Friday, December 31, 2010

Do all roads lead to Ethiopia??

Ethiopia.  All images of Ethiopia from my childhood bring up ideads of starving children with bloated bellies and flies swarming their hollow faces.  Ugly, grotesque, cruel - those are words that I might have used to describe this forbidden nation that plagued the news of the 1980's.  However, for some reason, this country continues to make headlines in my life even now.  Does God have some invisible thread connecting us to Ethiopia - who knows - only HE does and I have to remember that His ways are not our own.  In the last few months and in the weeks to come - we have 1 family we know who is taking a mission trip to Ethiopia in Feb, one man we know traveling in a few days to scope out the orphan situation and discover ways to help, another family we are acquainted with has adopted a baby from there, our pastor and his wife announced this week that they are adopting a baby from Ethipia, another dear family from Cape announced their Ethiopian adoption, I was sent a link to a wonderful (yet, heartbreaking) documentary made by a young man traveling to the city of Addis Ababa and showcasing the village of Korah, and I'm reading a book right now which gives a wealth of information on the plight of the orphan in Africa.  It makes us wander what the future holds.........................all I do know is that there is a lost and dying world out there.  As we approach 2011 - I encourage all of us to find ways to pray, give, help, serve, love.

A few of my favorite things




As I thought back on this year - I wanted to share just a few of my favorite things with you. Enjoy!







1. Chai tea - I discovered Chai tea this summer like a pirate discovers a lost treasure. Wow - I once described it as liquid pumpkin pie in a cup. Since that first amazing sip - I have tried many - and not a one has disappointed. Yum!





2. Harmony House - Although we have known of Harmony Outreach and their work through Harmony House for a few years - our lives were forever changed in January 2010 through their orphan ministry. By introducing us to Lori and asking us to be her forever family - they have been such an instrumental part of this beautiful journey called Adoption that we have trekked on this year. Thank you - from the very, very bottom of our hearts!





3. Tom Davis - I had the privilege of reading 3 books by Tom Davis this year. If you need a good read - I highly recommend his works. Priceless, Scared, and Fields of the Fatherless. Amazing, gut-wrenching stories. Excellent work written straight from his heart.




4. A house that doesn't make me sick - Most of you know that we moved to a bit smaller house in July. I had horrible allergy issues at our other house - and even though we didn't know that the house itself was causing it - since moving here - I can tell an amazing difference. What a blessing to wake up and be able to breathe through my nose! Wow - mouth breathing is for the birds!!!





5. Jesus - we continue to trust in the Lord to provide for this adoption, to give us wisdom as we make decisions for our family, to give us unending grace and mercy each day that we screw up, to open His words to us in new ways and shed light on His Will for our crazy lives, for the promise of salvation and the hope of being made more like Him through, and for the love he shares with others through us. Thank you, Jesus, for letting us be vessels. Let our lives bring you Glory and point others to the Cross!





May 2011 continue to bring us closer together as a family and May God use us as He pleases. I look forward to seeing all the little ones come home to their forever families and to seeing more and more people get involved in ways to help the orphans, widows, poor, helpless, hurting, hungry. May 2011 be a turning point in each of our families as we turn more and more toward the One that desires (and deserves) our undivided attention. To God be the Glory - Great things He has done!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What would it take?

What would it take for you, yes you, to get excited about adoption?  I am now reading Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis and once again, it is so obvious that adoption is all part of God's plan.  We are to take care of the widows and orphans - those without means of finding love and life-sustaining care.  So, I ask - what would it take for you to get involved?  There are so many beautiful, adorable children in the same orphanage as Lori waiting for a family.  Would you consider being one of those families?  I mean, really, would you send an email today and start the adoption process?  If your answer is yes - then visit http://www.harmonyoutreach.org/ or Holt International.  If your answer is no - then what's in the way?  I am begging for those of you who read this blog to get involved.  We make so many excuses and say nice, PC things like "adoption isn't for everyone" and "that's so great - but I've got may hands full with the 2 kids I already have".  You know - you've heard it or maybe even said it.   But, it's time to go "Vonnal Donnal" and take this bull by the horns.  I double - dog dare you!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Article 5

It's been a month since I sat down to update our blog.  We have enjoyed the Holidays with friends and family.  Beginning with Thanksgiving, working through Advent, and then basking in the wonders of Christmas - this last month has been very enjoyable. 

For those of you who bought sheets - we give you a big, huge "Thank YOU!"  I need to sit down and get a final count - but to the best of my knowledge - I think almost 500 sets have been sold and more are still scheduled to go out the door!!  Wow - we never expected to be in the Sheet Business - but it has been so fun and rewarding.  Our garage become a makeshift Sheet warehouse and our kids worked right along beside us stuffing boxes.  The sheets are still available and will be as long as we continue to get orders.   A few groups even did their own fundraisers using us as their supplier - so if you know of a 4-H, school group, youth group, or family who wants to do a fundraiser - I highly recommend the sheets.  Tell them to give us a call and we will help them get started.

I have picked up a few PRN hours at a local Nursing Home doing Speech Therapy.  I love, love, love working with the elderly - and even though I hate being away from the kiddos - the time with the older folks is very rewarding.  The extra income is intended to help with some things around the house that need tending to and to finish up our adoption funds.   We don't know how long the PRN hours will last - but we're trying to make th most of it.

Tomorrow is Annie's birthday.  Her last year as a child - next year she enters the teen years.  She is such a blessing to our family and we look forward to watching her learn and grow.  It's great to be surrounded by children that add so much to our home and family.  Happy Birthday to our beautiful Annie!

Now for the really big news - We received our Article 5 today.  Now, don't ask too many questions.  I'm not EXACTLY sure what this is  - but I do know that it begins our final countdown to our court dates in China.  At this point - we should go to China in 6-8 weeks to bring our sweet Lori home.  I am nervous about the flight and being away from the kids for 10-14 days - but we are all excited to meet Lori and get started with our life as a family of 8. 

Our house is a wreck.  Toys are scattered everywhere.  The boys got Legos for Christmas and these little critters seem to multiply like Gremlins.  They can be found in every nook and crevice of our house!!  The tree is put away but a few decorations remain.  Christmas seems to come and go so quickly.   We hope you have truly had a great year and look forward to 2011.    - Love The Lancasters

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wow!

What a year this has been - We are very, very thankful for so many blessings.  May God grant us His unchanging mercy and grace in the days to come as we round out 2010.  I love this time of year. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Book Review: I Lift Up My Soul - Charles Stanley

A few weeks ago - I posted about my new discovery - Book Sneeze.  You can sign up and agree to blog about Book Reviews in exchange for free books.  I LOVE 2 READ so I couldn't pass this one up.  My first book was I Lift Up My Soul by Charles F. Stanley and I was expecting his great words of wisdom to flow forth off the pages like springs of gushing waters. Instead, day after day of reading the short devotionals - I was left dry and thirsty. Yes, he uses Scripture. Yes, his points are relevant. Yes, his words are true. However, the devotionals are very short, simple points that left me wanting more. I felt more like someone handing me sugary candy when what I really needed was soul-nourishing protein. To be fair - I think this book would be a good start for a young Christain who is wanting to get started with a daily Bible reading - but I doubt that it would satisfy the soul of a seasoned Bible reader or someone who is truly wanting to study the Scriptures. I am sorry that I couldn't say more on the positive side - but I don't feel like this book even holds a candle to other devotional books on the market.  So - there's my 2 cents.  Can't wait to see which book I get next.  Want to try Book Sneeze for yourself - there's a link on the Right Side bar of this blog.....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

December 4 - We made the list!

Just a minute ago - I checked my email to find a new Facebook post linked to me.  I opened it to find a sweet family who lives near us telling a bit about their Christmas traditions of Advent.  As they are in the throws of an international adoption adding another blessing to their brood of 4 - they are replacing traditional Advent goodies in their Advent calendar with names of families to pray for each day of December who have recently adopted, are currently adopting, or who are waiting for a child.  Great idea - loved it so I kept reading.  The mom went on to tell a bit about their idea and then posted a list of which families they will be praying for on specific days.  I felt a catch in my throat as I saw our name on Dec 4.  Wow!  We made the list.  Of all the lists I am humbled to have my name upon - this is it.  We are listed right there with some of the most amazing people in the adoption world!!  And I mean that with every breath of my being.  I am truly amazed to think that on December 4, 2010 - this sweet family will be lifting our family, Lori, and this adoption up to the heavens interceding for us at the Throne of the Almighty.  Whew - that's almost too much to comprehend.  All I can say is thank you - Dear Sweet Underwood Family!  May you be blessed this Christmas season. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Fun Day

Do you ever just have one of those days?  Well today - the kids and I went to the Operation Christmas Child collection center for our area and filled about 50 shoeboxes headed for India.  The people there were amazingly gracious and so helpful - it was a joy to get to participate.  We all agreed this was super fun and something we'll look forward to for next year. 

And, here's Annie - modeling her Pilgrim costume for our Thanksgiving Play on Friday.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Picture of Lori

Our newest picture - She is so adorable.

Hats Off

We joyfully mailed 44 cute little hats to China yesterday for Madison's Hat Project!  Jay said we could have wired the money to them and they could have bought 44 hats cheaper than what it cost for postage to Beijing -  oh well - it was the fun of the project that counts!  Thanks for all your help. 

2 Today

I have *surprisingly* had 2 people in the same day ask me about my blog and tell me they read it.  It is so great to know that someone actually reads our blog!  How exciting.  Sorry to my 2 readers that I haven't written anything lately - I guess I didn't have much to share.  Everything with the adoption is going smoothly and we are waiting for official traveling/immigration papers.  We should get Lori sometime in January.

As for life at the Lancaster house, we've been busy selling sheets.  Thanks to friends and family helping spread the word - almost 200 sets of sheets have been sold so far.  Yay!!

That's about it - go have some hot choco or Chai and enjoy this beautiful Fall weather!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Take the Sheet Challenge

As many of you know - we are hosting a sheet fundraiser for Lori.  We are selling 1200 Thread Count Egyptian Cotton Sheet Sets (yes, bedsheets) and the profits go towards our adoption and our Ugandan mission trip (coming Summer 2011).   We are asking for 100 friends and family to help us sell these super soft sheets.  For November - anyone who will sell 10 sets will receive a $25 WalMart or iTunes gift card.  If you, your kiddos, or your entire family would like to take our Sheet Challenge - please let us know and we will send you a packet of info. 

One great mom has agreed to take them to her MOPS meeting next week -  Thanks Alicia!

Our 9 year old cousin is taking an order sheet to school to ask her teachers - Thanks Gracie!

A few other friends have asked for info - Thanks to all of you!

A local 4-H club to going to host their own fundraiser using our sheets - this will profit them $10/set and help us out - Yay!!

Now - if you are really generous and looking for was to be CrAzY - you could sell lots of sheets and use the gift cards to buy Operation Shoebox Christmas items or donate the gift cards to needy families this Christmas.  If any youth pastors out there want to join us and get your youth group involved - we'd love to think BIG with you and see if we can help you make a huge impact in your church and community. 

Got any other ideas - post your comments and help us think of ways to spread the word and sell some sheets!

Book Reviews

A friend told me about BookSneeze.com.  It is a new program (well, I guess it's new - but sometimes I do live under a rock - so it's possible that you've all heard about it before now).  I signed up and agreed to review the books on my blog and various other site (amazon.com, etc.)  Yesterday I received my first book.  Who can complain about FREE books!!  So - be on the lookout for my review. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Madison's Hat Project

Madison is knitting hats to send over to Lori's orphanage.  If you can knit or crochet - we'd love to have your help!  Just knit a hat (or 2) and we'll add it to our pile of creations.  We'll be sending them over in about 2 weeks and can't wait to see how many we come up with.  If you can't knit or crochet - we'll be glad to accept yarn donations.  Thanks

Oct 26th update - We now have about 33 hats  - Thanks to everyone who has contributed.  If you have hats to donate - please send them sometime this week or let us know and we'll come pick them up.  We are super excited about getting them in the mail and on their way to China.

Lori's Linens

Another family raising money to minister to orphans in Uganda told us about a Sheet Fundraiser they were doing.  So, we are selling Sheets for Lori.  They are 1200 thread count Egyptian Cotton Sheet Sets in 12 great colors.  They are so soft and the prices are great.  The King size is $45, Queen $40, and Full $35.  You can order by using the Paypal button at the right or read more about our Sheets at  http://www.lorislinens.com/  Our goal is to sell 1000 sets by the end of December.  It's a great time to stock up for Christmas gifts or just to have an extra set at home. We are also asking people to spread the word - so if you can post a link to us on your blog, share this on Facebook, or send an email to your friends - that would be awesome.  We also have order forms you can take to work with you and help us out.  We have been blown away by everyone's support during this adoption and hope you can help us Sell some Sheets!

Update on Lori

Today we received some updated info on Lori.  Thought I'd share it with you.  Here is what it said:

Lori is developing into a darling little girl.  She is still shy around strangers and is quick to run to a nanny's arms.  Nevertheless, she has made good progress since we provided her with new hearing aids and have nannies assigned to work with her in hearing and speech therapy.  Yay for Speech Therapy!

Soon to be two years old, Lori is a cute little toddler who is learning to adapt in her hearing-impaired world.  She is healthy and strong, learning how to fit in and play with the other children.  We are joyful for Lori that she has been matched with her Forever Family (that's us!) and will be adopted soon.

Like all the children and Harmony House, Lori follows the dailty routine schedule and has a healthy diet.  All the children have 3 meals and 2 snacks a day.  They get up at 6am (way too early for kids to be up!!!) and go to bed at 8pm.

Please continue to pray for Lori and our family as we near the end of this adoption and bring her home. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The big 2!

Happy Birthday to our sweet Lori.  You are a big two year old now.  We hope to see you soon.  Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Father/Son Retreat 2011 @ Camp Ondessonk

(From Jay)


This weekend, I had the utmost blessing of spending the weekend with 63 men. Included with that number were my two young men, Sam & Jax…the “buddies” as we so often call them. Although we endured our share of hardships there, it was a true blessing to both me and the boys.

On our church planting journey in late 2009, we were introduced to two chuches in the Paducah area…Household of Faith and New Geneva Community Church. We had the opportunity to visit them both a few times and come to know and love the people at both. It was this time last year that we learned about the Father/Son Retreat, but we were unable to attend last year. But after attending a Saturday

Saturday, October 2, 2010

One Step Closer

We received our LOA (letter of acceptance) from China yesterday.  Now, we apply for our final paperwork from US Immigration and wait for that.  Our agency is predicting bringing Lori home at the end of January.  Please pray for timeliness as we deal with all the governmental agencies. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Raising funds to give Help to the Helpless

Celebrate Lori's Birthday through the Gifts of Gold fundraiser campaign.  To donate your old, unwanted, or broken gold, silver, or platinum - simply leave a comment or contact us at thelancasterfamily@yahoo.com.  To host your own Gifts of Gold fundraiser - we'd be glad to tell you how to get started!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Missional Homemaking – Listen Now!

Missional Homemaking – Listen Now!

If you don't read Lindsey Edmonds blog - Passionate Homemaking - then you are missing a huge blessing. Her life exemplifies a young woman who is living out her passions as a wife and mom. Take a moment to listen to the podcast from Lindsey's presentation on Missional Homemaking with your daughters. Enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

LifeSong for Orphans

     

Alvin was born in a Liberian refugee camp in The Republic of Ghana, Africa.  His mother fled there during the civil war in Liberia.  Sadly, while she was in Ghana her family was killed in Liberia.  Alvin’s father died in the refugee camp before he was born.

In 2007, When Alvin was 4 years-old, he and his mother returned to Liberia.  There she began attending church and quit drinking.  Two years later, a few days before Christmas, she began vomiting and was admitted to a hospital with malaria.  Soon after, she died.

Alvin now lives at Lifesong Liberia's Master's Home of Champions.

You can help a child like Alvin. You can feed a child like Alvin.

Our goal is 70 people. $28 a month. One year commitment.

We have 44. 26 to go!

Will you join us in bringing joy and purpose to orphans?

Contact us at info@lifesongfororphans.org to make your commitment! 

Gifts of Gold Campaign

Hi Bloggy Readers -

Many of you know that we do Gold Parties and have been tremendously blessed by the income they have produced.  Our sweet Baby Lori has a birthday in October - we can't be there to celebrate with her  - but we can certainly celebrate from afar!  That's why we are sponsoring the Gifts of Gold campaign in October.  We have designed a super easy fundraiser to help raise funds for adopting families and those who want to help with the financial process of adoption.  By asking friends and family to donate their old and unwanted Gold and Silver - adopting families everywhere can reap the benefits of the generosity of others.  To learn more about the Gifts of Gold fundraisers - simply leave a comment and we will gladly contact you with all the info. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

I must confess

This is a tough blog post to write.....but necessary.  I have something to confess and it's best done out in the open - this helps hold me accountable.  We announced the Gold Parties several weeks ago and our plan to use 50% of the profits towards the Adotion Fund.  Well, thanks to everyone's generosity and willingness to host parties in August - we were able to put close to $1500 in Lori's Adoption Fund.   I wish we could say that the Adoption Fund is the only place we need to be putting money these days - but with braces, food, housing, clothing, bills, student loans, and an array of bad decisions in the past which has left us with some debt to pay for - we always seem to have more "month than money".  So - we decided that the Gold Party money in Sept would not go to the Adoption Fund - but would instead help pay down some debt.  Although that still sounds like an acceptable way to use our income - it apparently wasn't in line with God's plan.  Because, you see, in August - with very little effort on our part - we were blessed with 12 parties.  People were calling us out of the blue to schedule one.  We thought this was going to be a piece of cake.  Sept came and even with tons of phone calls, emails, prodding, begging - you get the picture - we've only got 6 parties on the book.  So - we feel like God  has told us that it's ok if we don't want to give any money this month to the adoption fund - but that means we will have only half as many parties.  Do the math - last month we had 12 parties - and 1/2 of the income went to the adoption fund and 1/2 went to our family.  This month, we thought we'd be "smart" and use all the income for the family - and yet we still only made 1/2 of what we made in August.  So - back to Plan A.  From now on - until such a time as God leads us otherwise - 50% of the profits from the Gold Parties will go to the Adoption Fund.  So......wanna have a Party????

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Shame on Us! More Ramblings...

(From Jay)

First, let me clear and say that it is sad how infrequent our posts have gotten on our family's blog.  We went from quite a regular amount of updating, to quite a stand still.  To those that follow our family through this blog, we sincerely apologize.

As I tend to ramble on my blog posts, let me stay true to form and just unload some random things on my mind this evening.

(1) Our Adoption
As most of you know, we began our journey to adopting Lori in February of this year.  God had an interesting way of planting just the right friends, preachers, and books in our path.  After finishing Crazy Love, we were approached with a proposition from an orphange we support in China,

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How Adoption applies to Us

Yesterday, I was reading a devo by Mary Beth Chapman - she's the mom a both biological and adopted kiddos.  She wrote about the first time they were in a foreign land, sitting in the hotel waiting for the adoption officials to bring their new daughter to them for the first time.  She wandered if she would love this child like her others, if the child would cry, how she would react, etc.....She then told of how when they arrived and handed her this baby girl, dressed in worn and dirty garments - that she immediately loved her like her own.  But, more profoundly - that she was also immediately reminded of how much our relationship with God is so similar.  Even on our best days - we aren't any more than filthy children dressed in rags standing before our awesome God  - who has the power to take us into His arms and love us as His own - adopting us into His family to be His child.  What a beautiful picture of redemption. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

.....................

waiting.......................to hear from China...................pray for everything to go well and to move quickly so we can get baby Lori home...........................

Sunday, August 8, 2010

HuHots and Hotness

We just spent some great time with some fantastic friends who took us to a hot new place called HuHots in St Louis.  It was so fun and we highly recommend it if you are ever in the city.  When we got home - our A/C had stopped working.  So "hotness" seems to be the theme of the last 24 hours!!  Ughhhh

Update on Waiting

So many of you ask how the adoption is coming when you see us and here is our latest update - EVERYTHING has finally been sent off to China.  All the paperwork we have been completing since late January has now been compiled, notorized, state certified, authenticated by the Chinese embassy, translated into Chinese, and sent off.  This entire package is called our Dossier.  We have been told that this is the hardest part of the adoption - because Chinese processing time is running up to 8 months.  Once we hear from them, then the wait for final documents from US Immigration, and then we can make travel arrangements.  At this point - we are hoping to have Lori home by Christmas - but in reality it could be around Valentine's Day.  So, just pray that the approvals all come through quickly and that everything is expedited.  We'll keep you posted! 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Birthday

Well today starts my last year as a 30 something.  This time next year - I will be an official 40 year old adult.  In your 30's - you can still make some mistakes - but 40 sounds so unforgiving and grown-up.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

So many things....

Hi to all our Blog readers!  So much has happened in the last 2 weeks - I'm sorry that we have been slow in getting our blog updated. 

1. We moved.  We sold the house, packed everything and everybody up, and moved across town.  It is a little smaller house but a much bigger yard and we are really loving it.  All of our fears of downsizing our space have slowly diminished as we enjoy our new home.  Thanks to everyone who helped paint and move our stuff.  We now need to have a huge garage sale.

2. Our Pancake breakfast and Silent Auction was a huge success and so much fun.  I highly recommend these Applebee's Pancake breakfasts for anyone in need of a fundraiser.  God provided over $1000 that day and since it was part of the matching grant we had received - that meant it totalled over $2000!!!  We were amazed (once again).  Thank you to everyone who donated items for the auction and who volunteered their time to wait tables.  What a great group of friends and family!

3. Our dossier is on it's way.  We mailed our completed dossier to Oregon 2 days ago.  There, our Holt team will translate it into Chinese and send it over to China.  So now, as long as Holt approves everything - we wait.............................  All the many months of paperwork are completed.  Thank you, Lord, for letting us get past this step in the adoption process.  Even though it was daunting and seemed impossible at times - YOU saw us through.  We stand amazed.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A visit with Lori

So many of you ask about Lori and what we know about her, so I thought I would share this today.  We were recently blessed to find out that a group from South Carolina were going to China and were planning on making a visit to our orphanage.  We were able to send over pictures of us and a few toys for Lori.  Here is the email we recieved today telling us more about our sweet girl....

Dear Camille,


We just returned home from our trip to China and wanted to let you know that Lori's gift's were safely delivered! She sat on the floor and enjoyed looking at her photo album!! She is a beautiful little girl and I hope you get to travel real soon to bring her home!! We loved our visit to HH. All the kids are so loved and well cared for what an incredible blessing they are in the lives of these kids. They had just woken from naps and Lori was very shy with us so we kept our distance. She loved her Nanny and played well with the other kids!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Gold Parties & Fundraising: A Great Combination!

We have joined forces with a great  Jeweler from Arkansas and are helping set up Gold Parties in an effort to add to our Adoption Fund.  With Gold and Silver at record highs, it is a great time for jewelers to pay for old and unused gold and silver items. And rather than customers coming to them, the jeweler and their representatives now go to the people.  We are trying to schedule Gold Parties from now until the end of the year - these parties are great because your guests don't BUY anthing - they actually leave with MONEY!  You simply ask the friends and family you invite to bring their old or unused gold and sterling silver (platinum, too) jewelry, flatware, coins, etc. and we will buy it.  Then the Jeweler we are working with can melt it down and reuse it or sell it to other jewelers who need it.

For everyone that schedules a gold party with us from now until the end of August *(this is a change from the original plan), the host will earn 10% of the total amount purchased by the jeweler AND a matching 10% will go the the Lancaster Adoption Fund.  And we are not limiting ourselves to Sikeston.  We would love to have parties hosted all throughout Southeast Missouri including Dexter, New Madrid, Charleston and Cape Girardeau.  We also hope to branch into Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky.

You can also Host a Fundraiser party of your own and let the 10% normally earned by the hostess go toward your adoption, your youth group, or your charitable organization.  What a great, fun way to raise funds for something that you're passionate about.

We are excited about this opportunity, and hope you will join in our fun and help us raise funds for Lori at the same time!

For questions or to schedule a party, call Camille at 573-380-5557 or Jay at 573-380-7641.  Or you can email us at thelancasterfamily@yahoo.com.

Pancakes and Pedicures

Tomorrow is the Pancake Breakfast and Silent Auction.  Hope to see you all at Applebee's between 8-10.  We are still selling tickets at the door and have some amazing donations for our Silent Auction.  You don't want to miss it!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

St. Louis, State Certification, and God's Provision...

Well, we finally got our last document...the long awaited I-797 form from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Department. We got it this past Wednesday in the mail two weeks early as a result of us walking in the prior week to get our fingerprinting done. With our July 22nd deadline quickly approaching, we decided it was best to make the trip to the closest branch office of the Secretary of State...downtown St. Louis. So, Thursday morning, at 6am, Camille and I, along with five in tow...headed north on Interstate 55.

We got to downtown StL around 9am, and entered the interesting labyrinth of one-way streets. One of my biggest fears about driving in downtown St. Louis is turning the wrong way onto a one-way street. Well...it happened. And there were no warning signs! I turned right onto 7th street to face a lady in a mercedes heading straight for us. I was panic-stricken. I quickly pulled right into the parking lane, and then quickly made a U-turn...even stopping everyone so we could backup some, since there wasn't enough room for Big Blue to make the U turn. It was embarrassing. But we pressed on.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Walk-Ins Welcome

Well, we are in the final stages of our paperwork.  We are waiting on one more form from immigration before our dossier can be sent off to China.  We have talked and emailed the USCIS offices this week trying to get this form expedited.  To get the form, it required us to be fingerprinted in the USCIS office inside the Federal Building in downtown St Louis and they had scheduled our fingerprinting appointment for July 6.  Ugh - we have a deadline of July 22 to get everything to China and this is cutting it really close.  Wednesday, our case worker said we could try just walking in and telling them we needed to get this done, even though the policy clearly states they DO NOT accept walk-ins.    Wednesday night at church - we asked our church family to pray that God would open the doors for us to just walk right in and get this done - that even though this was against their usual policy - that we would be able to tell them we needed to get this done and they would say ok.  Early this morning around 6:15 - we headed up to St Louis.  We arrived about 8:30 and after clearing security - were welcomed right in.  The lady even chuckled and said she had heard of us (exactly what does that mean!!).  Apparently, our phone calls and emails this week helped and they had been alerted that we were going to attempt a Walk-In.  We are getting quite a reputation!  By 9:00 - we were back in the car with completed paperwork in hand and headed back home.  Our final form should arrive in 12-48 hours, that gets sent back to the Secretary of State's Office in St Louis for State Certification, then the entire packet of info (a full 3-ring binder full) goes to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago for Authentication.   Finally, once authenticated - it all goes to an office in Oregon where it is translated into Chinese and then forwarded to China.  I think we just may make the deadline.  We are standing amazed today at how God so graciously paved the way this morning.  He shaved almost 2 weeks off the waiting and is proving to see this through.  Hallelujah!  We have so much to be thankful for and it is so cool to see Him work out even the smallest details of life.  Thanks for praying.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Creative Shower Gift

I usually resort to making gifts for wedding and baby showers.  Here are 2 gifts we made today for a fun shower we attended tonight.  Enjoy!

Great Quote

I found this on another blog today.  Thought it was worthy of sharing.  Have a great week and stay cool!!

"Sometimes I would like to ask God, why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world, when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid He might ask me the same question." Anonymous

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Home Sweet Home??????

For those of you following our house drama - the house we thought we were going to buy didn't work out.  So, we went with choice No. 2 - it didn't work out either.  So....onto House #3 - it seems to be moving forward.  Either way - God continues to be faithful and continues to use these trials to strengthen us and make us rely more on Him.  Thanks to all of you who are praying for us during this transition.  It's no small feet to find a home that accomodates a family of 8 within a single-income budget.  We can't wait to get settled and have everyone over.   For you HGTV fans - this would have made a great episode of House Hunters!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Once Again

Once again - our family rejoiced this week over a SOLD house. 
Once again - the house we thought we would move to didn't work out..
Once again - at the last minute - God answered our prayers and provided a home.
Once again - we felt blessed and completely at peace with His provision.
Once again - we were amazed at how God ALWAYS shows Himself faithful.
Once again - we wondered why we even started to doubt Him.
Once again - our pastor - William Marshall - preached on adoption.
Once again - he did not back down and made no apologies about how the church is absolutely supposed to step up and care for the widows and orphans.
Once again - we were so blessed to be part of a body of believers who take the Gospel literally and are unashamed.
Once again - we were blessed by contributions to the adoption fund.
Once again - we stood amazed by the generosity of strangers.
Once again - God is funding His calling.
Once again - God is the one who provides - not us.
Once again - we praise Him.
Once again - we rest in the fact that God is in control.  (Sometimes, we forget that.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pancakes, Pancakes, We all Scream for Pancakes!

Thanks to the amazing Cantrell Family - the Pancake Breakfast tickets are ready to sell.  We are looking for 20 people to each sell 20 tickets.  That would be a total of 400 tickets sold!  Applebee's said the most the Sikeston store has ever sold is 250 and the Cantrell Family wants to blow that number out of the water!  Contact Mindy Cantrell on Facebook or post a comment on this blog if you want to be one of our Super Sellers.  Thanks to everyone involved - we are looking forward to seeing all of you at Applebee's for breakfast on Sat., July 10.  Take Out is available.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Crayons and Construction Paper

Hi to all our readers - We are making a plea today.  Our orphanage has hired a wonderful lady named Emma to come in and work with the children so that they can learn a few English words (such as momma, daddy, drink, potty) and basic concepts (shapes, colors, etc) before they leave for America.  The families adopting through Harmony House are wanting to send over a care package or monetary donation to help buy supplies since they have told us that finding preschool materials is almost impossible in that part of China.  They would love to have some simple things like crayons, construction paper, glue sticks, child scissors, labels, markers, coloring pages, etc - and apparently, even though we can go to any store on the block and find these things in America - that's not the case in China.  So, I am asking if each of our blog readers would make a $5 (or more or less) donation this week using our Paypal button.  Just mark it HH Supplies and we will get it to the right people so these beautiful children can work with Emma and be ready for their new families to bring them home.  We say "Thank You" in advance and we'll let you know how much is raised through our blog this week.

June 1st was Children's Day in China and here are some pictures Lori's orphanage sent over yesterday.  Enjoy!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

One Hundred Families

We are so excited to announce the launching of 100 Families.  100 Families is a Challenge seeking 100 Families who will join together and commit to raising funds for adoption and raising adoption awareness in their churches and communities.  100 Families can have a huge impact in bringing help to the helpless around the world.  To join the challenge and learn more about 100 Families - visit http://www.onehundredfamilies.blogspot.com/  Please share this blog with everyone and encourage others to take the challenge!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Provision beyond measure

As we approach the next few weeks knowing that there are adoption invoices that have to be paid and knowing the money is not yet available - we are praying for God's provision.  Today, our pastor, William Marshall, preached on Malachi chapter 3.  He talked of the theology of knowing the God we serve and His mighty and sovereign means of providing all that we need.  However, in the great scheme of His providence, even as we pray for provision in the here and now - with all of our earthly, fleshly wants and desires driving our thoughts - that God, in His infinite wisdom -has already provided for us through the blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  His grace is sufficient for all our needs.  Why do we cry out for pennies and bread today when riches and glory are to be had in eternity?  Once again, thank You, Lord, for Your mercies - Your love for us endures forever.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hope and Hearing

We got an exciting email today  - our adoption agency received an updated health report on Lori.  She is now wearing hearing aids and responding to her name when someone calls her.  She is not trying to make any sounds or words but she does make sound when she laughs or cries.  This is such a blessing.  Earlier reports listed her as "mute".  Thank you, Lord, for your provision in so many unexplainable and undeniable ways.  We adore YOU!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cooking Up ideas!

Our dear friend Mindy is putting together an amazing cookbook filled with Adoption Stories and Recipes from the countries where these families have adopted.  She will be selling these to help fund our adoption and hopefully many others.  If you have an adoption story or know someone who does - or have any great ethnic recipes from China, Ethiopia, Korea, Vietnam, Ukraine, Russia, Honduras, etc - send her an email at legacyofloveblog@gmail.com   I can't wait to see the finished product and I hope she has an awesome time seeing this come together.  Please pray for her and all her efforts - it's a beautiful thing to see how God provides!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thanks

I don't have a lot on my mind this morning (that happens occasionally!) - but just wanted to post a heart-felt thank to those who have taken it upon themselves to help raise funds for Lori's adoption.  We have some great friends and an awesome church family who are really looking out for us and taking up their portion of James 1:27 to be involved in this adoption.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We can't wait to see what God does with all your efforts.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Blessings never Cease

I have to tell you - somedays I get a little nervous about how we are going to pay for this adoption.  Just being honest......We shared with our small group Saturday night about our thoughts regarding fundraising, etc. and asked for prayer for direction and clarity.  We have lots of ideas for fundraisers and would love to dig in with both hands and have lots of fun selling things, having bake sales, etc - this is right up my alley!  But, we keep sensing that God has specific plans and that we need to be still and wait - so we wait......yet the invoices for various fees don't.  Right now, we need to send our immigration papers off - but a check for $600 or so needs to be attached - so............Well, today 2 really cool things happened.  I rec'd a text from a dear friend that she had an idea God had laid on her heart and she wanted to talk to me.  She came by and low and behold - the idea was about a fundraiser she wanted to do for us!!  This is not something we had even talked about - yet God in His amazing way - laid it upon her heart to help provide the funds.  She had already made some phone calls and sent some emails - and she is planning a Breakfast Day at Applebee's - so if you live near Sikeston - be on the lookout for this fun event and be sure to come!! 

Then, I received an email from the wonderful Linda Huckaba.  She works with our orhpanage - Harmony House - in the US office and just returned from a visit to China.  She sent me 3 awesome pictures of sweel Lori (in one - she even has pigtails - it's so adorable!!) and a quick litle message.  Even though her message was only about 2 sentences - her words were worth millions (well, at least thousands).  She said she had information that some people have possibly made funds available to cover Lori's adoption.  What??? Are you kidding me???  That's huge, God.    I don't know the details yet - but, I'll keep you posted.  Whether the donation will cover a little or a lot - we are so grateful and amazed at the way God speaks to people's hearts to give. 

Thank you - God for you amazing provision.  Why do we ever doubt You?!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Looking for the Source

I just finished reading a little book called "When Happens When Women Say Yes to God" by Lysa TerKeurst.  In  Chapter 7, she quotes C.S. Lewis.....
      I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all of that, into something beyond.  One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke.  Everyone there is filled with light.  But they do not call it goodness.  They do not call it anything.  They are not thinking of it.  They are too busy looking for the source from which it comes.
     Lysa follows with this prayer   "Oh, Lord, give me the desire to be too busy looking atYou to consider anything but Your plan!  Strip away my short and narrow vision to see the wonderful adventure of truly being Your follower.  Help me to be like Your disciples who followed immediately and fully rather than like the people who simply played games at the foot of Your cross."

Oh how often I have merely played games in the comfortable shadow of the cross.  Like Lysa - I pray that I can follow immediately and fully!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Remember Whose in Control Here!

Our readers will be baffled by 2 posts in one day - but, oh well......As I was sitting in my "Reading Chair" this morning going over some ideas pertaining to this $3000 we need to pay our dossier fee and this $600 we need to send to immigration - I have to admit I was feeling a little overwhelmed.  Then, I remembered that so many 40,000 things have been perfectly orchestrated over the last 7 years to bring us where we are with our adoption today - that why would something as trivial as $3600 mess things up now??  Just a few weeks ago - we weren't even sure if we would get matched with Lori.  It was as if she were sitting in the middle of a busy highway and we couldn't get past the rushing cars to save her.  She was literally hanging out in cyberspace and multiple adoption agencys had access to her records.  Any number of prospective parents could have snatched her up and called her their own while we sludged through the mire of paperwork waiting to be approved for a match.  Yet, God in His unceasing amazement - seemed to hold her safely in His arms for us.  As far as we know - no one even looked at her file while she was "out there" online for almost 3 weeks while we were getting our papers together.  The God of Wonders is truly alive and in our midst.  Thank you - Heavenly Father - for your infinate provision.  Help us wait patiently for the funds for this adoption, for the State Certifications, the Consulate Authentications, the Dossier Approval, the Immigration Paperwork, and the all-important Travel Date telling us when we can come to China to pick up our baby and bring her home.  

Great Article on the Common Adoption Questions - Enjoy!

Adoption bring up so many questions.  I found this blog post and copied it here because I thought it had some great answers to the common questions.  It's a little long - but well worth it.  Grab a Chai and start reading.  It may spark something!

Written by Jennifer at http://www.beboldjen.blogspot.com/ -

Adoption and the Three F’s      April 22, 2010 by jsloniger

There are a few questions I get asked often. No matter how people phrase their inquiries, the essence of what they usually want to know about adoption, especially HIV+ adoption, are three basic things.
I’m about to uncover my answers to people’s three biggest adoption questions, but first, did you know that?:

**Statistics from 2005 state that over one-third of Americans had considered adoption but no more than 2 percent of Americans actually adopted.

With so many people considering adoptions in the US it’s a wonder the numbers of adoptive families aren’t higher. I mean, two percent? That’s it?

I’ve looked high and low but it seems the 2005 figures are the most current ones available. Even if the number of families adopting in the US doubled things would still look pretty bleak compared to the 147 million orphans world-wide. The reality is that few people ever move from the ‘thinking about it’ stage to the blessing that is the reality of adoption.
Adoption isn’t the answer to systemic change and the prevention of children being orphaned but it is a very real answer for children in need of parents NOW.

My friends and I wondered at the large numbers of people who had considered adoption and were curious what was happening to prevent them from actually adopting. We began listening closely to the questions and concerns about adoption expressed by people around us. In response, we have come up with a theory that there are three places people tend to stop and ask questions at. We call these points the Three F’s. They are Faith, Fear, and Finances. It’s our experience that if the Three F’s can’t be addressed with a satisfactory answer when they arise families tend not to pursue adoption further.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Encouragement and Disappointment

My heart is full of emotions this morning as I write.  I hope my words on this page can make sense - writing through your emotion is usually a dangerous thing.  This weekend we attended our mandatory parenting class for the adoption.  We laughed and thought how could we learn anything about parenting - boy, were we wrong!  We learned so much and had a great time with the other families.  It was amazing to see how adoption plays out in everyone's life.  Some have thought about it for years and suddenly decided to take the plunge, some felt like it was the last straw after years of infertility, some felt drawn to certain countries due to their family heritage, some felt drawn to a child they had seen on a website or waiting child list......Whatever the case - the common bond of adoption links all these families together and the words we shared were all so encouraging. 
After the class, I was retelling our story to someone who was talking about it, who isn't a big fan of adoption.  Their comments were heartless and discouraging - a shock to my system after such an uplifting weekend.  As I recounted the day we received an email on the little girl we were sponsoring through an orhpanage program ( you know - there are many programs out there like Compassion Int'l, World Vision, etc) telling us she was being adopted out and did we want her since we were her sponsors - I said, "How could we say 'no'?"  The lady responded that she would have said 'no' and just said she'd keep sending the monthly money.  What?  Was she for real?  Sadly, I have no doubts that she wasn't kidding. 
The statistics on orphans our there are staggering - mind blowing!!  If we proclaim Christ - then we must do something.  I know that many send their money and this is a good thing - maybe that's the best you can do and more should at least do that! - but when faced with such a pointed question as "Do you want her?" - Jay and I firmly believe we must say "YES"!  There is no amount of money that can replace the type of tangible love God has designed human parents to give to a child.  Our money may pay for her food and shelter - but our home can provide her with love, the gospel, a place to cry, a place to learn, a place to grow, a place to be a part of a family.  Why would we so purposefully rob her of all that when asked "Do you want her?"
I hope that our story can spark others into saying "Yes"!  We have so many reasons we  shouldn't be adoptiong (according to comfortable middle-class standards).  We already have 5 children, our house isn't big enough, we don't make enough money, we aready have so many things we can't afford, adoption is so expensive, who will watch the kids so we can go to China for 2 weeks, etc, etc, etc.  We've heard and thought through all the arguments.  But, the bottom line is - will we say "Yes" - will you say "Yes"?

To read more about sponsoring a child - you can visit http://www.harmonyoutreach.org/  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's Official

We received our phone call saying we were being officially locked in to Lori.  Yay!! Another milestone in the ominous process.   Praises to the Lord who foreknew all this was going to happen before we ever could have imagined it.  Isn't it funny that we spend so much time planning out our lives and thinking about our futures - when they've already been so carefully orchestrated for us in advance.  Why do we think our ways are better than God's ways??

Friday, April 16, 2010

Where have I been?

I just had my first Chai tea.  Pumpkin pie in a cup.  Only 1 word describes it - AWESOME!!!  Why hasn't someone told me about this before now??  This is definately right up there with the Fuji Apple Salad from Panera Bread - Yummy!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Just an Update

It's been a while since we posted anything - so for everyone who reads our blog - we are still diligently getting our paperwork ready for China.  We thought we were up against some more obstacles - but God has graciously worked all those kinks out.  Thank you, Lord, for your faithfullness.  Also, some things that were going through our mind about how to pay for this adoption seem to have been confirmed and we continue to be at peace with waiting on His provision.  We ask that our friends and family keep us in you prayers as you ask for our hearts and home to be ready for Lori when we finally get her. 

This week we have a family staying with us who have come to town to utilize the Kenny Rogers Children's Center.  They have been such a blessing to our home and we are glad to be part of their story.  You can learn more about them at http://www.exceptionalfamilytv.com/

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More than Enough to Celebrate

As we approach this Easter Sunday, our hearts have been burdened with how to handle the traditions of the day.  For generations, our family has recognized Easter as the celebratory day for remembering the Death of Christ and His Resurrection - but as the day goes by,  those truths quickly lose out to the eggs, the dye, the bunny, the candy, the baskets, the new outfits....you get the picture.  Jay and I have asked our respective families to not mention the whole Easter Bunny thing this year (I'd love for Americans to ditch that part altogether - to be honest, telling kids that a bunny hops around to everyone's house and brings you a basket loaded with goodies and candy is a little twisted.  At least Santa is pictured as a jolly old man - some renditions of this mysterious bunny are downright scary!)  We told our children years ago that all those traditions were myths because we wanted them to focus on the realities of Christ and what Christmas and Easter mean from His perspective.  I once heard someone say that if kids grow up believing in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Leprechans, and Jesus - then one day you say "Oh yeah, I need to tell you that all those things are make believe, except Jesus" (whose story often seems just as unbelievable) - that He can be quickly dismissed as fairy tale, too.  I never want my children to consider Jesus as a possible fairy tale or fond childhood memory.  He is the King of Kings and the whole reason we have any morsel of hope to be freed from our depravity!!  Jay and I were talking about this, and said if Jesus, His death, and His resurrection aren't reason enought to celebrate - than we don't know what is.  Why in the world would you allow some urban legend to share this day with JESUS!  We, as followers of Christ, worship the only God who has defied the grave.  No other religious figure has ever even come close to that miracle.  The Lancaster family encourages you to worship and celebrate Him and Him alone - He is enough.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Home *Sweet* Home Study

Many of you know we are going through our Home Study and Interviews this week.  So far, it has been a wonderful experience and our dear Social Worker has been so pleasant and helpful.  Thanks for all your prayers.  We have our final meeting tomorrow (Wed) and then we work on the written report.  All this puts us one step closer to Lori. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Big Love for Lori

Stay tuned......(and yes, we know that Big Love is the title of a tv show - but we are using it anyway)

Open Windows

Ok - so we thought we had run into another snag.  Last Sunday - two wonderful ladies from DFS came to talk to our church about State adoption and the desperate need for loving families.  They are making a plea to the faith community - and rightly so!  We should be the ones stepping up to take these children.  Well, they briefly talked about the Home Study process.  They mentioned what they look for - fire alarms, fire extinguishers, windows that open, general home safety - wait, go back....windows that open - Yikes!  Our windows are 50 years old and have been painted shut for decades!!  We talked to our social worker and confirmed this little detail and called to get a quote for replacement windows - $3100 - no way!  So, my dear hubby put the pedal to the metal last night and with a little elbow grease, a crowbar, and a hammer - the windows OPEN!!    To Jay - Von al Don al!!

And the Winner is........

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Seeds Giveaway

I got this great idea from Glenna at http://www.glennamarshall.blogspot.com/!  For years, we have been listening and loving the CDs from the Seeds series.  They are wonderfully made and so great for learning Scripture.  Even 2 year olds quickly learn these verses by singing along.  So, I ordered No. 5 in the series - Seeds of Encouragement - and the company - http://www.seedsfamilyworship.com/ - has this great promo going - when you buy the CD - they send you a second one for FREE!  You, my friends, have a chance to win this FREE CD just by sending us a comment (be sure to include a way to contact you).  Then, Chloe is going to pick a name and we will send the CD to you.  How fun is that!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A FULL DAY at the Doctor in STL

Today has been a much anticipated day!  A day of answers. 

This morning, our family (minus Annie who stayed behind for basketball practice) loaded up for what we thought would be a fun day with a quick stop off at the doctor.  The first unexpected thing to happen was that after we were on I-55 for maybe a mile, and a car passed us with a red car tailgating it.  It was so obvious that we discussed how dangerous it appeared.  Maybe one minute later as we were just north of Sikeston, my attention shifted to the median about a 1/2 mile ahead.  I saw what appeared to be the dust cloud from the tazmanian devil.  Then I noticed it was a car rolling.  All I could repeat over and over was, "Oh my goodness!"  The car finally came to rest as it struck the guard cable on the southbound side, which kept it from getting hit again.  We pulled over and noticed that it was the red car.  We called my office and got them to radio the Highway Patrol, which was on the site fast.  It drew quite a crowd.  An exciting beginning to our trip.  I hope the people were all ok.

Then we showed up to my new back doctor in Chesterfield at 11:30...fifteen minutes early.  We walked out at 4:08.  Wow!  Didn't see that one coming.  And with four out of five kids in tow, it was a challenge waiting that long.  Even though I had an MRI done ahead of time, they sent me for XRays and for a CT scan.  The kids did great, though, and the doctor was awesome.  I really liked him.  We had hoped to be in/out of the doctor in an hour or so, and get to squeeze in a little time at the zoo.  Turned out that by the time we grabbed a quick supper at Chick-Fil-A and got in five o'clock traffic that we didn't get home until 8:10.

The Parallel This Adoption Is Beginning To Teach Me

One thing that always amazes me is how whenever any of us set out to do something that we think is solely intended to bless someone else…that we end up being the one that is blessed! I remember when I went to Romania how I thought I was going to minister to the people of Romania. What I learned to my surprise was that I was blessed and ministered to by them so much more than what I could have ever done for them. I actually thought that I was there to offer something…but God humbled me so much to realize that I was there to grow and learn…not to offer anything. I now realize how silly and arrogant it was to even think that.

In setting out on this adoption journey, I also thought this was something we were doing for someone else…for this child…this orphan. I have found recently, however, that I think I was once again mistaken. This weekend, I had a moment where this huge light bulb went off in my head and my heart.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Little Glitch

We had a little glitch in the adoption process that we fretted over - but we received word from our SW that we are still in the game!  Once again, we are convinced that this is totally a "God thing" and that He is working out every detail along the way.  Why do we doubt?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How Did We Get Here?

Sometimes, when I take a moment to reflect, like I did at a small group meeting this past weekend, I look back on the last few years and ask, “How did we get here?”. When I begin to think back, I don’t think I would have ever predicted the details of my life the way that God has sorted them out. And I am thankful for that…very thankful. And I know that I would have messed things up bad if I had done things more my way in the past.

To give some background, we (Camille and I) left Sikeston in 1989, and swore never to return. We attended college in Mississippi, eloped in Kansas in 1992, worked and lived in Kansas, Texas, and Illinois, and in December of 1994 did the unthinkable…we moved back home to Sikeston. We quickly fell into the typical traps for young professionals. We lived around ‘the Joneses’ and did our best to keep up. Our house, our vehicles, our hobbies, and our social calendars all were bent around ‘the Joneses’ and the allure of the world. We proclaimed Jesus on Sunday mornings, but had one foot deep into the world on the other side of the fence.

Scrubbing Toilets For Jesus

As a part of my duties at work, I have to speak a lot in public settings. To aid in this area of my work, I belong to a local public speaking club known as Toastmasters. A small group of about 15 or so meet every other Thursday at our district office. It draws local businessmen and women who hope to develop their skills at speaking. The one hour meeting consists of different exercises including impromptu speaking, as well as, prepared-in-advance speeches.

Yesterday during the impromptu portion of the meeting, a question was asked that people were given an opportunity to respond to. The question, and I’m paraphrasing, was ‘what valuable lessons have you learned recently?’ It could have been about work, or home life, or whatever. In our group, we are blessed to have a woman that comes that is truly a breath of fresh air. She loves the Lord, and it just oozes out of every pore of her body. She stood up and gave her answer for the question.

Full Swing

The Home Study is in full swing.  We've been seen by our doctors, fingerprinted, tested for HIV, TB, etc.  Thank you, Lord, for our healthy bodies.  Jay talked to our wonderful Judy at Holt yesterday and she seems very positive about our application and ability to see this through with Lori.  Upon recommendation by the Oberhauser's who are adopting from the Ukraine right now - we began reading Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore this week.  Truly insightful - to think of each of us as being picked up out of the muck of our own dirty, hopeless lives as orphans and placed in the family of God Himself.  We don't just know Him - but are counted as His sons and daughters, with full rights of kinship, and able to call the Christ "brother".  More on this later......I'm only on chapter 2! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Beginning of the Story

One of my concerns with the adoption of Lori is that as we tell the birth stories of our biological children - how will we ever fill in the unknown events surrounding the beginning of her life.  Well, God knew my heart because I received an amazing phone call today.  A lady from California who has previously adopted from the Foster Home where Lori is - was given my name from the founder of the Home.  One year ago, she and her husband had chosen Lori and were seeking to adopt her.  Through a series of events - when their paperwork became ready, Lori's papers were not completed, so they ended up adding another precious little girl to their family instead.  However, in April of 2009 - when Lori was about 6 months old - this couple made a trip to the Foster Home and because their hearts had been set on Lori - they took tons of pictures, decorated her crib, provided her with beautiful outfits and wonderful toys, and even videotaped the story of how she came to the Home told by one of the ladies who found her and cared for her as a newborn babe.  So, you see, there are no more holes in Lori's story.  Thanks to the sovereign timing of the God we serve, He orchestrated Lori's story and made sure we knew about it so we could share it with her.  Thank you, God, for Your gracious provision in all ways.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Children Are A Blessing!

Something new to our family as you will see on the right hand side of our blog is our intent to adopt a little girl from China.  Her name is Lori.  She is 15 months old...she is hearing-impaired...and she presently lives at Harmony House in China awaiting her forever-family.  We have discussed adoption for give-or-take seven years, but it didn't fall into place until recently.  Camille had known for a long time, but something in me knew the timing was not right yet.  Then, in or around the same recent weekend, it all seemed to fall into place. 

First, we found Lori.  Camille found her at the Harmony Outreach House website, which can be found at http://www.harmonyoutreach.org/.  Camille was immediately drawn to her.  We have talked many times about how we envisioned ourselves adopting a little girl from China.  If finding her on the website did not convict us enough, the same weekend, our blessed pastor, William Marshall, preached a sermon on the Sanctity of Life and the Blessing of Children.  It was wonderful!  In fact, "wonderful" does not do it justice.  I still can't stop thinking about it, and how the Holy Spirit jolted me that day.  I HIGHLY recommend you check it out.  You can download the mp3 at http://www.tbcsikeston.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=453&Itemid=9.  In a nutshell, God has already revealed to us in His Word that children are a BLESSING!  So often in scripture, when He 'blessed' people...He did so by giving them children. 

The Search for the Real Mt. Sinai

Recently, a friend of mine told me I needed to take a look at a set of videos on YouTube.  She said that they had watched the videos the previous night at their Wednesday night church service.  So I checked it out when I got home.

Wow!  It was fascinating.  It was an older video of some different explorers that had set off to find the real Mt. Sinai.  Although, you can find  Mt. Sinai in the back of most bibles at the bottom of the Sinai peninsula, you often will find its location bearing a question mark.  These explorers were not satisfied with what was considered the location by tradition.  It just didn't seem to fit the description in the Bible.

Their journey takes them into Midian or modern day Saudi Arabia, where they locate some incredible finds including what they presume to be the atlar of the golden calf, as well as, many other interesting finds.  All seven of us huddled around the computer last night and watched it as a family.  It was truly fascinating.  Even our 7 year old Chloe enjoyed it and asked questions.

The link below is the first of five 10 minute clips.  Once you watch the first one, it is easy to find the next one.  It is usually the next one that pops on the screen.  I hope you and your family enjoy this documentary.  I know it was a huge blessing to our family.  Watch it one night as your time of family worship.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A08_oRBAVPA&feature=related

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mistaken

I used to think that adoption would be easier than having a child naturally because you wouldn't have 9 months of pregnancy and morning sickness.  However, I was mistaken.  Adoption comes with 9 months of paperwork!  I think our notary public is going to feel like one of the family when this is over!!  But - just like those long, sickly months of pregnancy - it is so very worth it in the end!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

FAQ: Are you guys going to Trinity now? I thought you were planting a church…

Lately, this seems to be one of the most common questions we hear. So, I wanted to take a moment to explain where we are on our journey, and how we got here.

For the past 10 years, we have served at Miner Baptist. We were intimately involved in a number of ministries there, and loved our fellow church people dearly. Sometime in late 2008, we began to both sense that our time at Miner was coming to a close. In July of 2009, a very clear moment came where

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pray for the Orphans

If you are following our blog - you will notice a reoccuring trend including the mention of orphans.  That is just really on our hearts and minds these days - and therefore, one of the frequent things we will probably post about.  At the same time  we are trying to get Lori, several others out there are traveling their own adoption journeys.  Lottie from China, Vanya from the Ukraine, Unwanted Baby from Missouri......all of these children are hopefully coming to families we know personally - but are currently seperated by 1000's of miles, 1000's of dollars, and about a 1000 pieces of paperwork!  Please join us as we begin to pray for God's provision as he orchestrates the miracles of adoption in all these cases.  We will keep you posted. 

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow Day #2

We hung on to the snow another day.  After church, Chloe and I were able to work on a snowman...or snow person?  The snow was mainly of the powder-type and not very sticky, so we had trouble making a snow man of grander size.  So we opted for a Chloe-size snowgirl.  It ended up perfect as you can see in the picture.  Chloe then tried to make a snowdog for her snowgirl, but had some trouble.

Yesterday, we had lots of fun sledding, but after pushing the kids down the hill so many times, I can barely move!  It's time to run to Walgreens for some Advil and IcyHot!

Finally, while we have this beautiful snow, let all of us who have placed our faith in Christ remember that God has forgiven us of our sins and washed us white as snow...Thank you, Jesus!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Webkinz & Ceiling Fans

This afternoon after the sledding extravaganza...Camille noticed it was too quiet in the boys room...plus the door was closed.  Upon checking the door, she found it to be locked...which is a no-no at our house, and made her level of suspicion even higher.  After she got the kids to open the door, she got to see an interesting site.  Standing in the middle of the room was our seven year old

CRAZY LOVE by Francis Chan



We were introduced to the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan just recently.  Camille and I read it together.  I finished it last weekend while spending the weekend at the cabin at our family's wooded farm that's just east of Blodgett.  I cannot speak too highly of this book!  It has truly been LIFE CHANGING for me!  I recommend you get it tomorrow and start reading slowly with an open and honest heart.  Truth be known, most of us don't love God like we should.  We serve out of obligation,
and He truly isn't the most important thing in our life.  For me, I started by asking for forgiveness for this sad fact.  And I have repeatedly prayed for God to help me to want Him...to desire Him...and to fall madly in love with Him.  I am nothing without Him...and with Him...I have to strive to make myself nothing, so that all glory can be His.  The clip above is just an introduction for the book.  In addition to the book itself, the website has some great chapter videos.  You can reach the Crazy Love website at the following link:

http://www.crazylovebook.com/

THIS IS WAR by Paul Washer



We were introduced to Paul Washer in late 2009.  He's quite a fireball!  When I first saw this clip, I was ready to grab my sword and shield and paint my face blue like Mel Gibson in Braveheart.  It's just another great example of how we become so complacent in America, and forget why we are here.  Let's not forget guys!  We are here with a purpose.  Let's be bold, and not waste our time on earth.

Family Discipleship by Voddie Baucham




Family Discipleship has become such a passion of ours this past year! We are far from perfect at it, but have started to grasp the idea that God has given us (especially us fathers) the responsiblity to disciple our children. I focus on verses like Ephesians 6:4 where Paul states, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (ESV) and Deuteronomy 6:5-7 where Moses told the Israelites, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be upon your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.(ESV)".

It's hard to read verses like these and not get convicted about discipling your children. Unfortunately, in the church today in America, too many men do not accept this incredible blessing and responsibility. We rely on others to pass this on to our children, and then we walk in disbelief when our teenagers leave the faith.  It can't be something we simply do for a few hours on Sunday.  Life as a follower of Christ must be characterized by our love for each other and our love for God and His word.  We must live this out at home and pass it on to our children.  It is our hope that God will use us and our ministry to inspire parents to start embracing home discipleship.  For many it is intimidating, and they feel they aren't qualified, but as Voddie said above, just start simple, but most important...Start!


Snow
Day
Jan. 30, 2010


We got snow!  Lots of snow!  And today we spent the morning on a nearby hill with our sleds.  While we do get to experience all four seasons here in good ole southeast Missouri... days like this, with several inches of snow to

Friday, January 29, 2010

Little Vanya has a new family!

Most people think 5 children are more than enough.  It's refreshing to know there is at least one other family who thinks like we do!!  We have had the privelege of meeting the Oberhausers and wanted to share their journey with you.  You can visit their blog and read about their hopes of

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Welcome!

Welcome to the new blog for the Lancaster Family.  Some of you may have followed our 2009 adventures through our blog at FamilyBibleChurchofSemo.blogspot.com.  If so, you can now read all about our journeys here.  If you are new to our musings - we're glad you stopped by. 

January has brought lots of "new" for our family.  Some answers, some questions, and always lots of interesting tidbits.   We continue to work on our book - Family Worship Guide: A Fun Year of Family Devotionals - and hope to that ready by Summer. (Be on the lookout - we may ask you to be one of our Test Families!!)

We also found "Lori".  Lori is a little girl living in China who  is deaf or hearing impaired to be PC.   We received an email saying she was going to be available for adoption and
 we just felt like maybe, just maybe,  we could be the family for her.