"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." James 1:27

Friday, August 26, 2011

Boy Man

Can you believe it?  My firstborn, precious boy, is 18 today.  Where does the time fly to?  Josh is an amazing young man.  We are very proud of him, not to mention humbled by his journey with our Father.

The funny things about a boy man...

Lego creations all over his bedroom floor...

he is always ready to jump in and have fun...

The touching things about this boy man...

when he takes his brother and sister to the park to play...

babysitting small children because he loves them...

his love for our Father God, and his desire to serve our Holy savior...

The best parts of  this boy man...

his loving blue eyes...

his amazing sense of humor...

his beautiful smile...

Oh how lucky I am that God chose me to raise up this boy man, how blessed I am that this is the boy man who changed my name to Momma...I love you Joshua

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Love this song! 

The Least of These...Liliana

Oh dear friends.  There is a time in life when you become broken for another.  Today, I am broken.  I cry out!  Lord, Lord help us!  Help us help her!  Oh how Your heart must be shattered, I cannot love like you and my heart is shattered!  I ask you, please to pray for this little girl, to do what you can for her.  Spread the word, give $10.  I am thanking God Liliana has a promised family, a family who is committed to bringing this sweet girl home.  What a gift she will be to their family!  Oh Lord, please bring the funds to her new parents, the parents You have chosen to care for sweet Liliana.  A wonderful blogger, Adeye, at No Greater Joy Mom is having a fundraiser so that the parents of Liliana may bring her home without the concern of financial issues.  Money gets in the way so often, Father, I pray You will bring the funds for her parents!

These pictures aren't for the faint of heart, but they are reality...

This was taken 2 years ago, when Liliana was only 9 years old.  As difficult as this is, it gets worse as it so often happens in an orphanage when a sweet one has down syndrome...

Liliana at 11 years old...weighing only 10 pounds...

Her wrist is three inches around.  Her upper arm is 3 inches around.  Her foot is only 4 inches long.  Her leg is 13 inches long from hip to heel. 

Her head is 16 inches in circumference....

She is literally starving to death.  They have left her in a bed, without love, without hugs, without kisses, without birthday parties, without Christmas.  Thank you Jesus for being with her, for holding her, for loving her, for breaking our hearts for her, for raising up a family committed to rescuing her!
Think of your 11 year old child, 11 year old American child who is loved, and imagine had they been born somewhere else.  What would have happened to them?  What would you want someone to do to rescue them?

Head on over to No Greater Joy Mom's blog and check out the giveaway that she is putting together.  What can you do for her?  What will you do to help?

Mary Kay Fundraiser drawing to a close

First I want to say a big thank you to Debbie and to each and every one of you for considering purchasing Mary Kay to support the Crouch and Russell families in our adoptions. We are so humbled by and brought to tears by the generosity of each one of you.

I also wanted to remind you that the end is drawing near. The last day to order is Sunday, August 21st. If you haven't ordered yet, and still plan to, just head on over to Debbie's website at www.marykay.com/debbieburgio and place your order. You can specify to which family or to both families you want your portion to go to. Also, in a VERY generous offer, Debbie has promised, to each person who buys at least $25.00 in product, to give them 15% off anything else they buy through December 1, 2011!!! Isn't that amazing! Thank you Debbie ♥

Again, thank you to each one of you, for supporting us, but more importantly for helping to give a child a chance that they would have never had any other way. Orphanage life is horrendous. There aren't enough words to describe what these children have to endure because they don't have a family to love and provide for them. Can you imagine feeding your baby 1 ounce of formula and dirty water for the day, everyday, because that is all you have? That is what these babies go through. You are providing their ransom when you support their adoptions. Thank you sweet friends!

The Crouch and Russell families ♥

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I am so excited to tell you that we are giving away an American Girl Doll!  Want to know the coolest part?  You get to choose which doll you want!  SO, if you already have one American Girl doll, there is no chance of a duplicate ;)  Never heard of American Girl dolls?  Well, go to the official American Girl website (click the words in blue to get there) and read all about them.  Each doll comes with a softcover book in which they are the main character!  These dolls are very popular and tons of fun. 

This would be a great Christmas bargain, and the doll will arrive before Christmas.  All proceeds will go towards our adoption.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your donation to help give an orphan a family.  May God bless each one of you.

You will have the choice of the following dolls.  Click on their names in blue for the link to their page to read more about each one.  They all come from different backgrounds and time periods. 













Kanani - who is the girl of the year for 2011!!

This giveaway starts today and will end on September 13th. 

If you donate:

$10 you are entered 1 time
$15 you are entered 3 times
$20 you are entered 5 times
and for every $5 you get 2 extra entries.

If you donate at least $10 AND blog about my giveaway with a link for me to check out your blog, I will enter you 5 times! 

Just click on the Donate button on the right of the screen to enter with your donation. When the page loads you will see a box labeled purpose, type American Girl doll giveaway in the box, then put in your donation amount in the smaller box and click update total.  Then come back here and leave me a comment.  Don't forget to leave me a comment with a link to your blog post sending people my way! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Olive Tree Promise Store

We are so excited to announce our newest storefront!  Just click the blue words to check out our storefront! Olive Tree Promise is a wonderful online store set up to help adoptive families raise money for their adoptions.  There are some wonderful products offered.  Also, new vendors are being added all the time.  If you would like to become a vendor for Olive Tree Products, just let me know and I can hook you up with them. 

Check out some of my favorites!  I just love the puddin' pop dolls.  The Superman was adopted t-shirts are just plain cool :)  Also make sure you check out the jewelry.  There are quite a few products to choose from.  The other thing about this store that is just awesome is the donation page.  You can purchase baby formula for $20 to donate to orphanages in Ethiopia.  You can also purchase a mosquito net or 5 baby chicks for just $10 to give to a family in Zambia.  There are so many more products to choose from.  All the blue words are links to the products in our store. 

We are very excited to offer this avenue for you to participate with us in this adoption journey.  God is so good to us, and we thank Him for YOU everyday.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Sometimes in life, you start to think about how this affects me, or how that wasn't what I wanted.  You start to think about all the "bad" things that has happened in the last few days or months.  You start to focus on how much of life is hard at this time.  How overwhelming the work is.  How alone you feel.  How much money you don't have.  How tired you are.  How much time you have "lost" due to this or that. And you lose focus on Jesus.  See, our eyes are amazingly single sighted.  We can only focus on one thing at a time.  If we choose to focus on Jesus, we forget ourselves, yet if we focus on ourselves, we lose sight of Jesus. 

I have been struggling a bit this weekend.  I have started to focus too much on the process, and haven't been focusing on Jesus.  I have been caught up in hearing what others have to say about our choice to follow Jesus.  See, not everyone who thinks they have a say in your life actually gets the memo from Jesus, that yes He is the one who said "GO!".  I have been hearing words that aren't the Word, ya know what I mean?  So I have sat here this weekend feeling down.  In need of a re-focus.  Then I opened my email and found a blog update from one of my favorite bloggers.  I was amused when I saw the title "When I Needed Perspective".  God always makes me giggle when He gets my attention in such an obvious way.  No Greater Joy Mom, Adeye, shared a very poignant letter from Richard Stearns, the president of World Vision.  I will share here also, so that you may giggle by His obvious wake up call :).  While your at it, why don't you click on the links above to see Adeye's original post, and check out who Richard Stearns really is, then head on over to the World vision link and donate to the people in Africa who are starving to death from this drought and famine. 

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink ..." --Matthew 25:35-36

Jesus' words are a powerful and inspiring reminder as I sit in my office browsing on news websites the stories and images of the staggering tragedy unfolding in the Horn of Africa.

Nearly 10 million people are "critically short of food," according to the United Nations, due to what UN officials say is the region's worst drought since I was born 60 years ago. Those 10 million people live in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti and war-ravaged Somalia.

For some, the stories and images will be reminders of the Ethiopian famine. Twenty-five years ago, the images of bloated, dying children, images unlike any others seen before by millions of Americans, prompted a massive outpouring of donations and offers to help. That outpouring culminated in the "Live Aid," concerts in Philadelphia and London, the latter of which brought a group I had never heard of before to the world's attention -- U2.

For others, the name "Somalia" brings back the events of 1991-1994 when hundreds of thousands of Somalis were starving, prompting a U.S.-led peacekeeping force to intervene. That effort led to a military operation against Somali warlords and, regrettably, the deaths of 42 American soldiers.

I am reminded of two things.

First, the faces, the voices and the stories of people I've met in Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. Kenya was the first nation I visited after joining World Vision in 1998, and where I learned one of the most important lessons of my life: Poverty is not an image, or a statistic; poverty has a face, a name and a story.

Second, I am reminded of the powerful and provocative quote from Josef Stalin: "A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic."

I fear that for many Americans -- Christians and people of other faiths or no faith -- will devote little time or attention, let alone resources, to the people suffering in the Horn of Africa. Rather they are preoccupied with "First World problems":

~~  How fluctuations in the stock market are affecting my 401(k) investments;
~~  Where to go on my next vacation;
~~  Whether to buy "name brand" or "store brand" items in the supermarket;
~~  Which diet and workout regimen will enable me to lose 10 pounds in a month; or
~~  The struggle over my next computer -- a notebook, a laptop, or the new iPad2?

Or worse, they are obsessed with finding out where Casey Anthony might be living, now that she's been released from jail after being acquitted of charges that she murdered her daughter, Caylee. Thousands of Americans followed Ms. Anthony's trial closely, and expressed outrage when she was found not guilty. They wanted justice for Caylee's death. Where's their outrage or sense of justice for the millions of children at-risk of dying in the Horn of Africa? Their lack of attention proves the late Soviet premier's admonition.

Many "First World" Americans have never met a person with "Third World problems":

~~  Whose income is $2 a day and who has never heard of a 401 (K);
~~  Whose only travel plans are traipsing by foot from Somalia into Kenya to a refugee camp;
~~  Whose primary source of drinking water is infested with animal feces, and has never been inside a supermarket;
~~  Who lost 10 pounds in the last week because of too little or even no food, and who has no use for a health club membership; or
~~  Who has no access to electricity, and does not need -- and maybe has not ever seen -- a computer.

I have the privilege of knowing people facing both First World and Third World problems. It is a privilege because, I believe, Jesus would consider it a privilege. He met with, ate meals alongside and learned from those His society considered its lowest and its outcasts -- prostitutes, tax-collectors, the poor and victims of injustice.

He would have been honored to meet and serve people like Hawo, a woman believed to be about 75-years-old who lives in Kalabeyr, a remote town in northern Somalia. Thanks to my World Vision colleagues working in the region, I know more about Hawo, than I ever will know -- or even want to know -- about Casey Anthony.

After the drought killed the more than 500 goats and sheep Hawo and her eight children lived on, they were forced to abandon their pastoral way of life and move to Kalabeyr. The nine of them live in a makeshift tukul, a small room within the compound of one of the town residents.

It is Hawo whom Mark Bowden, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, might have been thinking of when he said recently: "Resources are woefully inadequate. We have an appeal that is at the moment only 40 per cent met. ... (W)e find ourselves as the humanitarian community in a position that we want and are able to do more, but just don't have the resources with which to do it."

Jesus' words about hunger and thirst, as quoted in Matthew, led me a few years ago to create an NIT version (New Irreverent Translation), one that Americans obsessed with "First World problems" might relate to:

"For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water."

We did not create the desperate conditions of drought and famine threatening the lives of 10 million people in the Horn of Africa. But, as Christians, it is our responsibility to do something about it. It is our moral duty to help our neighbors in need -- here in the U.S. and elsewhere, and God commands us to help those we have the means to help. We cannot look at their situation -- on television, in newspapers or magazines, or on the Internet -- shrug our shoulders, and say, "Not my problem."   

Written by Richard Stearns.


Thank you Richard Stearns, for writing this letter, for opening our eyes yet again.

Thank you, Adeye, for sharing this with us, for being so transparent in your walk with Christ.

Thank You, Jesus, for everything...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mary Kay Fundraiser Live!

We have been blessed by an amazing friend, Debbie Burgio.  She has a Mary Kay business and is hosting a fundraiser for us.  She is donating 30% of the sale to our adoption fund.  This fundraiser starts today, August 1, and ends August 21.  It is very easy to participate.  Simply go to Debbie's Mary Kay website, place an order, and tell her it is for the Crouch Family!  This is not a Mary Kay party that is happening at someones home, it is all online.  We are so humbled and thankful for each of you and for Debbie. 

Mary Kay is a wonderful cosmetics company.  They sell makeup, skin care, hair products, and a men's line.  My favorite skin care product is Satin Hands (Peach scented or unscented).  My hands have a tendency to be very dry, and Satin hands cures this up in one use.  I love the silkiness after I use this product.  What a great gift to a busy lady!  The entire Satin Hands gift set is $34.00.  It lasts me forever! 

There is one more thing I want to showcase here.  I think this is sooo FUN!  You can do a virtual makeover on Debbie's site. All you do is upload your own photo and try on different colors!  I really like this.  Doing this, it takes the guess work out of "can I really wear this color?"  So cool!  You should try the virtual makeover today!