Sunday, August 17, 2014

What a difference a day makes!!!

REJOICE WITH US!!! 







And so, with great rejoicing, I will say that we are slated to go home tomorrow morning!!! (Monday)! As long as the next 12 hours don't pose any problems or concerns to the docs! Yay!!! Yay!! Yay!! Thank you for praying, thank you for encouraging both me and my family at home! Thank you God for keeping your promises!!! 


In Jesus precious name!! AMEN!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Please continue to pray!!!

Dear  family and friends,
It’s Saturday morning and I’m writing from CHAD where we had hoped to be discharged sometime today. Now, I’m not sure that is going to be able to happen. Since 7:00 this a.m., JoyAnna had vomited 9 times. It’s been dry heaves, but still is vomiting and she has been super uncomfortable. This last time she vomited her oxygen levels dipped down into a dangerous low. So they have her on some oxygen right now with anti-nasua meds through her IV. She is totally NOT herself at all. Typically she’s awake at 6:00 and totally ready to eat and interact with everyone!! She hasn’t had anything to eat at all this morning. 

She is resting comfortably right now. Please pray for wisdom for the Dr’s in what to do and how to best handle this new development. I am super thankful to have this surface BEFORE our discharge. This would have been scary to go through at our home or on the way home, etc. Please also pray for my family back home and that all would go well there, and then for me. God has put soooo many people in my path since Wednesday here. There is sooooo much heartache and discouragement with the families here and their precious children. Please continue to pray for Heather and her little girl Jacie with leukemia, and also for a blended family I met yesterday whose 10 year old son was here for kidney laceration. There is a custody battle going on and both sides were here along with police and security guards and DCYF! The whole gang! The little boy David was released to his unstable mom yesterday and they've all gone home. Turns out they live in the next town over from us. Anyway...lots to pray about lots of people to encourage. Please pray that I would be strong and courageous and that I would NOT be afraid!! For I know the Lord MY God is with me wherever I may go!!!

So it’s looking like we may be here a bit longer! Glenn is coming up this way today to measure a roof for a job coming up, and so he’ll come in and visit with us. He had hoped to be bringing us home, but I don’t think that will be the case.

Thank you ALL sooooo much for your prayers and encouragement! Promising to keep you posted!!! Please share this prayer request with everyone you'd like!!


Love to you!!

M

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Please pray!

Howdy everyone. This post is for my blogger friends that do not have Facebook. Tomorrow, JoyAnna will be evaluated in-patient at CHAD (Children's hospital at Dartmouth). She was supposed to just go for an appointment, but after reading her medical report from Bulgaria, they decided it would be best to admit her and have her seen by as many specialists as possible. They is a blessing to us! We covet your prayers! I'll stay with her and Glenn will drive back home and stay with the kids!

I promise to keep you posted!

Love to you!

M

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

WE ARE GOING HOME!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!


Our visas are printed, and we are coming home tomorrow (Wednesday!!)  We just got word!! REJOICE WITH US!!!

Sunday, August 03, 2014

A Wonderful Lord's Day!

Thank you to Jeff and Lisa Shepherd for bringinig us to church today! It was a wonderful service and we felt great love and acceptance! It was awesome to see Jolynn and her husband there and their precious kiddos, too! We enjoyed a lovely lunch at Papayas after! Thank you all!
We really enjoyed the music! Here is the link to a video of To God Be the Glory! It was awesome! The kids did really well, too, which was such a blessing! 






Saturday, August 02, 2014

Today was a good day!

So just a quick note. Today was a full day, and actually a very good day. We went out together as a group, and had a good time, but needed to come back for some MUCH needed resting by our little Jeremiah man! Oh my!

Then, Sylvia and I went out to do the quick errands we couldn't do before due to Jerry's meltdown, and got Grace some special items in her favorite color!!!
Then we went down to a lovely dinner in the hotel restaurant with our friends. We LOVE Mero the waiter. He's awesome!!! Enjoyed the chocolate souffle for dessert!
Gave the kiddos a bath and now....ahhhhhhhhhh......as they say in the lego movie....

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!!! Sweet dreams to the kiddos!!! 
I just LOVE that JoyAnna falls asleep so quicky on her belly!!! What a blessing!

Tomorrow we will meet up with Jeff Shepherd and his family and go to church! Praise The Lord!!! What an encouragement that will be!!!

Good night all!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Please, please pray!




And so I come to you this day asking for you to pray for us here in Bulgaria. You see, the international visa system has crashed again today. This means that people applying for visas world wide are stuck until it can come up again.

When we first arrived last week, Sylvia and I were walking in Sofia and we came across two wonderful ladies with a small child. We could tell they were from America and we began talking with them. They were stuck here in Bulgaria because the visa system had crashed a few days before and they couldn't get visas for their children and leave. They and another family ended up moving to our same hotel and we were able to fellowship with them and pray with them and encourage them. Then, the visa system came up and running and they were able to fly home to America yesterday.

Well...the visa system has crashed again. And so we need prayers! We have our appointment with the embassy on Monday of next week, August 4th. Then our visas are schedued to be printed on Tuesday and we fy out on Wednesday. Please join us in praying for God's will with ALL of this! We truly covet your prayers!!! 

You can read about the crisis here:


We know this is NOT a surprise to God. We know that He continues to be in control. We pray that our testimony to Him remains strong and unwaivering. 

We need your prayers for:
1.  Us here, and that God's will will be done with our visas for our children.
2.  With wisdom on how we should proceed and what should happen with our flights.
3.  For safety and well being of all of us, especially our new children.
4.  For our family back home and safety and well being for them.
5.  For God's love to shine through us during ALL times!
6.  For any finances that we need to adjust during this time!
7.  For our faith to grow as we are tested!
8.  For wisdom to know if anyone should fly home on our scheduled date. 
9. For the visas to be printed in God's perfect timing!

Please, please, please pass this prayer request on to EVERYONE!! We need to completely bath this in prayer! We know that..."He who has begun a good work in us shall follow it through to completion!"
We know that:
God can make a way, where there seems to be NO way! He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way! 

We love you!
xoxoxo

Just say...."YES"!!

AnDid you ever wonder if God just wants us to say...."Yes"? Like the song goes...we say:

"Yes, Lord yes, to your will and to your way."
"I'll say Yes, Lord yes, I will trust you and obey."
"When your spirit speaks to me, "
"With my whole heart I'll agree!"
"And my answer will be "Yes, Lord, Yes!"

I found myself pondering what it means to say "Yes" to The Lord when He woke me up early, early this morning to pray and talk with Him. 

This adoption process that we have said, "Yes", to, began almost 2 years ago (this coming October) when we said "Yes" to a little boy named Theodore in Bulgaria.

All because Adeye Salem had said, "YES" Lord to her 2 beautiful Bulgarian children and in the process posted some photos of some of the waiting children about to be transferred. If you haven't seen her blog and read her story, please do: www.nogreaterjoymom.com . 

God did NOT have Theodore for our family, he just wanted us to say, "YES" and be willing. Next He had us say "Yes" to a little girl named Zoey. Age 6 and only 10 lbs. 

This was our first referral picture of her. "Really God???" we asked..."is this really who you have for us?" And we said..."YES" God also asked us to say..."Yes" to a little boy named Jerry in an orphanage that had been opened for 90 years without any adoptions! A little 9 year old boy no one wanted! And so we said..."Yes" to him, too! 
And so in December of last year we said..."Yes, Lord, Yes" we will go and meet the children and accept the referral of them. And so we did!
We did NOT know that in just a few weeks from this visit, our beloved Zoey would go to live in heaven. And so we now can see that all God wanted was for us to say, "Yes" and trust him and obey!  

Saying "Yes" doesn't mean that we can control how things turn out. That's for sure and for certain. We need to trust that God knows best!! 

You can watch the tribute video that my friend Maya made here:

Now what Lord, now what????
And so....He asked us to say "Yes" to another little girl. What little girl?? We thought it would be one, and then another, and then another...and .....then...God said.."you see, there is this little girl in the same orphanage as Zoey was..."...."oh God...really??? do we really have to go back there?"...and God said..."Yes"...

Know what, though...you see...when God prompts us, we don't have to say..."yes"...we have our free will of course...and we can always say..."no".....

but we said..."yes"...and within a week, we were confirmed to proceed with our little JoyAnna. You see, when we say..."yes" to God, things often click right away!! 
and so...we went forward. We had our court date and our trip was scheduled. Then....we were told that the only way the orphanage would release JoyAnna into our care was if we traveled with a nurse that would help us care for her. "Really??"..."YES"...and so God provided such a nurse in our dear sister in Christ, Sylvia Collomy. You see, she had the summer off, and she had prayed and asked God to "take her out of her comfort zone this summer" and to "do things that only He could accomplish" and so she got a call asking if she'd be willing to come with us. In 2 hours God provided the money for another person to travel with us! And...Sylvia said..."Yes, Lord!"....
And what an amazing blessing she has been to us. What an encouragement and a prayer warrior! What a caregiver for Jerry and JoyAnna! She said..."YES", and came. Have her nursing skills been needed..."no, not really"...but what was needed is that she said..."Yes".

Saying, "Yes" to Jerry and JoyAnna has not been an easy road...but as the song goes....We need to say.."Yes, Lord", and then "Trust Him and Obey"....it's really that simple! And you know what??? I wouldn't want it ANY other way!

When I see Jerry and JoyAnna together, I know that these are the blessings that come from saying...."Yes"....."LORD, YES"

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Medicals done and now we wait!!

So today we had our medical exams. TB tests for both kids. Now we wait until Friday for the results! Please pray for favor. Famiy photo before the exam! Look at Jerry...he LOVES Grace, and guess what?? He drives her NUTS!!! Can't you see the love??? Thank you all soooo much for your prayers and encouragement!! xoxoxoxo We couldn't do this without you!!

Join us and watch the transformation!!

On Friday of last week, the 25th, when we picked up JoyAnna from the orphanage, she was in pitiful shape. This was my first time seeing her face to face, holding her, touching her, loving her. It was hard and very awkward. She was totally unresponsive and starying into space and not engaged at all. it was really, really, hard.

We put her in the van and headed back to Sofia. It was a challenging ride to say the least. 

Then...we were united with Glenn and Jerry and Grace. That was wonderful! Each day, we've watched JoyAnna engage with us, smile, laugh, and grow! Her appetite is sooooo big now, that I have to go and get more food for her today! They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, and well...I believe that to be true!!

Let me know what you think! This is before and after only 5 days!! Just imagine!!!

p.s....i know that this will go on facebook again, too. just had to share it on my blog for all of my non facebook friends!



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This is the day....That The Lord hath made...Let us rejoice...and Beglad in it!!




Today (Tuesday) is a free day for us while we wait. It's been wonderful so far. We slept in and had a late breakfast. We LOVE the breakfast buffet at the Budapest hotel!!

Glenn and Jerry are doing laundry this morning to hang up to dry. We have been gone for one week, and so it's time to do some laundry! And so..equipped with a plunger, the bathtub and some laundry soap, they go to work! 

Grace and I are studying her lines for the play auditions which are the day after we return from this trip!! 

JoyAnna a.k.a. "Vicki" is hanging out on the bed enjoying some time with me and Grace! She's is doing soooooo well! What a blessing!

Our dear, dear friend Sylvia is going to watch JoyAnna and Jerry this afternoon (yes, she's storing up her treasures in heaven!!) while Glenn and Grace and I go exploring for a bit! Then  tonight...we will eat at a traditional Bulgarian restaurant down the road!!

It's a good day....a very good day! And we rejoice and are sooooo very glad in it!!





Sunday, July 27, 2014

We are in Bulgaria picking up our children!!

Howdy...I'm sooooo sorry not to have posted to my blog sooner. When I logged on, it was all in Bulgarian and I could NOT for the life of me figure out how to get it back to English! I've been praying as I'd much rather be blogging. So...here I am! I figured it out with God's help! Yay!

We arrived here late July 23rd, after being stuck in Frankfurt Germany for many hours and much expense!! UGH....Glenn and Grace went with our beloved Yavor and picked up Jerry, and Sylvia (our nurse0 and I went with Marty and Dani to pick up JoyAnna. We've all been back together in Sofia since Friday evening! It's now Sunday night and what a blessing we have had with each other!

Jerry is doing awesome! He is HIGH energy, but easily channeled and soooooo sweet and loving! I truly wish you all could have been here when he met his sister for the first time. He LOVED her and LOVED her and is still showing her unconditional love! He lovingly nick named her Vicki! This has stuck! It's short for victorious, and that she is!

JoyAnna has made HUGE progress in the few days with us! Here are a few frequently asked questions and answers:

1.  Jerry is 10 and the size of a 5 or 6 year old, but super smart, and NO health problems!
2.  JoyAnna is 7 and spent most of her life in a crib (bald spot on the back of her beautiful head to prove it!) She eats by mouth, and has movement of her arms and legs, but can not yet walk at all, or even crawl. She can roll over, though. She has the biggest eyes I've ever seen and long eye lashes and she loves to take everything in! She laughs and cries, but does not talk at all. She is in for a long haul with many therapies in her future! Her diagnosis is hemolytic anemia. She has had her spleen removed. Her feet are very mis shapen and deformed. It appears she has had some sort of surgery on her ankles at some point. Not sure why. Praying it wasn't to encourage immobility. She truly is a big JOY!! She is very amiable, and loves being in the sun light! I promise to keep you posted!! 

Now to figure out how to post photos in my bog from my i-pad?? i truly am challenged!! 

Saturday, July 05, 2014

WE HAVE TRAVEL DATES TO PICK UP OUR CHILDREN!!!!!!!

Oh my.....oh my....oh my.....oh wow!!! We thought this day may NEVER come, but it FINALLY has, in GOD'S perfect timing, too!!! Thank you Jesus! Thank you!!!

Here is the note that we just got from our U.S. contact:

Hi Mary,
   Toni is ready to schedule your travel dates. The court decree has been picked up, so these are scheduled far enough out to allow the birth certificate to be completed.
Toni is requesting that at least 2 adults travel on your trip and one of them really needs to be a doctor or a nurse for JoyAnna. Toni is making sure that after the birth certificate is obtained, JoyAnna's new civil ID number is entered into the system so that she is covered under Bulgarian health insurance, since it is highly likely that she will need to be hospitalized during your pick up trip. So, I need to know if you have found a doctor or nurse to travel with you. If not, we know of a nurse who has said that she could likely travel with you if needed. Just let me know. 
Here are the trip details:
Leave the US on July 22nd to arrive in Sofia on July 23rd.
On July 24th, one adult will travel to Ruse while the 2nd adult (or 2 adults, if both parents and a doctor/nurse comes) will travel to Stara Zagora. Both children will be picked up on the 25th and brought back to Sofia. You will have the weekend in Sofia. On Monday, the 28th, passports will be applied for. Wednesday, the 30th will be picking up the passports and having the medical exams. The visa interview at the embassy will be Monday, August 4th and the visas can be picked up late afternoon on the 5th. You will fly home with the children on August 6th. 

Please make sure that when you book your tickets, you get flights with the best option for changing dates, just in case there is a medical complication with JoyAnna. We are all praying that things go smoothly during your pick up trip and you can get her home without a hospital stay in Sofia. But, since we know that it is possible, we need to ensure that you are prepared for that possibility. 

Let me know if you have any questions. Please also let me know as soon as possible if these dates are OK and who will be traveling. 

Okay...so we are trying hard here at Grace Abounding Farm to take a deep breath, and to pray, and to trust God!!

What does this mean for us? It means that we will be needing to pay for an extra adult's travels as well as lodging and food. Our already VERY tight budget has now been exceeded greatly! We have also seen that air travel has increased from our budgeted amount, too!!  We know that God knows ALL of this. We trust Him!!!! Would you join us in praying for God's will with ALL of these details?? We know that our heavenly father who owns the cattle on 1,000 hills will provide for ALL of this!!! We know that God has prepared us and everyone for such a time as this! We are filled with HOPE and JOY that can only come from the Lord!!!

So......just wanted you all to know, and also to pray! Do you feel called to give?? Please see our family support page on Reece's rainbow. Here is the link:  http://reecesrainbow.org/51244/sponsorwinslow.   We have figured out that we are going to need another $3,000.00 to pay for our nurse's expenses.  We think that we will need another $2,000.00 for our added travel expenses as well. We would need our family support page to read:  $27,830.00 to be fully funded!  Let's stand back and watch our Heavenly Father provide!!!!

By the way...since getting this earth shaking email about travel dates this morning, God has already provided contact with a nurse who is a sister in law of dear folks at our church! Truly, truly, truly, God is good!! ALL the time!! ALL the time...GOD IS GOOD!!!  We PROMISE to keep you ALL posted!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pssssst.....Did you know?? WE PASSED COURT!!!! Can I hear an AMEN???

Just a quick note for all of you who don't have Facebook! On Monday, June 23rd, our adoption became official in Bulgaria!!! Praise God!!!

Official already in our hearts....it became legally official!

Jeremiah Albert Erol Winslow

and 

JoyAnna Yanka Deneva Winslow


Zoey is smiling in heaven!!

Rejoice with us!!!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Blessings Abound This Spring!

The girls and I were sooooo blessed to spend a day at Great Island Common at NewCastle Beach, while our boys and Glenn were serving with Alert Cadet at Cape Cod for their annual trip. Check it out!! 
































































































Our boys at Cape Cod.....sooooo proud of them, their accomplishments and their servant's hearts!