Friday, January 28, 2011

In Memory

I awoke this morning to a bit of craziness in my home. We have been battling the stomach flu and so far six out of eight children have fallen victim to it's unmerciful grips. I won't lie - it's during times like this that you can feel a bit overwhelmed and discouraged at the mounds of laundry piling up and dirty dishes in your sink. But God has a way of smiting the hearts of those He loves in a very sobering fashion.
After I cleaned up after Ivanna's tummy flu episode this morning and grabbed my cup of coffee, I hopped on Facebook real quick and discovered some tragic news.
Little Sandra listed with Reece's Rainbow had passed. She has lived in orphanage 31 all her life and as you can see from her beautiful almond eyes, was blessed by that 'extra leaf'. She was in the same country as my Max and Ivanna. She is beautiful. My heart grieves for the loss, for the the fact that she died without ever knowing a family.
Some may question my grief when I didn't even know her. Well, I look at her image on my screen and I see my very own Justus, Max and Ivanna. Then I see the rest of my children in her. You see, it isn't necessary to "know" someone to feel the burden that God can give. It simply requires looking past our desire to be comfortable and look within and apply the plight of the orphan in a very real way - imagine your own children in the same environment. Having compassion can be the source of action - and can be the burden that God has given.
God can also give peace. He does so liberally. All that is needed is faith in Him. To believe in God as Saviour of the world and place your trust, your actions, your very life - to Him.
Yes, little Sandra is gone. Yes, tragic is the loss. Tragic is the fact that she had no family. Comforting is the fact that she rests in the arms of our Saviour for eternity.
.... and even as I write this ...
My whole household is in uproar, applauding and cheering. Because Ivanna just stood on her own, and walked to my oldest son.
... weeping ...
Thank you Lord, for this wonderful opportunity to share in the blessing of seeing you redeem these children, Max and Ivanna.
Let's remember Sandra in the best way we can: by advocating for the orphan - and sharing the good news of the gospel. God will supply the blessing if we simply step out on faith ...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Good Stuff

One night after dinner, Phillip put some whipped cream on Max's highchair. Max loved it!
As of late we have been up to much of the same. Finding our "new normal". Max and Ivanna continue to adjust just fine. Both are gaining weight and seem to be content in their home. Max knows right where his favorite toys are (sing-a-ma-jigs). Ivanna is scooting EVERYWHERE in her little walker. She can even scoot up to the couch now, tip the walker just so, and crawl out of it onto the couch! She's a smart little cookie! She also seems to be outgrowing the bottle just a bit and replacing that desire with that of just FOOD. She loves to eat. She also has been taking more steps ~ which just blows my socks off. When I think that she could still be wasting away in a crib half way around the world, I just find myself so grateful, and amazed that my little adventurous and full of life Ivanna, could ever be that little girl left to her bed, without value. It also sobers me to the ones who are still there ~ needing families, needing to be loved.
Max turns six in just a week and a half. I can't believe it. His FIRST birthday with his family. What are we going to do? Good question. Probably keep it low key with a few presents, food and friends. Oh ... and LOT'S of pictures!
Justus starts up again with his physical and occupational therapy since going out of country. I am looking forward to his therapist meeting the newest littles, as she has some ideas for other private therapists that come to your home as well. That would be so nice to be able to have all three children's sessions done at once.
We hope to go eye glass shopping for Max and Ivanna next week. We were told of a place that you can purchase two sets of glasses for just over sixty dollars. Sounds great. We want to check it out.
We have been battling the stomach flu this week ... no fun. Oi - the laundry! So, that has made getting this auction stuff wrapped up ... interesting. I apologize for any delay in communication. Just been a little crazy this week. I appreciate your patience.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Just wanted to write a quick note and let you all know that we are working on shipping/delivering and arranging for your items that you won to get to you. I have been a tad busy the last several days (I know ... hard to believe - lol). I apologize for what might seem like a delay or no communication. Slowly working on trying to get emails out ~ but will need to do the bulk of that tonight. I am combing shipment of Facebook mini auctions and this auction together to be more economical.

Again - thank you to all for your participation, and understanding! Have a blessed day!!!!!

*oh ... and before I forget - cruise on over to our FB wall to see a little video a friend uploaded of Ivanna taking steps without holding on to anything! ~ I will try and upload that video to this blog later.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Auction Results

First, I want to thank each and every one of you who participated in this auction. The people who donated their time, talents and energy is humbling. Some of you - I have never met, nor will we probably ever meet - as many of you live throughout the nation. Yet, you saw a need and came forward and ASKED if YOU could help/donate. Wow! THANK YOU! To those who were involved by bidding - I also want to extend a very heartfelt thank you. Having items available means nothing if no one comes forward to purchase them. I know you could have spent your money in different types of ways, but it is your spirit of GIVING for BRIAN that has been the blessing. Finally, I want to thank those who maybe were not able to give donations or bid, but you PRAYED for provision - a BIG thank you!

NOW for the good stuff:

My personal prayer with this auction was that the Burger family would be able to raise the amount needed to pay for the USCIS fees ... $720.00. This is crucial in that this process takes FOREVER typically and it needs to be started like yesterday! ;) I am ELATED to report that the grand total of this auction ... is ... $$745.00!!!!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!!! WOOT WOOT! Okay ... I'm done now... :)

So ... here are the list of names that have won items. Please be sure to go to the Burger's blog:

and pay by using the red chip in please (not the other one - this will make the funds available immediately for the Burgers so they can use the money to pay USCIS) Be sure to leave your address and name as well as what item you paid for in the comment field. THANK YOU!

Flower Hair pretties: M. Lacombe $20
Apron: Teresa Simpson $20
Scentsy Warmer: J. Broxton $16
Child Skirt: C. Browning $20
"The Open Door": K. Long $17
Guitar Strap: A. Brown $10
Tile Necklace: Melissa M. $20
Wipe Container: April Miller $10
Happy Hartman Birdhouse: Nancy $15
Valentine Korkers: C. Casaus $20
Ceramic Quote Tile: Kristy Howard $20
Smokey Quartz Pendant: Erin Riddle $5
Fossil Purse: Elizabeth $15
Pampered Chef Oval Baker: Teresa Simpson $25
Silver Pendant: Sherry Noland $30
Wedgwood Frame: Erin Riddle $5
Maternity Skirt: J. Bodin $20
Jones NY Purse: Maribeth $20
Tan Hooded Towel: Amy Dolloff $20
Turquoise Hooded Towel: Sherry Noland $30
Boathouse Stay: Vi Abing $150
'An Extra Leaf' Canvas: A. Hand $20
Baby Booties: Holly Hilson $15
Long Ds Korker Pretties: Katie $6
Matryoshka Doll: Lisa Peele $65
Owl Lovey: Katie $12
Pink/Brown Hat: A. Hand $10
Baby Blanket: Nicole $20
Spring Pretties: C.Casaus $20
Beach Glass: A. Newcomb $25
Lasagna: C. Browning $15
Small Ds Korker pretties: Maribeth $10
Sense & Sensibility Pattern: Katie $8
Magnetix Set: J. Broxton $11

*** If you won multiple items, please add them up and go here:

Use the red chip in to pay for your item. THANK YOU!

If you have any questions, please use the 'contact us' button located at the top of this page.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Six Weeks

The pictures on the left were taken while still in the orphanage approximately seven weeks ago. This picture on the right was taken just a couple of days ago, playing with Justus and Daddy - at six weeks home. Six weeks. That's it. A difference already. A big difference for our little Ivanna. Six weeks - and six pounds later, she is thriving. She is learning how to walk in the walker, smile more, touch and actually hold objects/toys and "play" with them, enjoy baths, eat more than just a liquid, hold her own bottle, use her voice ... and cuddle. Six weeks and she is learning how to be a child. Not bound to a crib or banished to one room. Ivanna was five years old and weighed twenty pounds when we brought her home. Today she weighs over twenty-six pounds. Astounding. AMAZING! Praise GOD! There may be some who would wonder what difference one adoption can make, when there is a staggering amount of orphans in the world. For Ivanna - the difference was LIFE! Learning to live is what this little girl is all about right now. However, the learning doesn't just stop there. I am learning right along with her, in new ways and some old - in the form of reminders. Am I busy? Yes. Am I overwhelmed at times? Yes. Would I do it all over again? YES! I am thankful for the blessing of having both Ivanna and Max in our family.

Six weeks. To some, not even a noteworthy amount of time. For Ivanna - it has meant a whole new world.

A difference? Yes ... one child ... one life ... one soul ...

... at a time.

*Please remember the auction to benefit the Burger family who are adopting Brian*
We can help Brian know what it is to have a family too.
~ See post below for details ~

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brian's Auction

This auction is now up and running. This auction is to benefit the Burger family, who have stepped out on faith to adopt little Brian - the little boy you see on my sidebar. I am praying that the funds generated from this auction will be enough to pay for the USCIS fees. This auction will last for one week, ending on January 20th at midnight pacific time.
At auction end I will give directions for payment.
Please be sure to click on "older posts" for items on the other pages.
Each item has it's own comment field - to post a bid, use the comment section. Be sure to leave your name and contact info if you are not already registered with Blogger.
There are more items waiting to be uploaded and posted, so please check back often.
If you have any questions, please use the "contact us" button at the top of this page. I will try and have ALL available items uploaded by the end of the day today (Thursday, January 13th)
Thank you to all those who have donated and will participate in bidding.
*P.S. ~ Since this is benefitting someone else - I get to participate in bidding too! So excited to have fun in bidding along with all of you!*

Flower Hair Pretties

Red Pretties with sparkly center

Lavendar Pretties with White Dots and sparkly middle

Yellow Daisies with sparkly center

Super Fun - Super Funkey animal print flower with matching sparkly middle. These are so cute!

This post is for a lot of flower hair pretties made with single prong alligator clips. Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE HAIR PRETTIES! The more ... the better. The bigger ... the better. The blingier (is that a word?) ... the better!!!

Spindlenique Boutique Skirt

This is a hand crafted skirt by Amanda Hand, owner of Spindlenique Boutique. If you know her work - you know just how talented my sweet friend of nearly twelve years really is. I love her and how she has such a heart to be a blessing to so many. I also love her skirts ;)
These skirts are PERFECT for just everyday. If I could - I would live in these skirts. I have two, and wear them all the time. Super cute with flip flops and T-shirt. Seriously ... cute stuff!
This is a size 6 skirt made from Gap blue jeans. From waist to hem it measures approx. 21".
Amanda does have an etsy shop called Spindlenique Boutique.
*** Amanda shipped me oodles of these types of skirts from her inventory. So, I will be uploading some of them here, but more on my FB wall. All proceeds of both auctions go to the Burger family. ***
If you are not "friends" with me already here is our FB name: PhillipCharrissa Browning
I will probably be posting them later tonight or tomorrow.


~ by Nancy of Busy Bee Handmade on Etsy ~
This apron is ADORABLE!!! I'm lovin' it's whimsical feel and I think if I put this apron on it would make my kitchen creations taste even better! ;)

This apron measures as follows:
waist: 22"
length: 22.5"
ties each: 44"

Don't you love it? If so, you can visit Nancy's store for more shopping possibilities. Her store is on Etsy as Busy Bee Handmade.

This apron is reversible in new coordinating fabrics and adorable either way. Side A is made of pink and chocolate brown posies accented with light green dotted quilter’s cotton at the hem, waist and pocket. The pocket is also accented with pink grosgrain ribbon.

Side B is made of coordinating fabric in pink with jumbo dots in darker pink, green and chocolate brown. It’s accented with the same light green dotted fabric as Side A at the hem and waist with additional waist accent of the pink grosgrain ribbon.

Scentsy Warmer

Donated by Brittany Hughes

You will receive one mid sized warmer with three bars of your choice. Upon winning you can go to to pick out your item. The order will then be placed and shipped to you.

Spindlenique Boutique Child skirt

This is a Spindlenique Boutique children's skirt created by Amanda Hand. This is made from Old Navy jeans that are a size 6. The skirt from waist to hem is approx. 26" long. This is a seriously cute skirt. I love the detail on the back pockets and around the front pockets.
As I have said before - these skirts are adorable. This is a long skirt, so that makes it very versatile. You could have your little girl wear it with boots and sweater for colder weather, or put flip-flops and T-shirt on during Summer.
Amanda also has an etsy shop showcasing her boutique fashion sense. It is Spindlenique Boutique on Etsy.

*ok ... this is sideways ... tried to fix it, but ... *sigh* it won't correct itself. sorry!!!

~~~~ also, Amanda sent quite a nice collection of skirts from her inventory, a few I will upload to this auction, but others I will put on FB in a mini auction. Both benefit the Burger family. If you are not friends with us on FB already, you can locate us at PhillipCharrissa Browning. The rest of the skirts should be uploaded there by tomorrow evening.

'The Open Door'

This post is for one new copy of 'The Open Door' by J.L. Ragsdale.

This is not a polished, literary work, but rather the very heartbeat of soldiers of Christ out in the battlefield of life-right here in the heart of America. It is a true story of a couple who left their well-to-do California home to establish The Open Door Children's Home and received life's richest reward, that of loving and protecting those who are closest to the heart of God-the children. You'll find yourself struggling to hold back the tears.

This contains 192 pages and is published by Lamplighter Publishing.

This story has IMPACTED our family in a mighty way. We read it as a family for family devotions, and the story paired with the pictures included within it's pages affected every one of us. This is a story worthy of your time - and worthy to be passed down to your children.

Leather Guitar Strap

Handcrafted leather guitar strap with purple and green flowers throughout.
This would make a perfect gift for that musician in your life!
Hand tooled and painted by Abby Whitaker.

Wipe Container

Container decorated by Jenn Abell

This is a travel sized baby wipe container covered and made to look pretty by Jenn Abell. What an improvement on the common wipe container! You will receive wipe container pictured.

Sarah's Treasure Box Necklace

This is a very special piece of jewelry being offered. This is a tile oval shaped pendant attached to a green ribbon and rope with clasp. This necklace is made by Sarah's Treasure Box. This designer has a heart for orphans and continually does fundraisers using her jewelry as a means to help adopting parents raise funds.

This would look great either dressed up, or down. I love fun and funky pieces of jewelry or accessories to put with clothing.

Back of pendant

How this will be packaged

Happy Hartman Birdhouses

Remember this little sweet face? Well, if not - let me remind you. This is Brady. I posted about Brady a couple of times. He was actually in the same orphanage as little Brian (whom the auction is for). However, little Brady was transferred to an institution this summer when he was just 5 1/2 years old. He was placed in a very remote institution with very little hope of ever being adopted and loved.
The Hartman family have stepped out on faith to adopt and rescue little Brady. I ask that you pray for them. You can also visit their blog:
The Hartman's have donated these birdhouses to help bring little Brian home. Upon winning you can choose one birdhouse from the pictures provided.

These birdhouses have been made from reclaimed siding and barbed wire and painted by twelve year old Lanie, who is looking forward to bringing her own little brother home from Eastern Europe.

We had the opportunity to visit the "Happy Hartman Farm" and it was such a blessing. What a joy it will be when all three families, us, the Hartman's and the Burgers can come together with our children and rejoice in what the Lord has accomplished through the gift of adoption and Down syndrome!

Valentine's Korkers

Created by Malissa Farmer

These are a set of smaller (approx. 3" diameter) korkers done especially for Valentine's Day. However, you could use them whenever - they are so cute and have been affixed to french clips.

Handcrafted Ceramic Plaque

This is for one hand crafted custom quote ceramic plaque by Katie Richards. She makes the sweetest items right from her back porch. You will be able to put in your order for your own plaque, but please give her time to complete the order as it is all hand done. (love that)

Katie has had such a heart for my own little Ivanna and I am so blessed that before we even knew of Ivanna, Katie was praying for her (among many I am sure).

You can visit Katie's etsy store:

Smokey Quartz Pendant

New silver pendant. I *think* it is smokey quartz. Beautiful piece.

Fossil Handbag

New with tags. Fossil handbag measures about 7" by 9". Perfect for tucking away just a few essentials.

Pampered Chef Oval Baker

New with receipt and nylon scrapers included. Original price $32.25
~ local pick up/delivery only due to weight of item~

Silver Pendant

Pendant is designed by Carolyn Pollack, made in the southwest USA. Called a "teardrop sunrise inlaid pendant" with the bail it is 1 7/8" by 7/8"

Made with the following real stones:

Green variscite

Blue turquoise

Pink Coral

Pink Rhodonite

Picture Jasper

*Appears like earth tones, the pink is not very noticeable

Wedgwood frame

This is a new frame by Wedgwood (England) and measures 2 1/2" by 3" for display of photo. It has a blue velvet backing and can stand on tabletop. Very elegant, and perfect for that shabby chic look. Just perfect for that birthday or anniversary gift.

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