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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year----and an Update

Stan was able to make a little overtime. Praises the LORD!

A dear friend purchased a necklace. Praise the LORD!

Another friend has offered the service she provides me as her way of supporting our adoption. So, each time I visit her, I will add that money to our adoption account. Praise the LORD!

Check out our new total! (I wonder if it will go up before the New Year.)

Share our necklaces with a friend! I'm ordering more.

Pray for our PA. I know someone who received PA yesterday. I hope we get our PA for Zeke today, then I can post his photo here!!!!!!!!!!!!

And, check back tonight or tomorrow. We're headed to Wild Adventures with my parents, my sister, my great-nephews, and our friends the Russells. (Thank you Grandma for season passes.) I'll post fun photos when we come home.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Most Precious Video I've Seen In a While

I've had these videos for a few weeks, but I've been waiting to share. While I wait patiently...anxiously...no patiently...from China to see if we will receive PA for Zeke, I decided these precious videos could encourage my heart.

In this video, you can see him RUN! I wonder if he can run with his tongue inside his mouth. ;) We better be getting ready for a busy house. Wait, we have a busy Ellie.....just how busy do we think we'll be?

Anyone know Chinese? Want to share what the Ayi is telling him?

And, listen carefully at the end of this video., for just a couple of seconds you can hear some sweet music...HIS voice! (Pause the ssound in the playlist at the bottom of the page.)

Thank you for all joining us on this WILD ADVENTURE!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

From Merry to Mournful

I often find it difficult to maintain uplifted spirits after the holidays. I am surprised tonight that I am not yet mournful...after our last day with Caleb. Please pray the LORD can be my strength over the next several days. Pray for Casie and her mother as well.

It was a sweet sight to see Caleb on the couch when I got up this morning. Ellie knew she would be spending her last day with him, and she stayed almost underneath him for while.

Whitney had to head back to Savannah today. She starts a new job tomorrow. PRAISE THE LORD! And, she will begin classes next week. When she got ready to leave, it was her turn to have her photo with her "baby" brother.

Then the little girls felt left out, so they sort of piled on him.

Then, before we left for the airport, Caleb and Brandon spent some quality time playing "Sorry" with the girls.

Grandma and Grandpa came over to see Caleb before he left...and let the girls go home with them so they wouldn't have to drive the 1 1/2 hour one way trip to the airport.

And, a last photo with the baby sisters.

Brandon drove with Caleb as his shotgun. Casie's mom and sister rode with us. We had a good drive down, a lot of talk and catching up with one another.

Once, at the airport, I had to take a few more "last" photos. I think these are some of the best photos I've ever had taken with Caleb.

I often find it difficult to maintain uplifted spirits after the holidays. I am surprised tonight that I am not yet mournful...after our last day with Caleb. Please pray the LORD can be my strength over the next several days. Pray for Casie and her mother as well.

And, when I was so pleased with the first photo of Caleb, Casie, and me, I should have expected something was up when Brandon insisted on one more.

The good-byes were the least painful I've had since Caleb first left home. Casie, however, was having a difficult time leaving her family again. Please say an extra prayer for her.

I told her mom I had plenty to keep me busy when we got back home. I have a mountain of adoption paperwork to complete. I suggested she might should adopt, too, to fill the void in her heart and in her time. She did NOT readily accept that idea. ;)

We just received a text from Caleb. He and Casie are safely on the ground back where he is stationed. Keep up the prayers for us and for all of those military families who were not able to see their beloved family members this Christmas.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Never a Merrier Christmas

Stan said that today...not those exact words, but they carried the same meaning.

This Christmas has been blessed beyond what I deserve. And, that's what I thought of on Christmas Eve. After cooking all day, I slowed down long enough to go to our church's annual Christma Eve service, a simple service where we observe the LORD's supper.

As we were driving away, I pondered the bread and the wine. The bread...his body...the sacrifice he gave for us. And, the wine...his blood....that covers my sins. I am not perfect, but because of His sacrifice for us, I am blessed beyond what I deserve. So here's our Christmas week, in more photos than you may want to see. ;)

After recovering from strep throat, I was able to keep the Mattox Family Tradition of baking and decorating cookies the day before Christmas Eve. As usual, my nephew Joshua joined us, but this time his 23-year-old sister Lindsey was able to join us. I think she enjoyed it most, as it had been several years since she had been able to come. And, of course, Casie was with us this year!

BTW, Caleb said we only eat the "weak" ones while we are baking....those with broken bits...or weak enough to crumble. ;)

Then, I spent Christmas Eve cooking all day. (Well I started the night before as usual.) I had the corn bread baked for the dressing and the sweet potatoes baked for the casserole. Stan and I got up together at 5 a.m. to put the turkey on the smoker. I have such fond memories of eating with my grandmother on Christmas Eve, and since she passed away, I keep that tradition alive for my children. I love having family in our home!

And, of course, there were gifts. As any mother knows, the greatest joy from gift time is watching our children enjoy their gifts. (Doesn't that sound just like Jesus?) Ellie was the most dramatic, and I am disappointed I don't have much of that on video.

Last year, Josie-Tatum was saved on Christmas Eve, and she brought that up several times over the week. How blessed I was to watch her remember with joy that her spiritual birthday was coming up.

We were beyond blessed to have Caleb and Casie home with us. (And BTW, blizzard in CT means cancelled flights..AND they're still here.) Yippee!! Late Christmas present for me.

But, the most special material Christmas gift we received came from many of you. Thank you to those of you who gave to us this Christmas to help make it possible for two little boys to be home with their family next Christmas.(Take a look at the current thermometer!) Some of your gifts were so generous, I gasped with tears in my eyes. Some of your gifts seemed quite small in the human eye, but I thought of the widow who gave her two coins, and the greater gift that was in the eyes of Jesus. But, to each of you who have given, my heart has been warmed. To those of you who have prayed, please continue. To those who have given and thos who plan to give later, I pray that LORD blesses you in a way that exceeds your imagination!

May we keep the Spirit of Christmas all through the year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Necklaces! Necklaces! Who Wants Necklaces?

They arrived today! (We sold two tonight...and one friend has taken five to start selling.)

Our necklaces from 147 Million Orphans.

The girls had so much fun taking them out of the box, and then putting on as many as they could.

They are easy to wear doubled b/c they are so long. You might could wear them wrapped around your neck three times. I wore one to church tonight as a bracelet. It wrapped 7 times. Whitney suggested, you could use the clasps to connect them together and make Christmas garland. (I like the way that girl thinks!!)

If you live nearby and you'd like to buy one, you could come by and make your own selection for one...two...or three....or you could take orders for us....and we'll order more each Friday. It only took these 3 days to get here.
The necklaces are $25 each.
If you live out of town, and you'd like to purchase one, use the donate button. Leave a message when you're completing the payment information to let me know how many necklaces you're purchasing AND make sure you include the address where you need it sent.
Anyone who lives out of town can also take orders for us. Once you've taken the orders, again use the donate button, we'll place an order, and should be able to ship them to you in about a week.
We plan to sell the necklaces throughout our adoption. If you would like to purchase one, but can't right now due to the expenses of the Christmas season, we UNDERSTAND. Keep our family in mind after the Christmas holidays, at Valentine's Day, or Mother's Day.
And, thank you, my bloggy friends. Many of you have already helped make our adoption possible! May the LORD bless your faithfulness!
If you're not aware:
The ministry at Amazima works with the Ugandan women in the Karomajong village in Jinja, Uganda. The women make the necklaces which are purchased by 147 Million Orphans, allowing the women to make a sustainable income to support and feed their families. The necklaces are sole by 147 Million Orphans with profits used to feed orphans and other vulnerable children. 147 million orphans also makes it possible for adopting families to purchase the necklaces to make profit to support adoption. These ladies are AWESOME!
Off to make some cookie dough. Tomorrow is the BIG cookie baking day at the Mattox house...All five children will join in...and photos of two more will adorn the refrigerator. Check back for photos of the baking day tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Newest Addition to the Family..and Dear Anonymous

With all of the craziness around our house, some normal still exists.

Caleb is home from the Navy. Whitney and Brandon are home from college. Josie-Tatum had surgery today. And, I have strep throat. Whitney had a fever of 102 today.
Unless you think my family is perfect, I awakened from a deep, long overdue sleep this afternoon to a messy house. My wonderful children did NOT say to themselves today, "Oh, Mom's sick, let's see what we can do to help."

While I was lost in never never land on the couch. Ellie was busy as usual. She was creating....

Her name is Ellie Jo. And, I have it on good authority that you can tell she is a girl because she has long hair.

Well, as I became fully coherent and aware of my surroundings, it occurred to me that lots of housework needed to be done. Ellie was kind enough to help AND to encourage Ellie Jo to help, as well. I had walked out of the room when Ellie yelled, "Look, Mama, Ellie Jo folded a towel."
And, that silly yellow girl folded all kinds of things every time I turned my head.

I was blessed to be able to catch up on some laundry with the help of JT, Ellie, Ellie Jo, and Whitney.

It is time for the next stage in our adoption, and let me say, "Praise the LORD." We will need a pretty large amount of money perhaps by the beginning of next week, and He has supplied that need through many of YOU!

And, as I prepared for bed, I prepared a letter to an anonymous critic. Lest some of you think I am an expert at dying to self, I decided I needed to give an answer to AC. I have created a tab at the top of the page for you, AC. Please take a look.

We're Home!

Well, we've been home about six hours, but i kind of feel asleep on the couch. Yes, I fed the children some brunch first.

Good News: Josie-Tatum did beautifully. Her greatest fear was the IV. As soon as we arrived, I shared that with the nurses, and they were quick to calm her fears. There would no NO IV until the meds helped her fall asleep.

So, after they gave her the miracle syrup, she fought going to sleep. But, with her eyes wide open, she asked, "Are we still in the same room." She continued to look around the room at things without really seeing them. The nurses wheeled her away, and she never knew she had left her mama.

The doctor came out very shortly afterwards. The wires are out. The splint is back on...AND...she can take it off at night starting this weekend, move her arm up and down a little, and take a bath before she puts is back on.

Then, when they brought her back to her mama, she still didn't know she had ever left the room. We had to convince her the surgery was over by showing her the wires. She took Stan's phone, called Whitney, said a few words, stared at the phone, and then hung up on her. When we asked her why she did that, she said, "I didn't have anything else to say."

After resting a little while, she has spent the afternoon playing with her sister.

BAD NEWS for MOM : I spent the afternoon....sleeping on the couch. While the LORD granted strength this morning...Thank you, Jesus....I came home and crashed. The meds for the strep throat have really irritated by intestines...if you know what I mean. I don't have any energy. My throat hurts...though not as bed as yesterday...and my stomach is killing me. Because I am allergic to penicilling, this was the best option. Please pray for my throat and my stomach. I sooooo want to feel better for the rest of Caleb's visit.

Thank you for the prayers for JT. BTW, her greatest fear...the IV....never happened. The surgery was so short, they never had to put one in! ;)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Update on Josie-Tatum

Josie-Tatum will have surgery in the morning to remove the wires from her arm. While the doctor says it is a very simple surgery, JT is quite nervous....as much about the IV as anything. Please pray for her peace.

We saw the surgeon today, and following x-rays learned that her arm is healing just like the doctor would hope. They took her out of the splint for x-rays, so she was able to have her arm washed off and plastered with lotion. That was wonderful. She suffers from dry skin in the winter anyway, and the itching has been unbearable for her at times.

When they replaced the splint, she chose flourescent green to wrap it in.

Who knows what she will choose tomorrow?

But, for the evening, it felt like old times. Whitney sat with her sisters on the love seat enjoying "Beauty and the Beast."

The boys were upstairs in the loft playing video games. I love it! Of course, next year, the big boys may have to share the X-Box with their baby brothers. ;)

And, a prayer or two for the mama will also be appreciated. I have strep throat...and I'm not enjoying myself right now. I want to feel better with Caleb home and JT's surgery tomorrow.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Merry Christmas Moment

Tonight was our children's Christmas play at church. Praise the LORD for the adults who worked so diligently to make it happen. Thank you that each of them who uses the gift God has given them.

Enjoy the photos of Josie-Tatum, the angel, Ellie, the pig, and my great nephew Jack, the wise man.

And, Ellie had her first solo in the play! There were a few eyes that did NOT remain dry. I stand amazed at the work God has done in her life. (Don't forget to scroll down and pause the playlist at the bottom of the page.)

Merry, Merry, Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Secret Revealed

Tonight was one of the blessed evenings you really don't want to end. All of my extended family was here. All of my children, my DIL, my parents, my sister and her family. We shared one of Caleb's favorite meals, and, of course, I enjoyed making it. (I've heard he has told Casie he could probably get me to cook anything he wanted.)

For all of you Navy moms, I hugged Caleb realy tight for each of you! (Yeah, I had been in the kitchen for quite a few hours, so my face in kind of shiny, but I didn't want to miss the photo op.)

We played Just Dance on the Wii and had oh so much fun.

And, we made the announcement to the family.......

So....if you'll count the shirts the girls are holding up in this photo.....

There are 2!! Today I bought the first gifts for the 2 boys we plan to add to our family.

We have decided to submit our LOI for Little Boy Mattox #2 this week! He is 10 months older than Zhuang Zhuang; he'll be five years old in January. I will be able to tell you more about him when we receive PA for him.

And, since I'm not supposed to post photos until we receive PA....I'll give you a hint.
Follow this link:
His name starts with an N.

Stan has chosen the name Ezekial Gunter.....we'll call him Zeke...and Gunter after our awesome pastor.

So, pray and pray some more. I'll share more later about how the LORD revealed to us that He had 2 sons waiting for us in China. It is soooooo a God thing.

We've Been Keeping a Secret--UPDATE

Wanna guess what it is?

Go ahead! Leave your guess in the comments.

We're all quite excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Before my DIL kills me...I will go ahead and tell you she and Caleb are not going to have a baby. That rumor could cause some friction in our positive relationship. While I would think it quite humorous, I'm not sure she would.

I do plan to update the blog tonight. We need to reveal the secret to some people in person before we put it on the blog.

But, this has been the most fun......Keep the guesses coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Caleb is Home!!!!!!!!!

Much laughter has come to my home again. We heard a horn, I looked outside and Caleb was here. I shouted to the girls and Ellie began to yell, "Caleb, Caleb, Caleb,Caleb........" continually.

Here's the first photo of many to come. I hope they will humor me!

And, one of the first things Caleb did when he came in the house was take off his shirt. I had to ask, "Do you walk around shirtless in CT?" He said, "No. It's too cold."

He and Brandon are already sooooooooo loud.......I love it! (His wife is tired and resting at her mama's house. She'll be in many photos to come.)

(And, just minutes after he arrived....a $150 donation to our adoption. And earlier, a young mother who was once in my Sunday School class when I taught the youth class gave us $40....$10 for each member of her family.)

Singing praises to my JESUS!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Almost All Home

Josie-Tatum and Ellie are snug in bed.

Whitney came home from college Tuesday.

Brandon came home from college today.

Caleb and Casie will fly home in the morning....with 10 days of leave from the Navy.

The prison let Stan have the whole week off to be home with his son.

My camera is ready...batteries are charging.

Praise the LORD, I will have all my treasures home for Christmas!

(Well, almost all of my treasures....still waiting for one...)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

God Has Done Great Things!

One year, when taking a LARGE group of children to church camp, I assigned each of them a memory verse. It was their ticket onto the van each time we stopped. They were to read it every time they got back on the van from rest stops, lunch breaks, etc...and by the end of the trip, they KNEW those verses. They were hidden in their hearts.

I had a verse, too.

And, interestingly enough, our youth pastor at the time, still remembers MY verse. I don't know if he remembers his, but he remembers what mine was. And, he reminds me of it from time to time.

"The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad."

Well, God has indeed done great things for us.

You know, we needed $2,000 just to begin the process, right?

Check out our new ticker.

And, remember that fleece. It's still out there. And, it's wet, while the ground around it is dry. I'm still waiting, but I am excited to see what the LORD is doing.

Want to join us on this wild ride??????

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Would you consider?

I promised a little something sweet...so here it is:

Is that not just the MOST darling little face? Look at those chubby cheeks. Don't they beg to be squeezed? And, I am certain there is some sweet sugar under that chin and jaw in a tickle spot on his neck. I also think I see some mischief in those eyes.

And, I was recently given some news about our littlest angel.....in an email from China....

"By the way, Zhuang Zhuang and his friend just started attending a Montessori kindergarten yesterday and they LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! When they came home they were so proud! All smiles! "

Last night, in our prayer time, the girls began discussing how Andrew might be afraid to sleep in his room by himself. They were SOOOO sweet. They were making a plan for how he could sleep in the room with them, how to rearrange the sleeping in their room to make room for him. My heart simply melted.....already planning to take care of their baby brother.

And, now....to the question...

Would you consider?

I sometimes run far ahead of God, jump out of the boat, and take my eyes off of Him. I do pray this is NOT one of those times.

But, I'd like to make a request.

We do need $2,000. And, I know it's Christmas. I know the economy is slow. I personally know some who are without work. Stan and I have both taken cuts in pay due to furloughs.

But...I wonder...how many of you could give $10? Some of you have been praying about how much the LORD wants you to give, and some have been thinking, "I would give, but we don't have much." I know all of those things because you've shared your hearts with me AND I've felt those same things when others are fundraising for adoptions.

But...what if you gave $10? And what if you asked 3 other friends to give $10? What if you helped me spread the word? Just $10...but multiply that by 200 and we'll have the $2,000 we need for the next step.

So, would you consider? Would you consider clicking on the donate button on this page? You can use your debit card or your credit card or Paypal.....Then, would you consider emailing 3 friends and sharing our story....sending them a link to our blog....and asking them to consider giving $10? Or.....maybe sharing our need on your blog?

Would you print the photo of this face?

And join me in prayer that God would send the miracle of financing his adoption. Can we see God multiply the gifts you give? Much like the fishes and the loaves. Wouldn't it be awesome if you checked back in few days and saw that your were a part of the BIG picture....bringing our Zhuang Zhuang home.

Thank you, friends! You have supported us through Ellie's adoption,job loss, Ellie's surgery, spica casting, learning to walk, learning to cath...and many more! I am so glad to belong to the family of GOD where we can walk arm in arm together to further His Kingdom work.

I have a fleece out before the LORD. It's something I want to share, but it's not quite time. If the LORD is in it, you will know, and it will be some BIG SHOUTING NEWS.


Yesterday was Memorial Box Monday, and I didn't post a Memorial Box. Today, I checked out Linny's blog, and she had one. I realized that I NEEDED a Memorial Box post more than I needed to share. The spirit is willing, today, but the flesh is so terribly weak. (I promised yesterday a little bit of sweet news, and I will try to share that later tonight.)

Nearly two years ago, we were fund raising for our first trip to South Africa. We committed to going on the mission trip with just a few months to raise the money needed...$6,000. I had no idea where that much money would come from. We REALLY stepped out on faith, expecting the LORD to meet our financial need.

One morning, quite early, I was in my prayer time before school. As I was praying, I felt a burden for a friend who was fund raising for her adoption. As I prayed, I could NOT stop thinking that the LORD wanted me to give to her. It didn't make any sense in the human realm. We needed money, but I was going to give money to someone else.

I went upstairs to her blog and dontated $100. I felt total peace...from the Prince of Peace.

My day continued as usual, hurry up and get the kids ready for school, hurry up out the door, hurry up and clock in, check my mailbox...and

There it was.

A check for

Sometimes I feel like the Israelites wandering through the wilderness. God provided water, and when they needed water again, they whined like a bunch of hungry preschoolers.

I needed to remember today. I will put some "play" money in our Memorial Box...not a real hundred.

We have a large sum of money due soon to our adoption agency. God has proven Himself faithful. We received PA when we earlier thought adopting again was out of the question for us. We have the money for the initial application, but not the $2,000 we'll need next. My mind runs away with a hundred different ways He could provide.

But, I expect He'll surprise me....

And, it will come out of a rock.

So, as I remind you of His provision, will you pray for me, that I, too will remember His provision? And, if you see any rocks, strike them with a staff to see if any money comes out. ;)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Another Little God Moment

We wait patiently on the LORD and His perfect timing for the finances we will need to bring Andrew Palmer Zhuang Mattox home to Georgia, to his Forever Family. (I must say I used the word patiently VERY loosely.)

So, today, I set about the hext step in the paper chase. (For those who have never adopted, if you knew every piece of paper you would have to complete, you would invest in a paper mill.) I was blessed to be able to leave work early today, with hopes that I could gather all of the necessary documents to submit our formal application and committment paper work to our adoption agency.

While I could come home and get busy on the paperwork from the warmth of my own loft, I read where I needed to go ahead and send certified copies of our birth certificates and marriage certificate. I would need to drive to different government buildings in two towns 9 miles apart from one another, but I had hoped that I could get it all accomplished before closing time at 5:00 and then come home to complete the remainder of the paperwork.

Before I left for town, though, I stopped by my house....#1...I left my coat at home and it is COLD outside. #2....I thought I had a copy of one of those documents in our safe at home, and I would have one less place to visit.

So, I came home, opened the safe and found.....

Okay, turn your head.....

Did you see that?

Not one....

Not two....

But three documents. I just happened to have all three documents, all certified copies in the safe at home! (How many of you just happen to have all 3 of those documents in your house?)

So, here I sit in the warmth of my home. It's 41 degrees outside. Now I know that doesn't sound cold to my friends in Michigan...but hey, the wind is blowing at 23 mph and gusting to 31 mph. And, that's COLD to those of us in south Georgia. I don't have to take the girls into that cold wind, or ask someone to sit with them for a couple of hours.

And, I saved $30! I don't have to pay for those copies I already have either. I can subtract $30 from the total cost of this adoption. hehehehehe

So, I will smile when I think of the goodness of the LORD in this "little" thing.

And, just so you can keep up with the Mattox family, here is what we had for supper last night after church.

It is our favorite Sunday Supper and, even Ellie, likes it--the picky eater who seems to enjoy battles over food.

(For those of you who know Stan, this is not HIS favorite supper. I let him take care of himself on Sunday nights.)

And, the big news of the evening.

Josie-Tatum was able to dress herself yesterday. She put on her dress, and she took it off by herself. She put on her PJ's by herself. Today, she was able to dress herself, only needed help getting her broken arm into her sweater. And, that is a big SHOUTIN' Praise from this mama who has been spending 15-20 minutes helping JT in and out of her PJ's and clothes every morning before school.

So, check back tomorrow...I'll share a little something sweet.
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