Be Strong. Rock on.

As many of you have seen via Facebook, we have an auction going on right now to bring little Thadius home.  Two of the many amazing items up for bids have been generously donated by Andrew Banar of Group Hug Apparel.

Andrew was born with Down syndrome, and an irrepressible zest for life.  One day, when his cousin was going off to college, Andrew decided he wanted to go, too.  He needed to raise some funds, however.  His mom, Karen Pickle, suggested taking one of his rock and roll sketchings and turning it into a t-shirt design.  They have used much of the funding received to support various charitable organizations.

Any t-shirt from the website and infant onesie in our auction feature Andrew’s own artwork, and are sold by a company he owns.   To keep up with the many adventures of Group Hug Apparel bringing joy, fun, and rock-star status to events all over Canada, click here: Group Hug Blog.

Imagine how you could help Andrew change the world by sharing his story and his message, one t-shirt at a time.  Be strong.  Rock on.  With friends.

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Guest Blogger on Classy Chaos

I love to read blogs.  I especially love quirky mother bloggers who are living a fabulous life, but are still, in the words of Tyra, “Keepin’ it rill.”  I love to think that when I laugh along with Kelle Hampton, it means that somewhere deep inside of me is a woman who would write in beautiful calligraphy on a chalkboard to wish my four year old a good morning.  When I sympathize with Ree Drummond, it means that if only I were loved by a man in spurs, I too would hand-paint Kitchen-Aid mixers and wear blue jeans in family pictures in front of old barns.  When I respond with the same sense of justice as Pauline Krawowski, it means I am a secret fashionista who always remembers her sunglasses and skillfully holds her chunky camera in two hands, seeing the world with my brilliant sense of right and wrong and, above all, beauty.

In reality, I am very fortunate to also have an “in” with one of these favorite bloggers.  In a family relation so extended that it would require at least five commas to connect.  And yet, we do.

I have a story she wants me to tell…to women who truly may be everything fabulous, too.

I am intimidated.

But, I Am Not After Your Coffee.

Is Thadius your Kaden?

One of the reasons my husband and I gave for pursuing Thadius is because “no one else may be coming.” And it was true. We had no assurances that anyone was going to pursue him. That’s part of what makes adopting a child from Reece’s Rainbow so powerful. These children are guaranteed no future, even with thousands of people seeing their faces every week. And so, at risk of undermining a reason we, as the Big Little Days family, must take action for this little boy, I want to share something with you.
A few minutes ago, I received this comment on “Fundraising and Freaking Out” :

Here is my response:

Oh, Melissa, what a gift you have given us! Thank you for sharing this story with us. I have to tell you, *THAT* is exactly how my husband and I went from “I don’t know about this, but maybe,” to “Oh my goodness, yes, God wants us to do this!”

There was a little baby on Reece’s Rainbow, Kaden, who we just couldn’t get out of our hearts. We had to know he was being pursued before we could go forward with the domestic adoption we were planning. Two months later, Thadius appeared on a friend’s Facebook page, we clicked, and realized if we were willing to do it for Kaden, we were ready to pursue adoption for Thadius. We assessed our capabilities, with 4 children ages 6 and under at home already, and no personal experience caring for special needs, felt Thadius, younger than our baby by 6 months, was the right child at the right time, and oh, did that face melt our hearts.

We wondered if choosing such an easy-to-love little boy was somehow wrong, and found out a few people had inquired, but no one had sent in paperwork. We want to honor our commitment to our biological children, and need to ease into parenting a child with special needs, saying yes to Down syndrome, which we are familiar with, and feel well-prepared and educated for. Then we realized, that the families, like yours, who could say yes to Thadius, was just a heartbeat away from finding their little one. We are so blessed to know you, blessed to know that you would have pursued this little boy, and blessed to know that, if you are anything like us, your own precious child is just around the bend. You wait, God doesn’t prepare hearts like that to do nothing with them. I can’t wait to see what He’s preparing you for, and preparing for you!

I can’t wait for the day we’ll be following your adoption journey.

****

And, I’m having this little realization. God is going to melt away all our reasons, all our logic, and all of our explanations, and leave us humbled to admit the real reason we are adopting Thadius.

To make Him happy.

Because God’s plans have brought us together for 8 wonderful years of marriage, 4 healthy children, 2 homes, and 1 incredibly loveable, get-you-to-say-yes little boy who, for now, we call Thadius, but some day we will call ours.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, “Give them up!” and to the south, “Do not hold them back.” Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” –Isaiah 43:5-6

Adoption Fundraiser $1000 Giveaway!

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  THANK YOU FOR HELPING US RAISE OVER $3000, AND SECURE AN ADDITIONAL $1000 MATCHING GRANT!  ONLY $11,000 LEFT TO MEET OUR GOAL!  STAY TUNED FOR FUTURE FUNDRAISERS!  

7/28/12: We have received our  matching grant!  Thank you all so much, on behalf of one loved, blessed, and truly precious little baby boy…who doesn’t know any of this is happening for him.  Thank you, Lord, for bringing us all here together.

•••

Thank you to the many people who have read our story, shared it, and donated to make one little boy with Down syndrome an orphan no more.

We are holding a giveaway. Of some really great the things.

And here’s how it works:

1) Easy-peasy free chance: Share this page and giveaway using social media, and win one chance for every “share” (FB, share the link to this giveaway on your wall and “like” Big Little Days Blog so you can tag us (add in @Big Little Days Blog in the message of your post somewhere), Twitter tag @BigLittleDays #giveaway in your post) or, leave us a comment here with the link for all other social media shares. Win up to three chances each day!

2) Donate any dollar amount to win two chances for every $10 donation.

3) Leave a donation in multiples of $18, a traditional Jewish blessing amount (a sweet gift from one of our encouraging readers), and win 3 additional chances for each $18 donated.

Donate to our Chip-In (not tax-deductible) account to help us cover immediate expenses or to our Reece’s Rainbow Account (tax-deductible) for in-country expenses.

Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page to let us know if you do any of the above things.  REALLY.  I cannot guarantee I have counted your entry without a comment here or on our Facebook page.

When our funds reach $250 Our funds reached $250 on 6/28/2012! We will definitely be giving out this prize on Friday, 7/27/12 at midnight, EST:

$25 Restaurant Gift card (Choose from Panera, Applebees, Outback, Olive Garden, and many others) or $25 donation to a RR kiddo of your choice

Congratulations to our $25 prize-winner Linda Benham!


When our funds reach $500, Goal reached 7/1/2012! We are definitely giving away this prize at midnight EST on Saturday 7/28/12:

$50 Gift card to Amazon.com or $50 donation to a RR kiddo

Congratulations to our $50 prize-winners Joyce and Sarah E.!

When our funds reach $1000, Goal reached 7/7/2012! We are definitely giving away this prize at midnight EST on Sunday, 7/29/12:

$100 Gas Card (Choose Speedway, Shell, or Marathon) or $100 donation to a RR kiddo

Congratulations to our $100 prize-winner Lisa Polakowski!

When our funds reach $1500, Goal reached 7/14/2012! We are definitely giving away this prize at midnight, EST on Monday 7/30/12:

$150 Gift Card from Spafinder.com or $150 donation to a RR kiddo.

Congratulations to our $150 prize-winner, Marcia M.!

And when our funds reach $2000, Goal reach 7/27/2012!  We will definitely be giving away this prize at 9 PM EST on Tuesday, 7/31/12:

$200 Target Gift Card or $200 donation to a RR kiddo

Congratulations to our $200 prize-winner, Amy D.!

And when we reach our goal of $3000,  Goal reached!  This prize will be awarded on Tuesday night, 7/31/12 at midnight EST:

A $500 Amazon Gift card, or $500 donation to a RR kiddo

Congratulations to our $500 prize-winner, The Diaper Diaries Blog!

All of our prizes are subject to change, but only to be replaced with an item of equal or greater value. If you would like to sponsor one of the prizes, please contact me!

So, that’s it. Winners will be announced on our Facebook page and on this blog.

Share away, and click this counter to donate to our Chip-in:

Click the picture to “Chip-in!”

Or to our FSP fund On the Reece’s Rainbow site (tax-deductible)

Remember to post your email address on the secure donation servers when prompted so I can contact you if you win. Everyone should also leave a comment below, especially if you are winning a chance from sharing, that includes an email address on the form (only I can see it). Winners will be selected by random number drawing. All prizes not claimed by 8/31/2012 will be forfeited/offered in a future giveaway. Giveaway participants must be 18 years of age or older. Unfortunately (due to messed up regulations), only folks in the USA can win. Anyone who donates from out of the US will each receive a personal thank-you and my undying love and mutual disappointment at the international laws preventing international giveaway awesomeness.

That’s it. Now let’s move those mountains!

Poured Out and Precious

I love a good bargain. I mean, unless it’s a gift for someone else, I weep to pay retail for things I know I can find at a garage sale. When we were growing up, I truly thought that we were poor because my Dad was ridiculously frugal. Like not ordering his own meal at restaurants because he would just finish what we didn’t eat. Like garbage-picking bikes and sports equipment and once, a couple of ancient draft horses.

You have to understand, my Dad was from a different generation. He was born at home during the Great Depression (and yes, I am 31, and no, I am not being generous with my math. The early 1930’s, people). He was the son of Polish immigrants, who called it wasteful when he saved his money to go to college, leaving a promising high school, voc-ed type apprenticeship in masonry.

As a veterinarian and later, financially-secure human physician, you just don’t get over that kind of cheap.

It has been passed on to me.

And so I must tell you the story that ticked me off to no end in church:

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

-Matthew 26:6-13

Because I think if we are going to LIVE frugally, we should GIVE generously to 1) Do the work Jesus called us to do and 2) improve the lives of people who suffer and can’t care for themselves.

For 31 and a half years, I have been siding with the disciples on this one. I want to help the most people and make the biggest impact because WE ARE DOING GOD’S WORK ON EARTH, and, it justifies the spending of money for things I don’t benefit from: One trip to get my nails done is 31 days of medical care and schooling for our sponsor child. See the hook? Bang for your Buck, they call it. And that is not wrong.

But sometimes, it is.

Hear me out. Sometimes, we are not called to fix the problem entirely. When Jesus said “The poor you will always have with you,” I think He was trying to encourage us and temper our expectations at the same time. We aren’t serving the poor to eradicate the problem of poverty. Though a popular soundbite among politicians, this goal is out of our reach, according to Christ. So why should we even try? Ok, the motivating part: there will never be an end to the need for what YOU can do in the name of your faith. Also, even if your action doesn’t help hundreds, it is not sinful to focus your efforts when you are called to honor God with your decision.

So what has changed?

A little boy.

He lives in Eastern Europe.

Alone.

Waiting.

And we are going to see if we can be his parents.

Before you go jumping to conclusions about how horrible foreign countries are for allowing children to sit in orphanages, requiring tens of thousands of dollars to release them, consider this: There are very few countries who will allow their children to be adopted internationally because they know how people will talk about their way of doing things. You can thank a few Dateline specials about Romanian orphanages for shutting down adoptions there.

This Eastern European country has offered us, as American citizens, an incredible gift.

The chance to bring one of their parent-less children home.

And we have seen his face.

And so we begin.

Yes, $35,000 could save 4 orphans here in the United States, or could provide mosquito nets to 3,500 children, or pay for a year of college for 3 underprivileged teens, or meals for a month for 1000 people.

But that doesn’t reduce the cost of bringing this little boy home.

No one is going to get him out without this money.

And that is hard, because I love a bargain. And plane tickets for just one of the three trips will run us $2500 a person. And the first installment of the agency fees is more than we saved all of last year.

And we honestly just can’t afford it.

Then just like that, in a moment of divine grace, I am able to see what the woman with the alabaster jar saw. This money could make a bigger impact if we chose a different way to spend even half of it. But, we are pouring out the whole jar for this one call. To tell God, we have heard You, and we trust You, and we will answer.

When it could do so much more. When it doesn’t make sense. We are anointing this impossibly tiny child of God. Perfectly made with Down Syndrome.

Could you believe that Jesus told the disciples to remember this woman just so 2000 years later it could whisper truth in our hearts today?

So we are humbly asking you to join us on this mission. If you are moved to donate, you will be giving your own treasure for the same goal. To give what is precious for something that will have such a tiny impact. And even if you can’t, if you read these words and say “Those BLD’s are not crazy; I totally see where they’re coming from,” will you leave a kind word below to help us face the discouragement we will surely face along the way?

We are offering our precious savings, or future earnings, and most of all, a good bargain. For this child. Who soon, God willing, won’t be eligible for your charity, because he will be ours.

******

Due to this country’s adoption process, we have not been “matched” with him yet, and so we cannot list his picture publicly. We do know the region of Eastern Europe he is in, and are hopeful that “Thadius” will be the child we bring home. We will be able to share his photo as soon as we have been matched by the Ministry of Education after our Dossier is submitted and we make our first trip. However, anyone who donates to our Chip-in will be eligible for this awesome giveaway

Please know that if he is adopted before this, we will be matched with another child in his region. Which means we’re acting in faith, and trust that God will choose the perfect child for us.

If you would prefer a tax-deductible option (we don’t judge–we’re keeping all those receipts, too!) which will help us while we are in-country, see our Family Sponsorship Page on Reece’s Rainbow.

To Call You Mine

Looking for that adoption blog we were going to set up?  We’ve moved it!  To right here!

Thanks for reading!

The next post has some GREAT info about our little one!

*****************************

Welcome friends, family, and new readers!

So, here’s the first thing first, that big announcement you were promised…

We are adopting a baby.

With Down syndrome.

From overseas.

And that’s all we can tell you just yet.  As you may know, this is a big change in plans for us.  But we saw this precious little one’s face.  And we knew.

Because this baby is waiting right now.  For a family.  To feel wanted.  To never be alone again.

And no one else may be coming.

So we can’t continue pursuing a domestic adoption when God has opened our eyes, and is making the path straight to do this crazy thing.

And my little one, I hope someday soon you will know.  Your dad and I are committed to do what it takes to hold you against our hearts, and to call you mine.

Kona Inspired: RODS Racing Giveaway

Well, while you’re waiting for me to spill the beans, I have a little job for you, and a little incentive as well.

Go to this video, and watch it, click “vote” in the lower left hand corner, then repeat LOTS of times.

(It’s a Facebook link, but don’t worry, you don’t need to have a Facebook account to view it, or give them access to any of your personal info!)

Click me and go to the video!

I have to tell you, I think people who run IronMan races are nutty in the head.  And that’s the kind of nutty this world needs.

I attempted to do a t-shirt giveaway on my Facebook page, but I set “goals” that were blasted through by the time I woke the next morning.

So, now, I’m doing a little giveaway without limits.

I am giving away 2 RODS racing t-shirts (proceeds benefit RODS racing orphan of the year).  It’s the easiest giveaway ever:

1) Click the image above to view and vote.  I’ll give you one chance for every ten views you log (honors system here, folks, and sneakily,you don’t need to watch the whole video every time). No limit.  Just list the last view number you were in your comment below, on my Facebook Page, or heck, even email me at biglittedays at gmail dot com.

2) Share this blog on your Facebook page for one chance, and tag @Big Little Days Blog.

3) Share this blog on your Twitter feed for one chance (shortlink: http://wp.me/p1yMao-b4 ), and tag @biglittledays and @ironmantri.

If my blog is chosen, we will win $500 to put towards our adoption!  Join RODS racing Facebook group page if you would like to give me some competition and post this on your own blog.  If his video wins, Reece’s Rainbow will receive national coverage during the IronMan competition in Kona this year, where (the slightly nutty) Brady Murray will be racing.  Media coverage like that could cost $100,000!

So share, advocate, and most of all view.  And maybe you’ll come out a winner, too!

Giveaway ends Friday, June 22 at 10PM EST.