working.

I was so young, not yet 20 years old. There were times when I wanted to quit. There were times when I cried. There were times when some were not so nice. But, Brother Billy was always there, encouraging me to keep it up.

I'm not sure how long it was before we actually started having choir practice. I finally had learned enough songs we could choose from a selection. While most of the members of our little country church could hardly read music, I well remember the day one choir member said to another, "I don't think Robbie can play that. It has too many b's at the front." (I could only play 2 flats.)

Twenty five years later, I can play a lot of b's. I can play a lot of sharps, too, but I don't like them very much. But, hand me a Baptist hymnal, and I'll let my fingers show you what God can do with a little talent given to him. I don't play Bach, and I don't play Beethoven...I don't have that talent, but God has given me a gift that He has used far more than I ever could have imagined when I picked out the first chord of "Silent Night."

I think I'll put a music note in our Memorial Box. I want my children to know that "little is much when God is in it." I want them to know that he will multiply the gifts we give to him.

And, I want you to know that I sat down to play the piano tonight, and God used the gift He has given me, to encourage me.

I'm so glad he did.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gladness for Mourning

I must think on those words, and trust that the LORD will give what His word promises. Today's news was not good.

Caleb had been told that his training would be in King's Bay, so close to home. So, I've been thinking, only 4 more weeks, and Caleb will be back in Georgia.

Not so.........

We received a letter today. He learned last week that he will leave Great Lakes and go directly to Connecticut.

He learned that, alone in IL, unable to call home, and had to wait for 3 days to even mail and letter to discuss his disappointment with his family....

Nothing like a sad photo to make you feel worse, huh? Well, I wanted you to see what I feel, and of all of the photos on my memory card, that one of Casie and Caleb's last moment at the airport could best show my aching heart.

It took me hours....

But, I finally am allowing Jesus to comfort me. Here is what I have just finished writing to Caleb:

I’m so glad you wrote that you know God has a plan. That’s what His word says you know in Jeremiah 29:11—“For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Hold fast, Caleb, God has plans for you….and his plan is for you to have hope and peace.

And, on the way home, after I read your letter, someone on the radio quoted this scripture from Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him…” Trust in Him, Caleb…and allow him to fill you with peace. Don’t let the enemy rob you of joy.

These will be my prayers for you, as I continue to pray for your strength, for you to know God has a plan for you to have hope and peace….and that you will TRUST Him….

And, in the midst of my mourning, I am so thankful God gives me gladness. While he knew there were two precious girls in China who needed a family, He knew there was a Mama in America who was going to need these two precious girls to get through moments when her heart was aching. I'm so glad he gave me these priceless moments this past week.

Picnicing in the park with other adoptive families....

And, supper with the Stretch family again...when I got to watch Stan bonding with Lily Kay....

And, a visit from my great-niece...who looks like her Aunt Robbie. :)

This weekend, we will visit Brandon at UGA. His birthday is Saturday. I will spend time with the LORD, and enjoy my blessings. Please pray for me, for Stan, for Casie, and especially for Caleb. Pray that we will trust in the God of all Hope, that we will feel his peace, and trust His plan.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Memorial Box Monday

I've been looking forward to sharing this story---the story of how the LORD weaved this beautiful tapestry that has connected my life with the life of my best brother, friend, and evangelist.

This is Ronnie Owens. You can learn more about his minsitry here. And, if he's ever preaching near you, I promise you will be encouraged if you visit and hear him speak.

I've shared some of my daddy's story before, but now I get to tell the rest of the story.

I have a wonderful daddy. I don't call him Dad or Father. He's always been Daddy. He came home from work everyday, and when I was little, pretended everday that he couldn't find my sister and me. We were always hiding behind the curtains in our HUGE...um, very tiny 10 ft x 50 ft mobile home.

I grew up with an awesome daddy, but he was an unsaved daddy.

Daddy grew up with a harsh step-father. Other family members have shared that Daddy learned he could only stay out of trouble by staying out the way. He would come home from school and go to his room. He rarely joined in family conversations.

This behavior followed him into his adult years. As I grew up, most of my friends were afraid of my daddy, only because he didn't talk. He was always there, watching television, reading the paper, or working on "projects" outside, but he didn't talk.

As I became a teenager, I started attending church with the neighbors. I was saved at the age of 15 and have since been an active member or the church where I was saved. I would regularly ask my daddy to church. He would always say, "No." Once he even said, rather sternly, "I have other things I'd rather do on Sunday." Something about the tone of his voice broke my heart AND kept me from asking him to church again for years.

After Whitney and Caleb were born, Mama started coming to church. Daddy would come...when the children were performing. When Daddy was 53 years old... and I was 31, our church started a revival with Ronnie Owens just before Christmas. It was the first time I had hear Brother Ronnie preach. I was surprised when Daddy showed up on Sunday morning. I was even more surprised to look over from our house while on my way to church Sunday night and see Daddy getting into the car with Mama.

Daddy attended church every night that week through Wednesday. On Wednesday night when the invitation was given, I knew the Holy Spirit was dealing with my daddy. I play the piano, and as I played, I began to tremble and cry. Only a person who has felt the Holy Spirit speak to them can know how I knew. I just knew. I began to cry so hard that the organist came over to the piano and asked if I needed him to play for me. After I told him no, and he walked away, I motioned for him to come back. I had cried so much I couldn't see the music anymore.

I went to the altar and prayed as fervently as I have ever prayed. "Jesus, please save my daddy." I had such a fear that if daddy didn't respond that night, the LORD might not deal with him again. But, Daddy didn't move, and the revival was over.

At the closing Brother Ronnie and our pastor said they felt the revival must go on one more night. Some were excited, but I had lost hope. Our family was leaving early Friday morning to spend Christmas at Disney World. Daddy had to get the campers ready. I knew he would not attend church on Thursday night. He had too much to do.

I spent Thursday quite depressed. After work, I went to see my mama, and my sister was there. They asked, "Are you going to church tonight?" Crazy question...I'm the pianist. But, I knew what they were going to say next. "Your daddy plans to make a public profession tonight."

My sister Bobbie is a dental hygienist. Daddy had gone to get his teeth cleaned on Thursday morning. As he sat in her chair, his hands began to tremble. He told her he was moved to be saved on Wednesday night. He then said he didn't go forward because he was afraid I would pass out! He wanted us to know before he went forward.

Daddy did go forward on that Thursday night, and he has been the most faithful member of our church since.

But, that's not the end of this Memorial Box story. There is so much more to share about how my Daddy was forever changed, but for now, let me share about the bond Brother Ronnie and I have.

Following our revival, I felt the LORD wanted me to write a letter to Brother Ronnie. I put it off for several weeks, but a brief illness with time off work prompted me to follow the LORD's direction. I wrote to Brother Ronnie, and thanked him for his obedience. I thanked him for his faithfulness to carry the gospel, while sacrificing time with his family. I thanked him for giving one more night of revival when his flesh was likely ready to go back home to begin his holiday season with his wife and two daughters. I thanked his daugthers for sharing their daddy, for allowing their daddy to spend time away from them on earth made it possible for me to spend time in eternity with my daddy.

I hope you're still reading.

Weeks went by, and I really didn't think about the letter. Brother Ronnie was back in south Georgia, and I didn't think about the letter. Stan and I took Whitney and Caleb, and we visited the church where he was preaching. I didn't think about the letter.

Brother Ronnie meets hundreds of people each week in churches all over the country. I really didn't even expect he would remember our family, much less my name. I still didn't think about the letter.

When we arrived at the tent crusade, however, he walked up to where we were sitting, called me by name and said, "I got a letter from you."

Brother Ronnie later shared a story that continues to amaze me...a story of how God can use our feable efforts at faithfulness in ways we could never imagine.

Brother Ronnie told me the winter had been bleak. Muliple snow storms had forced many churches to cancel their revival meetings. He had been a couple of months with no speaking engagements, and for an evangelist, no revivals means no income. Then, he had visited with two churches. The first didn't even take up an offering. At the second church, the pastor said, "Our offering was so poor, I'm embarassed to give it to you." So, he didn't.

So, fourteen years ago, Brother Ronnie was driving home, planning to tell his wife he was giving it up. He says the devil got in the car with him. He was making plans for all of the other things he could do. (I didn't realize at the time that his evangelism ministry was just beginning.)


When he opened the door, his wife, Mrs. Judy, gave him my letter.

Go to his website, and you'll know he didn't give up.


If you're praying for lost loved ones, don't give up!

If you feel like giving up, encouragement is on the way.

If God has spoken to you today, go encourage somebody.

He is faithful! He will do more than we ever expect! And, he is weaving a tapestry that is oh, so beautiful, connecting our lives with one another, so that one day we can spend eternity together with HIM!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Intimate Fellowship

Inspired by a phone call and our pastor....

I drove up under the carport today, gathering packages. The doctor has finally determined Ellie does have a UTI. I had her antibiotics. A friend's son is going on a mission trip. I was looking through the mail and found a letter asking for support.
Before I had time to read the letter, Stan had come out on the porch with the phone in his hand, pointing rather frantically.

I followed him inside, and he still hadn't told me who was on the phone. I thought it might be one of Ellie's doctors when Stan said, "Josie-Tatum, take the other phone to your mama."

Then, I knew.

It was Caleb.

Soon, I'll have a photo of him with much less hair. ;)

But, it was oh so sweet to hear his voice. We've received our first letter, but there is something so much more intimate when a parent hears the voice of a child.

He sounded good. He sounded strong. He sounded as glad to talk with us, as we did with him.

Then, tonight at church, our pastor asked,"Does God have favorties?"

And, as you might imagine he reminded us that we can draw as close to Jesus as we choose. Draw nigh unto God, and he will draw nigh unto you.

How intimate is your fellowship with your Heavenly Father?

And, if I was moved beyond words to hear from Caleb, how much more is our Father in Heaven moved when he hears from us?

He wants to talk to you....through his word.

He wants to hear from you....in prayer.

He wants to know you are as excited to hear fom Him as He is to hear from you?

How intimate is your fellowship?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Praise the LORD!

All is well!!!

Ellie's bloodwork was all normal.

God is good.

He is faithful!!!!!

Thank you for joining the battle in prayer!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Calling All Prayer Warriors

Ellie needs your prayers. (Her mama needs some, too.)

She started running a high temp yesterday, with no other symptoms.
Since she has spina bifida, and a neurogenic bladder, with a history of bladder infections, her doctor did a urinalysis today.

The urinalysis revealed little bacteria....but something else....she had sugar and ketones in her urine.

She is scheduled for blood work at 8:00 a.m. in the morning.

Please pray. Please pray that her sugar levels are normal. She has undergone so much in her life. Aside from being in 3 different foster homes the first 2 1/2 years of her life, she's had hip surgery, been in a spica cast for 7 weeks, and a brace for 3 months. She wears AFO's everyday to make her ankels more stable, and is often disappointed that she is NOT like her sister.

She uses a catheter 4-5 times daily, and takes medication to calm her bladder.

I just want to come again diabetes, to rebuke it in the name of Jesus. I don't want her to have one more thing to deal with everyday.

Some of you may have followed her surgery for hip dysplasia. You might remember that her blood sugar went crazy following her 8 hour surgery.

I'm praying that the abnormal sugars and keytones in her urine are just her body's way of handling stress.

Please join me in prayer for her, for good results from this blood work tomorrow.

And, please, if you didn't yet read the Memorial Box post below, go check it out. God is faithful!!!!

Memorial Box Monday

Thanks, again, to Linny for inspiring us to create memorials that will remind our children of all the LORD has done!

I'm home with Ellie, who is, oh, so sick. What better time to stop and remember the faithfulness of our awe-inpiring, Jehovah-Jireh:

Many of you know, and some may not.....I married my high school sweet heart. Yes....Stan. We started dating when I was only 16. I was a child bride. We married when I was 18. And, if I had it to do all over again, I would!!!! Who would put up with me?

This story begins when we had only been married 7 weeks. Stan was working at a saw mill, and I was in college. It was the day of mid-terms, and I was in a humanities class. The teacher had always called my by my legal name, Roberta, ignoring my request to call me Robbie.

On that morning, however, she walked in and called me Robbie. She said, "Robbie, you have an emergency phone call." My heart sank when she called me Robbie. Then, my heart fluttered when she said I had an emergency phone call. I immediately began to worry about my niece Jessica, who was only one week old.

I'm not sure who took me to the student affairs office to answer the phone, and surely don't know how long the person I spoke with had been on hold.

The news was not about Jessica.

It was Stan.

He had fallend 17 1/2 feet and landed on concrete. (I later learned that a pile of logs had broken his fall.) I knew he was conscious. Another worker had been able to talk with him, and he was at the emergency room.

As I was on the phone, my entire body began to tremble. I'm not sure who it was who came up behind me. He held onto me with one arm, while steadying the phone by my ear with his other hand. Overhearing my part of the conversation, another staff memeber was picking up her purse offering to drive me to the hospital.

Stan was not criticaly injured....one of many miracles in his life. He had broken bones and a bruised kidney. He would be okay, but out of work for some time.

I was in college, remember.

I was not making any money.

And, suddenly we found ourselves living off of his workman's compensation.

Most of the time, that was enough.

There was one week in particular, though, that I was worried. Our bills were current, but we had to make our car payment. After I paid it on a Friday, we didn't have any money left for groceries. I was wondering about praying about what to do. I knew I could ask my parents for help, but had not decided to do that yet. I knew we would be okay again on the next Friday when Stan would receive another check.

On Sunday morning, still carrying my burdens alone, a lady at church walked up to me after service. She picked up my hand and placed something in it. She said, "The LORD told me to give this to you."

Those of you who are under 30 may not be impressed. But, those of us over 40 know that $5.00 could buy quite a few groceries in the early 80's. I was able to buy enough for Stan and me to eat through Thursday with that $5.00. We ate a lot of hamburger, I remember, but we ATE!

And, I want my children to remember that God will care for all of our needs. He supplies in ways we do not expect. He will never leave the righteous forsaken.

So, the first object in our memorial box will be a $5.00 bill. And, when I have doubt about paying bills, I shall take it out, and hold it close to my heart, reminding myself to trust in Jesus who can speak to any other child in his Kingdom, and our needs will be taken care of.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Doing the Happy Dance!!!

I just found our first letter from Caleb in the mailbox! I miss him so.

I any of you would like his address, to send him letters/cards of support, email me:


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One Million Arrows

I'm reading this book.

And, I must admit....it tugs at my heart.

On her website, onemillionarrows.com, Julie Ferwerda asks, "Will the world change your children, or will your children change the world?" I am certain everyone of you would like to answer the question the same way I would. But, will our children really change the world?

I'd like to ask you to visit the website. Take a look at Julie's story, her vision, her mission, and her desire to see our children change the world.

Before you click over, though, let me tell you two things:

As I've been reading, I've received affirmation about one of the plans I've had for some time now. I want to follow in the footsteps of Linny, and begin a Memorial Box for my family. I plan to make my first Memorial Box post on Monday. And, since I've told you, now I have to right? And, you'll hold me accountable, right?

Check back Monday and see what the LORD has done. Join me in teaching our children how faithful our Jesus is. (If you'd like to learn more about Memorial Box Mondays, click here.)

I want to share with you, too, what I did today.....and challenge you a little further.

Like most parents, I assume, I look back at the things in my life I wish I had done differently. While reading One Million Arrows, I've made plans to pray BIG blessings over my children. I am further determined to teach Josee-Tatum and Ellie that God has BIG plans for them.

But, I've wondered about my big kids...Whitney, Caleb, and Brandon.

Of course, I hope the beginning of our family Memorial Box will allow us to have some precious conversations about how God has moved time and again in the life of our family.

But, just last week, I believe the LORD spoke to me.

My precious son, you know, is in Basic Training in Chicago. When he was this age, I certainly didn't think that I would one day leave him at the airport to fly away to the Navy.

But, I did have thoughts about how the LORD might use him, and I prayed for him.

In 1999, I started keeping a prayer journal. I've been through quite a few now. But, last week, the LORD reminded me of all of the prayers I've prayed for Caleb.....

So, I started reading through my prayer journals.

And, while I've sent him two letters already, the one I sent today was different.

I wrote for him some of the prayers I've prayed for him. I dated each one. I only made it through one year. ( I think I'll send some each week.)

But, for now, when life is hard on him, I want him to know, his Mama is praying for him, and most importantly, she's been praying for him a long time.

She has prayed for his protection.

She has prayed for his peace.

She has prayed for the LORD to use him.

What better way to encourage your children?

Let me challenge you. If you've never kept a prayer journal, start today. One day, maybe, just maybe, God will want you to share with your children the prayers you've sent up for them.

And, if you'd like to be further challenged, buy a copy of One Million Arrows. See what the LORD will do!

Monday, March 1, 2010

When God Smiles

This was one of those weekends...the kind you wish would never end...the moments when you want to close your eyes and just ENJOY.....

We spent Friday afternoon with friends. Thank you, Sabrina, for inviting us over. Thank you, Jesus, for the friends who have looked after me since Caleb left.

And, then Brandon came home. His visit was the kind that made my heart smile. He came to take Stan and me out to eat. He played with the girls. He stayed around. He rented a funny movie, so I could enjoy a laugh. It made me ever the more grateful that God has allowed me to be his earthly mama with his first mama in heaven.

We spent time with our friends, the Stretches, at a birthday party for two of their precious children.

And, even better than that, the newest member of the family let me hold her...she's only been home two weeks. When she reached for her mama, I counted to three while swinging her in the air, and "threw" her to her mama. She kept coming back to me with her hands raised high, saying, "One, two....," asking for more. While my cold still has me tired, I suffered for the cause of bonding with Zibing. May we be life-long friends.

And, if spending time with family and friends can bring such sweet peace and comfort to my spirit, how much more our Heavenly Father must enjoy the time we spend with Him.
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