Tuesday, May 31, 2011

guess what????


Amazing news coming up about this little girl!!!

I'm blogging from our rental car on the way to the airport...it's our 24th anniversary and I just got a little email that made my day! :):):)

Good news to come!

Friday, May 27, 2011

paradise found

It's 10:05 p.m. back home, but here in Pennsylvania it's the wee sma' hours of the night...Lily is snoring beside me and I'm struggling to keep my eyes open while patting her back with one hand and uploading photos with the other. She never seems to sleep well in other beds, and I'm hoping our trusty sound machine with it's lovely rendition of rain has her tricked into thinking she's really snoozing away in her own little comfy co-sleeper in Oregon.

We took a red-eye out of town last night and headed back east to the land of lush rolling hillsides and quaint horse-and-buggies plodding carefully down equally picturesque small town roads, to visit my aunt, who I am named for. Since she lives an hour and a half from a very special someone, we squeezed a visit in this afternoon ....


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...with the lovely Miss Verity!!!

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Susanna and I met through blogging last year, and even if we didn't both have seven boys and three girls, and even if our youngest baby girls didn't each sport an extra chromosome, and even if we didn't homeschool our children and share a passion for Jesus and blogging and orphans ...I'm sure we would still be kindred spirits.

You know when you meet someone through a blog, and you wonder, "Would we really click this well in real life?" I knew last December when Susanna and I were emailing back and forth furiously about a certain little orphan girl, that if we ever were to meet in person, any doubts would drop to the wayside. And I was right- she is as beautiful and kind and gracious as I thought she would be, and my only regret in meeting is that we couldn't stay for a few days instead of hours.


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She served us lunch with nine of her ten kids gathered around the table in her immaculate country kitchen, and those little angels were the best behaved children I have ever seen in my life. We talked endlessly about blogging and babies and international adoption (because the Mussers are ankle deep in the whole process, rescuing a beautiful little girl named Katerina) and I could hardly believe the time had passed so quickly just a few hours later.

I meant to take so many more photos, especially of our girls together, but Lily fell asleep before I realized how late it was! We hurried outside to see the amazing playroom garden Joe and Susanna created for their children- a barn renovated into a secret hideaway...

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I fell in love with Susanna's youngest little guy, who literally could be Verity's twin...

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Would you look at the adorable dimple on that little face? I wanted to sneak him home in my suitcase!

And speaking of wanting to stuff things into my luggage....if there was a way to fit the Musser's gorgeous hundred year old home into mine this afternoon, I would have. It just screams history and character and charm from the big sunny front porch, to the living room's floor-to-ceiling bookshelves built by Joe...


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It's probably a good thing that I don't live here, because I don't think I'd ever get anything done. I'd just wake up in the morning and go sit on that front porch with a glass of iced tea in my hand and watch the buggies roll by and stay put until evening when Sam would have to pry me out of my rocking chair to come inside and make dinner. Seriously, the view from their house is like eye-candy beyond anything I've ever seen, it's like a little piece of Heaven dropped right in the middle of Lancaster County...I half expected Tom Sawyer to come walking around the corner with a fishing pole over his shoulder. Forget Hawaii, I wanna move to Pennsylvania!


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My eyelids are quickly losing the battle here, so I'm signing off for now- I was beyond thrilled to see Albina's grant fund quickly approaching our $5,000 goal when I logged on tonight. Your chances of winning that Canon Rebel are still amazingly good- if you haven't entered yet please do so HERE.

And just because I'm blogging from paradise right now, I'm adding in an extra way to enter the giveaway...just become a follower on A Perfect Lily by signing in over on the sidebar...and leave a comment on the giveaway post saying you did so. If you're already a follower, just leave a comment on that post saying you are one, and you'll be entered for another chance to win that fabulous camera...

Happy Weekend!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

checking out

This is going to be quick, because we're going out of town for a few days and taking the Lilybird with us.

I have about 18 random photos that I haven't ever posted of Lily...and suitcases to pack, and a long list of other errands to run before we leave...so this post will just be one giant ad for the Canon Rebel that we are giving away HERE to help this beautiful little angel...

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Speaking of that giveaway- have you noticed that we're only $700 short of our goal? If you're new here, Albina is an orphan on Reece's Rainbow who needs a family. She's captured the hearts of so many people, and there is an anonymous family who is matching donations for her grant fund up to $5,000. So when she gets $5,000 she will actually have $10,000 in her grant fund- enough to help any family who steps forward to adopt her.

I am amazed at how many people are spreading the word for Albina...


One of Lily's readers is going to give $25 once she reaches a hundred "likes" on her FB page. Her husband's company will match that- so here's an easy way to get Albina another $50, just by following this link and "liking" Pretty Princess Preschool...






It would be wonderful if I came back from my trip and saw that she had reached $5,000 (or over!) and that a family had come forward to claim her.


In fact...that very thing happened when we hosted our Pure Love Giveaway. Sam and I went to a marriage retreat right in the middle of it, and while I was gone God decided to find a family for Peter Himself. Just to show me that He can handle these things without me :)



So in keeping with tradition, I am leaving town in the middle of my giveaway. Michelle Z at Reece's Rainbow is going to be soooo happy she gave me her cell phone number (aren't you, Michelle?!?) so she can keep me updated on any big donations or news.



I would love to be sitting on that eastward-bound plane, preparing for take off and get a text that says "A THOUSAND DOLLAR DONATION JUST CAME IN FOR ALBINA!" so that I have that fabulous tidbit to hold on to as my plane is going down... can you tell I love flying???



Even better, I would love to have my inbox filled with a hundred comments from the giveaway post saying "I did what I could, now let's get Albina that forever family!" Because honestly, those ten dollar donations DO make a difference, and for the most part that is what makes these giveaways successful.





So here is Lily in all her Lily-loveliness...the first photos are from our camping trip (thus the taped-together portable high chair, ha)...the rest are random!



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She loves dolls...

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...all kinds of dolls....


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yes, that's a shirtless bad guy from Indiana Jones. she loves him.


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Look who's been practicing...


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The classic "bull dog" look...which usually means she is DONE with the photo session..


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See you in a few days!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

all done...and the ten dollar challenge

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If you're here for the Canon Rebel giveaway, please go to THIS POST to enter...

I was adding up the totals for donations for Albina today just now, and it's funny...I was hoping that we beat yesterday's total donations, which were $542...and today's were $543!! Hallelujah!

SO here's a little more math for you...

If you're new here, we are trying to get her grant fund to $5,000- because a generous anonymous family has agreed to matching donations dollar for dollar for Albina up to $5,000.

Tonight, just after midnight, she has $3,958 in her grant fund...so we only have a thousand to go, and this was only day two of the giveaway!

Here's what I'm thinking...

I have a little site meter on my blog that keeps track of how many page views and visits Lily's blog gets per day, as well as other fun statistics. Today there were 1,502 page views. And I realize that a lot of those may be repeat visits or people reading more page than one.

BUT think how easy it would be for Albina's grant to reach $5,000 if even one tenth of those visitors gave ten dollars each.

It's so easy to think our little gift doesn't make a difference. But I've done a few of these giveaways now, and for the most part they are financed by many people giving smaller amounts. Of course it is wonderful when those huge donations come in! But it really wouldn't be hard to raise a full grant for Albina if everyone who saw her beautiful little face just gave ten dollars.

And on top of helping Albina, you get a chance to win a pretty sweet camera!

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped spread the word for Albina this far- keep spreading it! I am amazed at how many people have fallen in love with this adorable little pixie like we have- I would not be surprised if a family came forward for her before this was all done.

And speaking of "all done"...guess who learned to sign that phrase???

Tell me this isn't the cutest stinking thing you've ever seen...





Happy Wednesday!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?

I woke up this morning to see this beautiful message on the Davis's blog:



WE ARE NOW THE PROUD PARENTS OF GREGORY KIRILL DAVIS. HE IS OURS. THE SUPREME COURT OVERTURNED THE JUDGE'S RULING. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, HIS NAME IS GREGORY KIRILL DAVIS AND WE WILL GO PICK HIM UP IN JUST A FEW SHORT DAYS AS SOON AS WE HAVE THE OFFICIAL COURT DECREE IN HAND. I WILL POST THE DETAILS WHEN I KNOW THEM. RIGHT NOW WE ARE IN A FLURRY OF TEARS AND EXCITEMENT AND WE WON'T KNOW EXACTLY HOW OUR NEXT FEW DAYS WILL GO UNTIL TOMORROW WHEN WE MEET AGAIN WITH OUR FACILITATOR.

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT. MAY YOU SEE THAT GOD IS THE GOD OF MIRACLES AND THAT HE IS FAITHFUL TO COMPLETE THE WORK HE HAS STARTED IN YOU.

PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW. PRAISE HIM ALL CREATURES HERE BELOW. PRAISE HIM ABOVE YE HEAVENLY HOSTS. PRAISE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY GHOST!


God is mighty to save!!! If you are new here and you have no idea what those words above mean, read here

Now let's get Albina a family!!!

ALBINA UPDATE !



$542 !!!!!!!!!!!

That's how much was donated yesterday for Albina. A few weeks ago she had a little over a hundred dollars in her grant fund on Reece's Rainbow. Tonight at midnight (shhhh, don't tell my husband I'm up blogging!) she has $3,415 !






YOU PEOPLE ARE AWESOME!!!






If you're new here, go read this post.

An anonymous family is matching donations for Albina dollar for dollar up to $5,000. So when she hits $5,000 ...she'll have a ten thousand dollar grant waiting in her account to help a family adopt her.

KEEP SPREADING THE WORD, PEOPLE!!! IT'S WORKING!!!!!!!!

And please do not forget to pray for the Davis Family- they need a miracle!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What if ?

What if?

What if by some cruel twist of fate I woke up one morning to find that the tables were turned, and my beautiful and perfect Lily were lying in an orphanage, somewhere in Eastern Europe?

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What if she had lived out the past 16 months of her life with no mommy and daddy to love her, no brothers and sisters to dote on her every day?

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What if instead, she spent most of her waking hours in a crib, staring at the slats of the bars and playing with only her fingers or feet for comfort? What if she cried herself to sleep at night, because there was nobody who cared or had the time to attend to her when she woke up scared or lonely or sad?


What if she didn't eat when she was hungry, go to sleep with a full belly, or have her basic needs met with loving care?



What if my Lily stayed in that orphanage for many years, never leaving it to see the world around her? What if the only connection she had to the outside world was an occasional trip to the playground on the orphanage grounds...but for the most part she was locked away, an outcast of society?

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What if she never received the help she needed through therapy with her beloved Karen, never had the opportunity to develop skills, to grow, to learn...


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What if Lily never got the medial attention she needed when she was first born, had attention given to that tiny hole in her heart that doctors watched so carefully...what if she survived simply because she existed, devoid of any quality of life?


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What if she were never celebrated for the treasure that she is, never nurtured or praised or adored? What if there were no parties or gifts or songs to commemorate that beautiful day she made her entrance into the world, nothing that distinguished that day from any other day of her secluded and monotonous life?



What if, after being shut away in that orphanage for five years, she woke one morning to find herself being whisked away from the only home she'd ever known- however stark or isolated- to the horror that is the Institution? What if, because of the inability of any five year old, let alone one with cognitive delays, she could not comprehend what had happened to her? What if there were no one to explain to her why her head was being shaved, her tiny arms tied to a crib, or where her friends had gone, and why no one was coming back for her to save her from the nightmare that was now her life?


What if that were my Lily's fate?


What would I do?

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In the words of a dear friend.....



I would beg, borrow, and obsess myself to make sure she knew love and felt valued and wanted. If Lily were alone on the other side of the ocean, I would find her and rescue her no matter what the cost or how much dignity needed to be compromised.


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Albina is my Lily.

She's no more deserving of the fate that awaits her than my child.


Or yours.


She is a beautiful and precious treasure, waiting for someone to recognize her value.


Pure and genuine religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27


If you're new here, Albina is an orphan in Eastern Europe. Because she was born with Down syndrome, she is considered a burden to her society, an outcast to be hidden away.


An anonymous family has committed to matching dollar for dollar donations for her up to $5,000. So far, through the generosity of so many like-minded people, she now has $2,873 in her grant fund on Reece's Rainbow. If she receives $5,000, her grant fund will be $10,000. Enough to entice a family to step forward to adopt her.


I have a feeling her sweet little face is enough- but due to the nature of international adoptions, it's going to take a pile of money for someone to rescue her.


I don't want money to be the thing that stands in the way of Albina being given a chance at a normal life.


I've seen this readership respond in monumental ways to the needs of orphans over the past 6 months. Just last week, Kareen met her family for the first time- in large part because of what many of you who are reading right now sacrificed and gave for her.


Peter and Olga are going to be rescued soon as well, and their families are deep in the process of adopting them.


I truly believe it's just a matter of time until Albina's family comes forward for her. Maybe they're willing, but not sure they can commit without a large grant fund to help them. Maybe you're that family, and reading these words and looking at her beautiful face is all the convincing you need.


I know that there are those who will gladly give without any added incentive. But I'm so thankful for the generous hearts of those who decided to donate this fabulous prize just to make things fun:)




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Canon Rebel Digital SLR camera

EOS Rebel T2i EF-S 18-55mm IS Kit
estimated retail price $799.99

The new flagship of the EOS Rebel line, Canon EOS Rebel T2i brings professional EOS features into an easy to use, lightweight digital SLR that's a joy to use. Featuring a class-leading 18.0 Megapixel CMOS Image Sensor and increased light sensitivity for low light photography, the EOS Rebel T2i also has an advanced HD Movie mode for gorgeous Full HD movies. Able to capture up to 3.7 frames per second, it's ready to go the minute it's picked up. Advanced Live View, a new wide-area screen, plus features like Canon's brilliant Auto Lighting Optimizer and Highlight Tone features ensure brilliant photos and movies, easily. With some of the most advanced features of any digital SLR, it's simply the best Rebel Canon has ever created

The rules are simple.

Donate a minimum of ten dollars to Albina either on Reece's Rainbow or right here on my sidebar (they both go directly to her grant fund) and leave a comment on this post saying you did so.

Blog or Facebook about this giveaway and leave a comment saying you did so (one comment for blogging, one for FBing).

The giveaway ends June 1st at midnight. Random.org will pick a winner from the comment section, and we will announce that winner Thursday June 2nd.

What if Albina were rescued ....because of you ?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Orphan No More!

I went to bed last night with these images in my mind....


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If you're new here, and have no idea what those photos mean, go HERE.

I'll tell you what they mean to me.

Everything.

I cried for an hour straight last night after seeing those photos for the first time. I've really been battling feeling inadequate lately. Sometimes it feels like I'm in a fog, and I really wonder if my little blog is making an impact, or if it really matters to anyone what we're trying to do.

But yesterday God pried me out of my spiritual curled-up-in-a-ball-fetal-position, and set me on my feet again and showed me....

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...it matters to her.

I cannot imagine what Kris and Kecia are feeling right now, because my heart feels like it's about to burst and I'm just staring at her on my computer screen.

I've been waiting for this day for so long, it seems almost impossible that it's really happening.

Mia Kareen got a new name yesterday, and even better than that? She got a new life.

When Andrea asked me to advocate for another child back in December, I have to be honest- I wondered how much impact we really made. We had already raised almost $12,000 for Olga. So when we ran "part two" of our Home for Christmas giveaway and added Kareen in, and we only added $3,000 to Kareen's fund and another $500 for Olga...in comparison I didn't know if the investment we had made had done much.

And then two weeks later, Kecia emailed me and asked if I knew if anyone had claimed Kareen. And again - being honest here - I doubted a little bit if things would really "gel". There had already been several families who came forward for Olga, and each time I got my hopes up, and for personal reasons these families had to bow out. I was a little gun-shy of reading emails like Kecia's, because several other families had written to me expressing interest in Kareen. And really, I have absolutely nothing to do with the whole adoption process, I just blog my heart out and ask people to donate and to contact Reece's Rainbow if they are considering a child. So really the fact that Kecia emailed me was just a little God-nod, if you will...I am so grateful to Him for giving me a chance to be involved in these kids' lives, even though I can't personally rescue them.

So as if last night wasn't enough answer to my pity-party-prayer, I submit to you exhibit B....

(I woke up to this little letter from someone who is very dear to my heart;))



Dear Patti,

My name is Peter. You raised over $15,000 for me in 10 days. Because of your fundraiser I went from an almost 4 year old orphan that not ONE single family had inquired about, heading my way to an institution with a heart that needed to be fixed to having several Prayer Warriors. My Forever Family was found before those 10 days of your fundraiser was even finished. I have a family. I will be going home. I will have a new heart and a wonderful life...all because you cared.
So don't for a minute, EVER think you arent making a difference. When I get home to Texas and get all better, my mommy says I will meet you...I will hug you with my new heart, the one you made possible.
Love
Peter

PS My mommy wrote this for me because I'm only 4 :)




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Julie- I love you:)

And for the record, I don't think I'm personally responsible for these children's rescues:) I think God has used Lily's blog in a dynamic way to connect hundreds of like-minded people who have a heart for orphans.

And judging by all the beautiful and heartfelt comments on yesterday's post, I'm not the only one who struggles with feeling insignificant sometimes.

It's easy to look at the little picture, isn't it? It's easy for me to waste my time feeling sorry for myself, and getting caught up in what others aren't doing, or judging things by my feelings instead of the reality of what God really is doing.
And sometimes I think the assaults on my mind really are strategically timed (if you're a Christian, you know what I mean!) to come just before God really wants to do something big.






Because on Monday we're going to be doing another giveaway.
And I know in our little community of Down syndrome bloggers, these giveaways can seem endless. We're all advocating our hearts out, and many times one giveaway is overlapping another, and really everywhere you look there is an opportunity to help and to donate.

So yes, I feel a little crazy saying we're hosting yet another giveaway.







But I do think there is enough interest out there to help this little doll...

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...because like Olga and Kareen and Peter and Artem, I just can't get her off my mind. And the family who is matching donations for her dollar for dollar can't either. Together with another anonymous donor (thank you, J!) they are donating this...



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...and I can't wait to see what God will do.


Because one day, God willing, I wil be posting photos of Albina meeting her mommy and daddy for the first time.


And also for the record- I've contacted a number of other "non Ds bloggers" to help publicize this giveaway...because I really feel like we need to get more people on board with fundraising than just our circle of friends. So if you know any big bloggers- or even little bloggers!- who might be willing to post about this, please put them in touch with me via email.


And one more word about these giveaways....I really had to make some decisions about who to help, as far as which children to blog about, after I started hosting giveaways. There are SO many families adopting right now, and I would love to help them all.


I prayed hard about this, because I hate saying no to anyone who asks for help- I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of that "no." I feel strongly that the children who have NO voice are the ones I need to raise awareness for and host giveaways for- the kids on Reece's Rainbow with no family committed to them.


So if you've contacted me, asking for help, it is never that I don't want to take the time to post about your need...I am just trusting God to help those families adopting to do their own fundraising, while I concentrate on the kids with no families.


If I were in the position to adopt internationally, I would be applying for every grant I could, rallying my community around my adoptive child through local fundraisers, contacting the media to generate interest in our adoption, asking schools to help, doing yard sales, bake sales, ebay sales, etc. I have seen so much success in those efforts for so many adoptive families, so please know that I do realize that giveaways aren't the only avenue for fundraising.

Here are two other great ideas, if you want to help the kids on Reece's Rainbow..

http://operationorphansnomore.blogspot.com/p/fundraisers.html

http://www.schyefamily.blogspot.com/

These mamas are doing everything they can to help, and I love that they put so much creativity and love into their efforts. Check them out!






Also, don't forget that you can shop here for your favorite Scentsy products to help RR...

https://jamierand.scentsy.us/Buy?partyId=36782557



Just shop "Albina's Party" and all commissions will go to her grant. I am personally addicted to Scentsy- 9 children at home and two dogs means I MUST have my Scentsy going at all times if you know what I mean:) My three favorite scents are Sweet Pea and Vanilla, Red Candy Apple, and the new Luna. TO.DIE.FOR.


It's a beautiful day out, and I am going outside to bask in the sun with my kiddos...so no letter to Lily today, just these adorable photos of her with her newest obsession: her baby doll. She hugs that thing around the neck so sweetly every day, I can't help but take 14 billion pictures of her doing it!


These photos were taken using the exact camera featured in our giveaway Monday...only brand new of course:) Although my daughter uses her camera professionally here, even an amateur like me can take photos like these ......





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Isn't she ADORABLE?!?!?!?!?!! Aaagh. melts my heart.

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Happy Friday!!!!!!