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, July 30, 2011

Our Week with Caleb

Caleb has been home on leave this week!

Can you see him under the covers on his bed?

We've just had a family week at home, family meals, swimming, and fun.

He and Casie attended Ellie's second horse show! She was so proud to have her brothers there!!!!!

Caleb finally realized one of his dreams of long ago.....to own a Ninja. I think he's been driving a little bit WAY too fast.

But, after frequent requests from Ellie, he slowed down, and drove his sisters around our property connecting with Grandma and Grandpa's house.

He's going back home tomorrow....and I go back to work next week. I would say, "Back to the Real World."

But....I think this is REAL LIFE!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sand and Sun in the South

I've shared that I love summer because of the time I get to spend with the kids.

I've shared how I love the pool.

One other special summer past time is an afternoon at the beach. We are blessed here where we live to be just over an hour's drive from more than one beach. We've spent a couple of days this summer enjoying the water, the sun, and the sand.

It's close enough to Caleb and Casie...they joined us one afternoon.

We like to go in the afternoon, just the day begins to cool a little. The afternoon ocean breeze has begun. Rather than getting hotter and hotter, the air grows cooler. We don't have to worry about sunscreen, but we still have 5-6 hours of sunlight.

We can jump waves. (And be joined by Leighanne and her family. They too are adopting TWO. You can read more about them here.)

Ellie loves to play in the sand and build sand castles. She was joined by Jordan and Zack.....who sometimes just likes to dig a deep hole. (We had hoped he might find a cheaper route to China.)

We like to walk to the pier,

and stroll out across the ocean. We can pose.

And, be silly, of course...

You could find lots of cool things along the rocks.

And, when we are preparing to leave, we get to view one of my favorite's of God's creation:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ellie's Friend

Well, he was first Caleb and Brandon's friend.

Ellie has claimed him, though. Last night, I found her with her doctor kit, "listening to his heart." Then, when he came in today, she asked him to button her shirt. In less than five minutes, he was reading a Dora book.

Just like our Ellie to take control of a person....uh....situation....

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Glimmer of Hope

Stan and I have had some trials this week, a true test of our faith, moments of weakness and wavering.

But, God is so good. Just when we see only a small glimmer of light, we receive a sweet surprise from China, an update and photos of our Drew.

I do believe we will soon have a creative genius in our home!

with a little bit of goofy...like his Jie Jie Whitney.

He's going to have a common interest with his big brothers (ge ges)--- showing off his muscles.

He will be curious about the world--like his Jie Jie Josie-Tatum.

And, last, this story made me think he's going to be giving our Ellie a run for her money. Our Drew is in an awesome foster home for children with medical needs. He attends a private Montessori kindergarten. They were recently taken to a beach....somewhere near Beijing.....When he came back home, he told the ayis, I didn't catch a fish, but I can make a crab with my fingers, and then pretended to be pinching all of them. :)

Please join us as petition our Father to help us get this boy and his brother Zeke home for Christmas. I am ready to pinch those chubby cheeks and get some sweet sugar from that neck!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

All Play and No Work

I love summer! It's not the heat, or even the beauty of the flowers....it's my time at home with my children.

I haven't posted much on the blog because I've been, well, busy.



And, most of that playing has been in the pool. We love to have friends come over mid-morning. We go next door to Grandma and Grandpa's house and spend HOURS in the pool.

And, when the children get hungry, we bring out the ice cream sandwiches....and then play in the pool some more.

There is a peace at the pool that I don't find any place else. I can swim for hours without remembering all of my worries. I can listen to the children, listen to the crickets and locusts, gaze at the green trees and the blue water, and marvel at my blessings.

I believe Ellie can relax, too.

This week, Joli and I discussed the balance between work and play. When Caleb and Whitney were younger, I spent much more time on projects, painting, yardwork, sewing, and cleaning. My yards are in the worst shape they've ever been in.

But, I am playing with my girls.

And, now I know....I will NOT look back at this summer in fifteen years and say, "I should have spent more time working on the house." I know if I choose to do more work and less play, I WILL look back with regret and say, "I wish I had spent more time playing."

If you come by my house, you may not find a spotless floor or a manicured lawn. You will likely see dust settled on bookshelves and the mantle. But, you will hear laughter. Because, I've been given a gift, the gift of living life again, and I don't want to miss the joy of watching my children.

AT the pool.....

that unrehearsed play of children, with no suggestions from the adults. You never know what you will find. And, yesterday, we found the children on the staircase, with stools serving as desks, playing school. Elisabeth was proud to be the teacher.

If you struggle to find "balance" in your life, the perfect balance of work and play, I challenge you to err on the side of play. I'm sure you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What is happening to the light?

Warning: This is not a typical post. If you are not a Christian, none of this will make sense to you. You might not want to read the rest of this. If you are a Christian, hold on. You might not want to read it either. For, when you are done, I believe God will be asking something of you. Are you willing?

My heart was heavy Sunday. I struggled....wondering why I was so burdened. Was the burden from the Holy Spirit or was Satan trying to rob me of my joy. I kept wondering why the world is so dark, wondering why so many children are hungry, wondering why there are 147 million orphans, wondering why so many people I know are addicted to drugs. And, I wondered why Christians have fallen for the lie that we must not say the name of Jesus, or Holy Spirit, or even Satan, we might offend somebody.

What is happening to the Light?

If you are a Christian, you have the Light. Isaiah tells us, "Arise! Shine! For the Light has come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon you."

How many people have seen the glory of the LORD upon you?

It's there.

Why doesn't the world see it?

I can tell you this story because Stan never reads my blog. Like Tim the Toolman, he went to Lowe's and came back with much more than we needed. He went to purchase one electrical outlet, and came home with that plus a dimmer switch. He decided we needed a dimmer switch for the lights in the great room.

He was also quite proud of his accomplishment when the dimmer switch was installed. He was not electrocuted, and I was glad. (That would kind of slow things up for our adoptions.) He turned the power back on, and nothing smoked. ;)

But, the lights wouldn't dim.

It took a visit from a pastor and his wife......and for that precious lady...(thanks, Rozanna) to say, "Stan, I think you need dimmer bulbs."

One more trip to Lowe's.

Now, we have dimmer bulbs.

Problem is: I don't like the room dim. Light should be bright! And, that is my humble opinion.

But, a Christian's light should be BRIGHT!

That is not MY opinion.

If...No....Since the glory of God is risen upon you, why is it dim? What has become more important to you than Jesus?

Your career? Television? Entertainment? Friends? Relaxation? Your home? Sleep? (I like my sleep.)

What is getting in your way? What is blocking your light?

I love sunsets. That's why I photographed so many in South Africa. Like the one at the beginning of this post. But, I don't want to see the Light of Jesus that way.

Oh, how I desire to live my life in such a way, that I leave this world with a glow. My light want burn out, for it is the glory of the LORD! I was to rid myself of anything that causes my light to dim. I want to sanctify myself for His service so that the Light can burn more brightly.

And, I challenge you.

What are you willing to change?

What are you willing to give up?

What are you willing to do?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Love Changes Everything

~~~~~~~~~Especially When It's the LOVE of Jesus~~~~~~~

While in Africa, the sweetest moments occurred in the late afternoon sun until it set across the horizon.

After teaching VBS lessons to the school children, and teaching again after school at the outreach, we would see five sweet faces awaiting our return to the mission base.

Five orphans.

Five children whose lives have been forever changed.

There were moments when I felt the Holy Spirit move in such an indescribable way, simply overwhelmed that God had allowed me to pour His love into them. We played and sang songs. We fixed hair and laughed. We simply enjoyed one another's company. And, the children will likely NEVER understand that the blessing was ours.

I was amazed at the changes in each countenance, from two years ago, before they moved onto the mission base....to this summer. Each face radiated the love of Jesus. Even their skin had a new glow! How honored I am that we have been able to help support and raise support for these children, and more honored that I have gotten to hold onto each one of them.

The photos below show how much love can change a child.

Solomon, who loves games boys play, who will quietly watch outsiders, but play boisterously when given a little attention!

Shandukani, ever so bashful, but a growing confidence in who the LORD says she is.

Faith, who loves to play.....

And sweet Zhuavhudi, whose story I shared here:

And Adi--who holds a special place in my heart. We met him one day two years ago when we went to paint the home of Auntie Lydia, who opens her home to children on the street. After spending the day playing with him, sharing our lunch, and just love, love, loving, Jesus made it possible for him to join the children of the Lighthouse on the mission base.

Love changes everthing!

~~Especially When It's the Love of Jesus~~
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