Thursday, August 20, 2015

Jesus Hears the Orphan!

Praising God this day that Jesus truly does hear the orphan! Thank you Jesus! Listen and rejoice!

Monday, August 10, 2015

What an amazing difference a year makes! Take a peek!

I thought you might like to take a walk down memory lane with me and my family. One year ago we brought home our two precious Bulgarian children. To God be the glory! GREAT things he hath done!  Here are side by sides every month over the last year. The photos on the left are on August 6th, 2014 when we landed in Manchester, NH. The photos on the right are each month on the 6th. It's incredible! It's a miracle! Praising God!!! These pictures are TRULY worth more than 1,000 words! 

Just HAD to put these photos of JoyAnna, too! Truly, she has had a most amazing transformation!! Don't you think?? From a scared little girl to a beautiful young lady! The Lord has truly replaced what the locusts had eaten in this little gal!! :)

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Love Is...

Love is...
Siblings working hard to bring home their new little sister!!! The kids had a ice water and snack sale at the end of our driveway today! What an amazing testimony to all that came by!

Love is... THIS for sure and for certain!

JoyAnna was excited, too! 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Come and have a cup of tea with us!!!

We are having a steeped tea party to raise money for our newest adoption! Here is all of the info! Please take a look! The party is open until Friday the 31st at 11:00 pm EST! Thank you soooooo much! 

It's wonderful loose leaf teas and many other awesome things! Look for the link for Winslow Gang. Or here is my direct party link: There are many specials going on right now!!! Thank you VERY much! Please take a peek and share this, too! The party goes until 11:00 pm EST on Friday the 31st!! heart emoticon heart emoticon heart emoticon
Amazing International Adoption Fundraiser with Steeped Tea!
112 members

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"And it's beautiful to witness..."

It's truly beautiful to witness the love and grace abounding here each and every day. 

It's hard to believe that nearly 12 months have gone by since Jerry and JoyAnna came into our family! One year ago this very day we were in Bulgaria for our pick up trip. Glenn, and I, Grace, and our nurse Sylvia. We were filled with anticipation and eagerly awaiting picking up our blessings!

Fast forward 10 months and we just had our one year post placement report. What a blessing that was, and truly a miracle, too! You see our agency changed leadership and so the new leadership is very different in their approach to large families and such. 

I'd like to give you a glimpse of our report. The conclusion reads like this:

"Mr. and Mrs. Winslow have the desire and ability to parent Jerry and JoyAnna. After meeting the Winslow family, it is evident that they are a very spiritual and close-knit family. They have a strong bond and believe in working together to create a happy, healthy, and efficient household. Jerry and JoyAnna appear to be very happy and content in their home and family. They have developed a tremendous bond with Mr. and Mrs. Winslow as well as their siblings AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL TO WITNESS. They are truly a family in every sense of the word."

We stand utterly and completely amazed at how God has orchestrated ALL of this down to the littlest detail! Did you catch that little but oh sooooooo powerful phrase....And it is beautiful to witness?

Yes, oh yes, we agree! We couldn't agree more! This is truly why we do this! This is what God Himself has called us to! This truly is our mission field and we couldn't be more humbled and honored to be serving our Lord in this way!

Thank you Lord for revealing yourself to us through this post placement report! We thank you! 

Thank you ALL, too, for your part you have played in getting us to this point! We could NOT have done it without you! There are soooooo many of you and so we are thankful that God knows who you ALL are!!

We TRULY thank God upon EVERY remembrance of you! Philipians 1:3. 

Now as we stay the course, and run the race God has put before us, we are very excited to welcome our newest little one! 

Thank you in advance for your love and caring!

The entire Winslow Gang:
Glenn, Mary, Madelyn, Grace, Edward, Elisha, Jonathan, Jeremiah, Nicole, JoyAnna, and Rosalinda. 
*and our precious Zoey, rejoicing in heaven! Our littlest angel!! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Giving Thanks!

Glenn gave the most wonderful message on thankfulness at church yesterday. What a blessing it was! One of the best parts was when we went around and got to hear what everyone was thankful for within our church family! ! Such an amazing encouragement!
Today I was thanking the Lord for His guidance and prompting in our lives. I spent time thanking Him for His provision in our adoption going on right now. We were able to mail our I-800A application and $1,060.00 in total fees onFriday! Every dime of that was God's provision! 
Friends and family...we started this process as we have with ALL of our adoptions by stepping out in Faith and trusting Him! He who owns the cattle on 1,000 hills! NOTHING is too hard for Him! 
And so we build monuments along the way to remind us of all that He has done for us! 
Many have asked us, what's next?? What's next is a large fee to our agency of $2,600.00 which is due immediately following our I-800A approval. Then there is the fees for trip one which will be around $7,500.00 all totaled. Yes, sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming at times. It really does. Sometimes it feels like ransom. Yet we remain with our eyes on Him, the author and finisher of our faith! 
Thank you ALL soooooo much for your prayers and encouragement and support! Please continue to pray and share with others!!! You have our full permission!
There are 2 ways right now that you can give!
1. Our You Caring Page. This money gets deposited weekly right into our checking account! It's such a blessing. This is so that we can pay all of the expenses that occur BEFORE the first trip.…/the-winslows-are-stepping…/317996
2. Our Reece's Rainbow Family Support Page. This money is completely tax deductible and will fund our expenses starting with our first trip to meet our precious little girl! 
You can visit our blog to meet our family, too and catch up on what is happening! 
While on our blog PLEASE write to us! We LOVE comments! Also, please check out our Amazon link for all of your shopping needs! You can help us with our adoption AND get your shopping done at the same time!!! 
Again, thank you! May God richly bless you for ALL you have done! We sure do LOVE you! heart emoticon heart emoticon
— feeling thankful.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

10 years ago tonight!!!

Grace and Jonathan came home ten years ago tonight!!
Rejoice with us! What an amazing part of our family they are! We love you sooooooo much!!

Grace was 9 and Jon was 2! They are now 19 and 12!! God is sooooooo good!

Happy Anniversary you two!! 

Friday, July 03, 2015

God is "In it to Win it!" and so is JoyAnna! /Reece's Rainbow

We recently put our You Caring Page on Facebook to bring awareness to our adoption process and our financial need. That day we received 2 anonymous donations. The donation that was for $300.00 had a wonderful message attached to it. It said: If it's God's will it's His bill. He's got this! Blessings to your family." 

This just blessed me BEYOND words! It really is the truth, and God has proven it to be true time and time again as we have followed His lead on our adoption journeys that He's taken us on!

The picture I chose for this blog post is a TRUE picture of a life redeemed! Redeemed from lying in a crib for 7 years. Rescued from 4 unnecessary and damaging surgeries to her body. 

Did you all know that in her country, they cut the tendons at each ankle so that she could NOT walk???

WELL...TAKE THAT ENEMY!!! Look at her now!!!! 

This photo was taken Tuesday of this week at her physical therapy session! She spent 20 minutes in the gait trainer and propelled herself forward a LOT!!! This is our precious JoyAnna Yanka Deneva Winslow! Here she is!!!! She is in it to win it! 

She is a LIVING, breathing testimony to the fact that she was fearfully and wonderfully made, and that DEATH has DIED and LOVE has won!!!!

And now as we get closer to meeting our newest little blessing, we are thanking the Lord for introducing us to her! Our little one that will be named Annabella! She is listed as Claire on Reece's rainbow, if you'd like to see a photo of her. She is precious! We also have our own Family Support Page listed with Reece's rainbow for her.

We sooooooo appreciate ALL of your love and support and encouragement! We could NOT do it without you!  Our next step is applying for our I-800A! We promise to keep you posted! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dinner is Served!

What a blessed time we had last night celebrating Grace's birthday on the Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train. Grace had said, "Mom, from you and Dad for my birthday, I want to ride on a train!". Glenn and I went on this very dinner train 12 years ago for our anniversary and we LOVED it! So we reserved a table for 4 (we brought Maddie along as our time with her is winding down for sure!). We decided to sit on the upper level! It's one of the only remaining dinner trains with a glassed in upper level in the country! It was incredible! 

They serve a 5 course meal, and it's truly gourmet! Incredible attention to detail! It's an amazing experience and we totally recommend it! Thank you Martha for coming and staying with all of the other kids!!

Take a peek at our time!
Our two precious girlies! 

So this was my homemade dinner roll! Yup, that's the size for one person! It was hot out of the oven and they had herbed whipped butter! Yummy!

Then we could select our appetizer! This was mine and it was GREAT! 

Next was sorbet to cleanse our palette!
Glenn chose the roast pork ribeye. He said it was awesome! 

I choose the chicken and it was amazing! 

Madelyn chose the salmon and she LOVED it! 

Grace chose the vegetarian plate and it was really yummy!

 We also had dessert! I had key lime pie and the others had cheesecake! It was great!

 We had a wonderful time of fun, food and fellowship! 

Grace wore her souvenir shirt today!

What a blessing our time together was, and everyone here did great, too! Yay! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

"Yes", Lord, there will ALWAYS be room! Part 2 /Reece's Rainbow

**I'm going to consider this "part 2" of saying "YES to God!

Some days, (especially Mondays) can be hard. We had a VERY wonderful weekend, filled with a wedding, and also Father's Day and church and incredible fellowship that was a HUGE blessing!

Then Mondays are a dose of "back to reality". Sometimes we deal with kid issues because we are back into our routine and the safety of our home and that adjustment can be hard....yup...even for the Mom and Dad, too! 

So today, as I'm plugging along...Glenn and Edward are at work, Madelyn is working, too, and we are trying to wrap up school for the year.....and then trying to just get motivated for the week ahead, I'm remembering the scripture..."Do NOT grow weary while doing good for in due season you will reap! If you don't lose heart!"....and so I'm clinging to that, singing it in my head and trying NOT to lose heart!!

Well you know what?? God knows ALL of that, and so He chose to use these precious people to BLESS us amazingly today with this card!!

You know what??? You live your life, and obey God and strive to follow Him and show Christ to others. This card was EXACTLY the encouragement that I needed today to NOT grow weary, and NOT lose heart!

Thank you Mark and Jane Cheeseman! Thank you! This card really is perfect for us! Because there is ALWAYS room for more at our home and in our hearts! ALWAYS!!! Thank you for "getting it" and reaching out to us in this way!! 

We sure do LOVE you!!! 

Friday, June 19, 2015

What happens when we say, "YES, Lord, YES!" Part One/Reece's Rainbow

 You know what? God is good!! and you know when?? ALL THE TIME!! That's right! He is! 
I can't write this all in one post and so I'll do it in a couple.

So, come January of this year, we were going along with our life, which is VERY full, with 9 kiddos at home, when God started the prompting. ....."Hey, have you considered who I will bring to your family next?"....

"What?" I said. "Seriously God, our plate is FULL, we have sooooooo much going on, we, we, we, we,....." I was full of excuses and so was my husband. You see, at the end of January, early February, we had enough money in our savings account to put on a mud room. We live in a VERY small cape, and our space is limited with 11 people living here. So we decided a mud room off the kitchen slider would be awesome. Give us space, places to hang stuff, keep dirt from coming onto our new wood floors, etc. We had it ALL figured out! Right hun?? That's always when is happens! ALWAYS. When one of us gets the "nudge" to do something.

You see, even though our life was super full, it truly had settled GREATLY, and we were really sailing along quite nicely! (if I do say so myself!). To quote the lego movie...."everything was AWESOME! everything was cool with a capital "C" ". And...there was a mud room in our future to boot! Glorious space!!! YAY!! BUT....God saw something or should I say someone different in our future. God saw a way that we could continue to store our treasures in heaven, where moth and rust will NOT destroy. God saw a little girl. God showed us this little girl, again and again and again. And so in March, as a family we went and saw the limited release movie, "The Drop Box". 
 Have you seen it? It's out on DVD now! Precious blog readers, this movie changed our life! This pastor taught us so much about unconditional love! He's nearly 70 years old! A couple of the things he said in the film hit us right between the eyes and straight to our hearts:

Pastor: God sent them to earth with their disabilities. They’re not the unnecessary ones. They teach people. They live with smiles on their faces.
Pastor: We never faced any major troubles.
Glenn and I thought to ourselves, ..."how can we think that our life is too crazy with all that we have going on, and with JoyAnna and her special needs and all that we think is a LOT for us, when this pastor is caring for his own 27 year old special needs son with such love and compassion AND all of these other orphans in his care and the ones that get deposited into the box, too! 

And so we took  just about ALL of that money we had saved up for our mudroom, and we said, "YES", to this precious little girl. The mud room can wait! We were soooooo excited! We started researching and planning. Thing is, another family also said, "Yes" to our little girl, too! We said, "YES", at the same time.  And God saw fit that this little one would be matched with that family, why? Because God had another little girl perfect for us! Bait and switch?? NOPE! A total God thing! And you know what else?? God has put us in touch with this awesome family that God picked for that little girl, and they vacation only 1/2 hour from our home! We'll get to meet up with them next month! They are new to adoption and so God has shown us how we can minister to them and they can come along side of us. we can get our 2 Bulgarian beauties together sometime in the future!! Oh God is sooooooo good!

Okay, so we called our home study agency. They were just out to our house for our first post placement report for Jerry and JoyAnna. We asked them about a home study update for this new adoption. They told us that would be fine and someone would be in touch with us regarding when they could come out, etc. THEN, we got a call. A dreaded call. The agency had new management, and their clinical supervisor was NOT in favor of us adopting again so soon. Our children hadn't even been home a year yet. We needed to wait! UGH, and so we prayed. We prayed and asked God what we should do! We had NO idea!! We really felt like the door had closed! God prompted us to call back the agency and make an appeal to them. To tell them that Bulgaria had built in safeguards into their adoption system so that there was really no way you could bring home another child too soon! No way at all! You could commit to another child after 5 months, but that the new child or children would NOT come home for well over a year! So we made the appeal and they said, "YES!" We couldn't believe it! Well we should have believed it because God was in it! 

So they came for the update. Thing is, they were skeptical. Totally thinking that we were in over our heads! Seriously, the update meeting did NOT go well. Or so we thought. When they left, our eldest daughter at home said..."Mom, that didn't go well, and I do NOT like that lady!". So we prayed, and prayed, and prayed. They called us and said..."Okay, we are willing to do this, BUT, we have many parameters that MUST be met. They listed them......
1. Only one child.
2. You can NOT bring the child home before January of 2016.
3.  The child must be ambulatory (able to walk)
4. The child must be between the ages of 2-6.
5.  The child can NOT require surgery within the first year.
6.  The child can NOT have any severe special needs.
7.  Special needs accepted would be:  Down's syndrome, missing an arm, etc. 

The list went on! BUT you know what??? This list fit our little girl that God had shown us EXACTLY!!! And so today we just got this note from our home study agency:

"Hi Mary:

It is all complete!  Attached is a PDF copy and I am sending you two originals in the mail as well.  I’m also sending two originals to Little Miracles, per their request.

Please let me know if you have any questions or need anything else!"

WHAT???? This is a miracle! A total miracle!!!! 

This is truly what happens when you say, "YES" to the Lord!!! 

Can I get an AMEN?????

Monday, June 15, 2015

Look to the ant....Consider her ways....and be wise Proverbs 6:6/Reece's Rainbow

I was thinking a lot about the ant while out gardening this weekend. I'm always amazed to go out in the morning and find hundreds of little piles of dirt with holes in the top that the ants have worked on all night long. The ant is NEVER lazy or NOT doing something. 

Did you know that in His word, God speaks strongly about the ant as a wonderful example for us to follow? 

The next verse says: 
It (the ant) has no commander, no overseer or ruler, 
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. 

Considering the ant and her ways:
Her ways; her actions and manner of living, especially her diligence and providence, which are the things commended in her, of which naturalists give many instances, as that the ants watch the fittest seasons for all things, that they provide most plentifully against the time of famine, that they never hinder, but always assist, one another in their work, and unite their force together to carry away such things as are too large or heavy for one of them; that they prepare fit cells or repositories for their corn in the ground, and such as the rain cannot easily reach; and if through excessive rain their corn be wet, they bring it forth to be dried; that they bite off the ends of the grains of corn that they may not grow.

The ant has NO commander, no one telling it what to do, and yet it is ALWAYS working at something, storing away for the winter and gathering food when the time is exactly right.  They NEVER hinder one another and always assist each other in their work. They work together when something is too hard for one of them. They prepare proper storage for their hard work. Amazing! 

Another job of the ant is found on our precious peony plants from Glenn's grandmother Smith. A dear friend of mine was just commenting on our peony plants and how pretty they were, and how hers were so bright and colorful right now. I asked her..."Did you know that it's the ant who helps the flower to open?" and she did not realize this. I didn't either a few years ago, and so I was always brushing the ants off of the peony buds. Then I read this:  

"Ants are only attracted to peonies just before the flowers open. They dine on some of the nectar that's released by the flower as it opens. And, as it happens, the ants ultimately help protect the buds from other insects that might eat the flower. It works out well for ant and peony. The ants won't stay around when the peonies have finished blooming and won't hurt your house."

And so now I marvel at how God has designed this entire process, and trust His perfect plan even for something like the ant and the peony! 

If I am willing, there are life lessons for me even amongst my everyday jobs, like gardening, and yes, even weeding! Thank you God for ALL that you show me each and every day! May I always be tenderhearted and teachable!