November 29, 2012


I have written many times on different social media sites as to why we homeschool.  There are numerous reasons and I can certainly address those in a later post.  We love homeschool - that's sums it up in three words!

When we started our journey 4 years ago, I opted to purchase a very large curriculum for A LOT of money.  I was overwhelmed and at times threatened to put Molly on the next yellow school bus that drove by the house!  After her Auditory Processing Disorder diagnosis, we were told about a wonderful online curriculum - TIME4LEARNING!  The minute we signed up, Molly fell in love!  She loves the idea of working and doing school online - it makes her seem pretty big!  We used it for over a year and then took a break from it and went with another curriculum based on our growing family dynamic.  When we adopted two older kids, we chose to use a workbook/history based curriculum so that the three of them could learn together.  Molly really missed Time4Learning and asked all the time "When can I go back to my online school?"  After changes (once again) in our family earlier this year and the stress our family was under, we chose to enroll her into T4L and she was thrilled!

Everyday and numerous times during her school day, she will come up to me excited about something she is learning online.  It has really encouraged her to research further and to map out what she is learning in her notebook.  She is joyful and eager to get online each day to see what she will be learning!  This excites me to say the least and I credit T4L for helping to create that passion in her.

I highly recommend Time4Learning to be used as a homeschool curriculum.  Its easy to use, very user friendly, good curriculum and the best for our family.  There is no need to supplement and they provide spelling words and recommended reading list - perfect!

So, there ya go - that's what we do :)  I'm excited about Madeline signing up for Time4Learning next year!


As a member of Time4Learning, I have been asked to review their online education program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. Write your own curriculum review or learn how to use their curriculum for homeschool, after school study or summer learning.

October 8, 2012

Adoptive Moms Can Be the Worse Critics!

You know, I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I try to look for the good in people and I learned that from my precious grandmother, Gammy.  She was always kind in the middle of adversity and she told me to always smile and be kind.  I learned a lot more from that wise woman but I am really having to put that first advice into practice.

I have heard for years that adoption equals spiritual warfare and trust me, we've walked it, so I totally agree! Most of the opposition and judgment comes from those that have never traveled down the road of adoption and its hard to hold anyone accountable that has no idea what a rollercoaster ride it can be.  Someone wise once told me to lower my expectations of people, especially those that have never dealt with infertility or had to choose adoption to become a parent.  I learned that a long time ago and so, when I get silly comments like "Adopt and you'll get pregnant" or "How can you love a child that's not your own" or a number of other things, I let them roll off my back.  I've let those that have never experienced adoption off the hook from those ridiculous comments. 

That leads me to the other people out there - the ones that have been touched by adoption in one way or another.  Maybe you are a birth mom that made a loving choice to place your child into the empty arms of a mom longing for a child.  Maybe you have been the one adopted and know the joy of finding your forever home and the appreciation that someone would choose you to be theirs for always.  Or, maybe you are the adoptive parent that has dealt with an empty womb for years and many nights of crying yourself to sleep. Or maybe you have the calling to bring orphans into your already established biological home and don't see color or race, but just a child needing a mommy and daddy. 

If you are an adoptive mom, this is for you.  I have come in contact with MANY families in my years as an orphan advocate.  I have been blessed to be a part of many adoptions and homecomings and it always brings me so much joy when someone answers the call to care for the fatherless.  Most anyone can deliver a baby but there is just something special about adoption.  Its nothing that we do, its Christ in us.  Its because of His great love for us and that fact that He adopted us, that most of us adopt.  He deserves all the glory.  Many have a slight addiction to adoption and unfortunately, many of you get slammed for bringing "just one more" into your already chaotic home.  Trust me, I only had two when we were adopting this last time and the negative comments were overwhelming.  So, I know what its like to be asked if I'm "addicted to adoption."  Everyone adopts for different reasons and different callings and all adoption stories are different.  And, some end differently than others and some don't start at all.  But, one thing is for sure - ADOPTIVE MOMS AND DADS SHOULD NEVER EVER EVER EVER JUDGE ANOTHER ADOPTIVE PARENT!  I don't know if I made myself clear in that last sentence so let me say this again... DO NOT JUDGE!  I mean, we are called not to judge anyway but especially when it comes to someone that has walked the same road.

I was amazed at the judgment and condemnation that I received from people when we chose to disrupt our adoption.  But, like I said earlier, I can't possibly hold those responsible that have never walked my walk to understand my road.  But, if you have lived through an adoption, you know what its like to walk that road and you know the bumps and huge pot holes along the way. You know that its far from easy and with it comes overwhelming pains - much stronger than any labor pain out there.  You know you will hit roadblocks and sometimes you hit a flat out brick wall.  You pick yourself up, gain strength from the One who has called you to this and you move on.  But, like I said earlier, some stories never begin and some stories end in complete devastation and heartache.  That's my story.

But, if you have never walked in the shoes of someone that has had a child with severe Reactive Attachment Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, you simply don't understand.  But, if you have adopted and you've seen children in the many orphanage hallways and/or groupas, you know that the diagnosis is real.  If you have been around adoption, you know that this is a real life nightmare that so many parents and children face on a daily basis.  To pass judgment on those that are walking this road and to cast stones at the parents that fight a minute-by-minute battle with a child that has no ability to love and to bond is just plain cruel.  Who are you to judge?  What exactly would you do? Do you not know the measures parents go through to make things work?  Do you not know the embarrassment and the ridicule parents of RAD  and ODD go through daily?  Its exhausting.  Its overwhelming.  And there are days when you don't want to go on living.  Sure, there are adoptive parents out there that this is their life and they have chosen to stay right where God has them.  But, then there are adoptive parents out there that have been called by God to choose a different path for their child.  Again, who are you to judge when God calls parents to do something different than what you think they should have done?

Since we have come out with our disruption story, I have been able to help several families with the same situation.  I have been able to use the story that God has given us and be a support for those moms and dads that are at the end of their rope. It isn't a road I thought I would ever go down and I appreciate the support of my sweet friends, Shelly, Camille, Robin, Sharon, Susan and the many prayers of family and friends (too many to name).  I could never have gone through the door of disruption without them.  And, now God is turning what was evil into good and for His glory.  I am now able to help others that are desperate and to offer a glimpse of hope into a messy and ugly situation. I pray that God would use me any way HE chooses to help these families and ultimately these children.

So, this gets me back to the gist of my post.  I hope that we can all learn from this that its so important what Jesus said in Matthew 7:3 "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye when there is a plank in your own?"  May we live that way in all walks of life.  May I learn from the persecution, condemnation and the gossip that is going on behind my back about my story.  May I offer support, prayers and love to those in hurting situations rather than judgment.  May I offer a shoulder to cry on or be a sounding board for that mother of the RAD child rather than telling others "what I would do." May I pray for the mom over the phone that has chosen to do something different rather than telling that mom "what she should do for that child." 



Be Blessed,


September 28, 2012

Ms Mary

Mary and Madeline Rolling Silverware

There are people that come into your life and for whatever reason, make a lasting impression.  In the summer of 2009, we moved to Key Largo for just a short time.  During that time, we became very familiar with Doc's Diner and their wonderful staff.  It would be "Doc" that would eventually help us to return to the Keys in 2011.  In January 2011, we made the long move to Florida and we began a family tradition.  We would wake up on Saturday mornings and go eat our breakfast at Doc's.  It was just something we did as a family and we enjoyed the food, the atmosphere but most importantly - the people.  Gina is Doc's daughter and manages the restaurant. She has since become a dear friend to us.  Patty became our favorite waitress ever and one we looked forward to seeing every week.  She knew what we wanted to drink before we walked into the door.  She was always witty and was quick to come back with a sarcastic but funny comment.  We also fell in love with Vicky, Anna and Joel too!  But, then there was Mary!  She was the first person that greeted us when we walked in the place.  She was usually behind the register and making sure things ran smoothly.  She always made sure the waitresses were being taken care of but it was her goal to make sure the customers were served and enjoyed their experience. 

Doc's Diner has these fabulous bar stools that spin and it was like a ride at Disney World for my girls.  When Mary was not behind the register, she could be found on the left side of the diner, on one of those cool stools, rolling silverware.  For whatever reason, my girls was so interested in what Mary was doing and wanted to learn the trade.  Mary was so patient with them and taught them carefully how to make the perfect silverware roll.  She would also let them spin on the stools until they got dizzy while Mom was trying to make them stop.  She was such a fun person and gave the best hugs and kisses and always seem to have a special treat for them.  My girls absolutely LOVE Mary and miss her terribly.  The staff at Doc's became like family to us and we would hang out there not just on Saturdays but would find ourselves going in during the week just to see our friends. 

 On Tuesday afternoon, Mary collapsed at home.  No one could figure out what had happened but she was rushed to a nearby hospital.  Her daughter, Patty and I were in contact via text and they were running tests.  She was still unconscious and on a breathing machine so it was hard to determine right away the cause of the collapse.  Through a variety of tests, it was determined that Mary had suffered a heart attack and was without oxygen for 30 minutes.  The family was told it would take a miracle for her to live.  My girls and I immediately started praying and even Madeline said "Mom, don't cry, maybe Ms. Mary is just resting."  Molly was certain that God would perform a miracle and prayed accordingly.  Patty and I continued to communicate and I, too, was praying for a miracle.  I know that God can turn things around in an instant and I was begging Him to do so. 

But, late last night, Mary took her last breath.  She is no longer attached to tubes and breathing with the help of a machine.  She is gone.  The sting of pain is there in our home as we mourn this precious grandmother-like figure in our lives.  My girls are sad knowing that when we visit the Keys and Doc's Diner, we won't be seeing Ms Mary.  But, its been a great teachable  moment about death and why God chooses to take those away from us.  God is Sovereign and He chooses the breaths of His people.  We can not add or take away any days of our life.  He will take us home when He sees fit.  So, what it has done is make us re-evaluate our lives and how we choose to live the breaths that He has given us.  May this be a moment where my girls and myself will reflect on what we do with the time we are given and how we are glorifying God.  I pray that my girls will remember Ms Mary through their pain but only remember those Saturdays sitting next to her and rolling silverware.  I pray that they will remember her precious smile and sweet disposition and how much she loved them. 

Join me in praying for Mary's family and especially our sweet, favorite waitress, Patty.  I can't imagine losing my mom and I've don't even want to think about it!  But, it has made me evaluate my life and how I treat and honor my mother.  I pray and ask for the strength to be the daughter God has created me to be and also to be the Mom to my girls that Mary was to her children!

We love and miss you, Ms Mary!  You were a ray of sunshine to our family and you will be missed greatly!  Doc's will never be the same without you! 


New Beginnings

Our life has been quite eventful in 2012 and there are times when I wonder if life will ever slow down.  But, if you know me, you know that I actually like change.  Most people I know are not fans of change but that's just not the case with me, it must be the gypsy in me (thanks, Mom).  We always seem to be changing.  Some of those changes this year have been coupled with excruciating pain, some with jaw-dropping awe, and some with unspeakable joy.  But, in all these changes, we have grown as individuals and as a family.

As most of you know, 2012 didn't start with such a great beginning.  Our 12 year old adopted daughter went to respite care and eventually placed with a wonderful family in another state.  She is doing good and our family is thriving as well.  We have received quite a bit of opposition from family and friends but in the end, we are here to please only one person and that's our Heavenly Father.  Some felt as though we were not doing the "godly" thing by placing her with another family but in the end, it was God who led us to them and God who had it planned from the beginning of time.  Not very many people know the pain of a disruption and I would not wish that on anyone, so I can't expect people to understand our situation that have never walked in our shoes.  I have let go of that chapter in my life and can't worry about what people think or how they feel about us and the decisions we have made in our life and our family.  I trust that God will and I've seen glimpses that He already has turned something evil into good.  For, He is ALWAYS faithful!

In May of this year, Craig lost his job with the bank.  The bank was struggling and sold the investment division of its operation.  This left Craig jobless and with an internal struggle of whether or not to walk away from financial planning.  He even got his US Coast Guard Captain's License and started to pursue life on the water - full time.  When things weren't happening and he needed to provide for our family, he chose to pursue what he knows best and took a job with Charles Schwab.  However, that job would not be in our beloved Florida Keys but on the West Coast of Florida.  Once again, we would pick up and move.  This was much harder on the adults in the family than our precious kids.  They were so excited to be going to a "big city" with lots of things to do, homeschooling adventures, museums, art, horseback riding, gymnastics and much more.  I don't think any of them shed tears but believe me, I cried enough for my entire family x 100.  Leaving the Keys was extremely hard for me and there are days when I wish I were back on my island. 

But, that brings me to the good news of this post!  I am blessed beyond I can even imagine.  I quickly have connected with some wonderful homeschool moms!  I am overwhelmed at the like mindedness of many other homeschool families and I am learning so much about myself, my children, their learning styles, my teaching style and so on.  There is so much to do and so many resources up here that there's not possibly enough time in the day to do all of it.  The girls have met some incredible friends and things are going a lot better than I would have ever anticipated.  I wake up some mornings and want to pinch myself.  God has blessed us more than we deserve and it amazes me that the blessings are new every day! 

I am amazed at the tapestry that God continues to weave in my family and in my own personal life.  I don't know why I find myself amazed because after all, we are talking about the Creator of the Universe.  He is so Creative and His ways are perfect.  I am doing things I said I'd never do and I'm content!  I'm finally at a place in my life (and its been a painful process) where I can honestly be thankful in the good and the bad.  10 months ago my life was unraveling and I felt like I was in a downward spiral.  There was no joy, no contentment, and definitely NO thankfulness.  I was at a place where I was questioning God and was so angry at Him that I couldn't see any of the good He was doing in my life.  All I could do was complain, throw my fist in the air and scream "NOT FAIR!" Little did I know that He had never stepped away from my tapestry.  He continued to weave.  He heard my cries, saw my fists, watched me stomp my feet in defiance but He never left my tapestry, He never left my side.  I'm sure He stood there saying, "Child, I will work all of this out for good.  You are mine and I've got this all in the palm of MY hand."  I am thankful for the rough year we've had because it makes this time of blessing so much sweeter.  I can't type those words without tears streaming down my face.  For now, its a time of sweetness, a time of new beginnings, almost as if Spring is just around the corner. 

I don't know what God has for us in the year to come but I do know that He holds the future just as He has held me this year.  I'm sure we will still face pain and even as I type this, I mourn the passing of a dear friend who took her last breath this evening.  There will be hardships, there will be questions, there will be tears but I will count it all as joy and be thankful for it all.  I've been reading "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp and I am learning to be thankful in the hard as well as the easy.  And, that's impossible without the mighty work of the Holy Spirit.  My prayer is that I will wake up each morning and recognize things throughout my day that God has given that I may see a glimpse of His Glory. 

I'm thankful for each of you.  I'm not sure how many of you still read my blog.  I hope that it can offer some encouragement and hopefully some laughter!

Be blessed!


July 26, 2012

Update from Ukraine....

From Ukraine Team:

Rachel, Stephanie and I are in Kiev, Ukraine. We have been working on the details for camp. We meet the rest of the Ukrainian team tonight. We leave for the village in the morning. The day will be spent buying supplies for the 80 children and the 10 workers.

Praying God's will and timing. Excited to go to the village. We are hot. No cooling systems. The village will be... the same. We are hoping to have showers.

The funding has not come in for all the camps. Praying about what to do.

Ricky has graciously paid my way here and Rachel is planning to pay for her own ticket. We did not get enough donations for her ticket. We have 2 more children's hosting fees not paid yet. That's almost $10,000 for our family again this year. So do we cancel the last week of camp? Praying.

We have not had time to visit with friends. Hoping to visit some of the hosted children but I am not sure time will allow it.

Reading Ruth again has been an encouragement. She left her homeland and went to another land to live. She worked hard. She faced difficult times and came through them and was blessed in the end.

Romans 5:3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

Be Blessed,

Hollie Holmes
Donations: Living Word, PO Box 1085, Pinson, AL 35126


July 22, 2012

Going back home...

A lot of us probably don't live where we grew up. A lot of us may be glad to be away from our hometown while others of us may long to return. I think my daughter, Stephanie, may struggle with both of those emotions.

Stephanie was born and spent the first 15 years of her life in Ukraine. At the age of 10, she was separated from the only life she had ever known. She was put in an orphanage surrounded by strangers who would later be considered like family. Though it provided a bed, clothes, education and hot meals, it was a far cry from what we would consider a family. Her roommates would become like her sisters, her caregivers like mothers. They had to fight to survive though and learn a lot on their own.

Fortunately for my Stephanie, she met a wonderful woman named Hollie in 2008. Hollie and her family helped bring her over to the US on a hosting trip. She got to see first hand what a family was supposed to look like. She learned many things but one important thing was how to be a servant of the Lord. The Holmes family is an example to many of what it means to follow Christ. They have a large beautiful family that consists mainly of adopted children. I can not even begin to tell you or explain the depth of their hearts. Stephanie learned so much from them during that summer!

Fast forward to 2010 when she was adopted into our family. Once again, she was taken from the only life she had known for the past 5 years. Those in an institution, those people within those walls were her sisters, her caregivers, her family. And the country we saw out of the tiny windows in our airplane, was the only place she had ever known. I can't imagine what she must have been feeling on that plane. Was she excited to be leaving? Scared of what was to come? Mourning the loss of leaving her friends, her family? Anxious about her life and what she would become? I'm not even going to pretend I know how she felt that November day!

Now, she is 17. Living life to the fullest on an island. She's made wonderful friends, been to church camp, met godly leaders, studied new subjects, learning to drive, worked as a nanny for many families but most importantly, she has grown in her walk with Christ.

I'm sure she still struggles with who she is in this life, where she will live, what she will do, who she will become. But for now, she's on a mission. She wants to share her story, a story of rescue and redemption. She wants to tell other orphans that there is hope, a hope that nothing on this earth can give. She wants to share Jesus with the fatherless. What better vessel than one that has been where they are? One that knows what's its like to be alone. One that knows the heartache of being torn away from your family. One that has to fight to survive.

Hollie, her host family from 2008, is still very much a part of our lives. She conducts camps in Ukraine for orphans. She asked if Stephanie would like to go and without hesitation, she said yes! With only a few days to raise money, she took a leap of faith and committed to the trip! Last Thursday, she said YES and by Saturday, she was at $1900 of her $2700 goal! If that's not a direct confirmation that God wants her to go, I don't know what is! So she will get up bright and early tomorrow morning (6:30am flight) and leave on a jet plane bound for Ukraine.

I don't know what she must be feeling. I'm sure it's quite similar to the feelings she felt looking at the country she left behind in 2010. Excitement. Anxiousness. Scared. Grief. But I do know that now she understands Who sent her to Ukraine and Who is in total control of this trip. When she returns on August 17 and she watches her homeland fade in the distance through those tiny airplane windows, she will be grateful and hopeful because she has shared her story, a story of rescue and redemption and not just physical, spiritual!

Join me in praying for Stephanie as well as Rachel and Hollie Holmes as they travel. Pray that God would prepare the hearts of those children and the caregivers. Pray for safe travels and that all would stay healthy! Pray that Stephanie's final $800 would be raised while she is gone. Pray for the Hills as we stay home and carry on our lives without our big sister! Lots of tears from the little ones as she packed her suitcase. I'm sure there will be many more early in the morning.


June 2, 2012

A letter from a sweet friend...

Dear Friends,

Just like Paul, who heard about the Ephesians' faith and “love for God's people everywhere,” we have heard about your adoption of orphaned children and know that you have hearts full of compassion. And we give thanks, as Paul did, for the way you have answered God's call to care for the motherless and fatherless.

As you know, there are still many children at those orphanages, including Orphanage No. 4 in Zhytomyr where Last Bell Ministries has worked for several years. These children need your help.

Even though they have not been adopted, the kids at Orphanage No. 4 and in the Zhytomyr region have a chance to be part of a family, to learn and grow, to have a good future. The staff at Last Bell invite each graduating class at No. 4 to be “sons and daughters” at either Shelter or Haven, our two family homes. We have loved and cared for over a hundred teens as they made the transition from the orphanage to independent life.

Up until now, Last Bell's kids lived at their trade school dorms while visiting Shelter or Haven during the evenings and on weekends. But this is all changing.

The Shelter home is undergoing renovation right now. This summer we plan to take guardianship of up to 15 of the 8th and 9th graders from the Orphanage No. 4, which is closing on June 1st. All of the kids will otherwise be sent to orphanages in Berdichev and Radumishl, and will eventually attend rural trade schools, with little chance of receiving higher education or learning a trade they can actually use.

But those who come under our guardianship will be able to live at the Shelter under the direct care of Last Bell houseparents. They will be able to attend a regular high school, spend their last few teen years in a loving, caring family, and hear about the love of Jesus Christ every day.

This will only happen if we can complete the renovation of the Shelter. The government officials need to see where the kids will be able to live before they grant us guardianship.

The cost of renovating the Shelter plus other preparations is $65,550. This includes the constrution of an entire third story with bedrooms and bathrooms for the girls and single housemom; boys and houseparent couple have bedrooms on the second floor. The cost also includes a new roof, a new heating system and water boiler, the addition of an entryway, and the conversion of the current entryway into a living room.

Will you partner with us in providing a home for kids from Orphanage No. 4?

Many generous friends and churches have given or pledged $30,723 toward the Shelter Renovation fund. But we still need $34,827 in order to complete the Shelter and get guardianship of kids before the end of the summer.

You can give online by going to our website,, and clicking on “Your Response.” Or you can give via post by writing a check to Last Bell Ministries and mailing it to:

Last Bell Ministries
PO Box 247
Atlanta, IN 46031-0247

Thank you in advance for your generosity, and may God bless you as you continue serving Him!

Liz Millikan, Director
Last Bell Ministries

May 29, 2012

Ukraine Orphan Hosting Program

I'll never forget the looks on their faces as they came down the escalator at the Austin airport.  They looked tired, scared and were bundled from head to toe in the only clothes they brought to America.

Her name was Oksana and she was coming to our house.  She had the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen and she touched my heart the moment I hugged her.  Little did I know that I would be on the journey of a lifetime.  We had a heart for Ukraine after adopting our first daughter, Molly, just 3 years prior to that December night in 2007.  The next three weeks were a whirlwind!  We did all we could to advocate for these 6 little orphans and our appearance on a TV show led to the adoption of our youngest child.  Oksana and her 3 brothers would later be adopted by an Italian family!

Two years later, we hosted a sibling set of sisters and would later return 10 months later to Ukraine to adopt them.  We have seen almost 20 orphans come home to forever families after being hosted with Charis Orphan Care and Adoption Ministry.  I founded the organization shortly after our adoption in 2004 after my heart grew more and more for the orphans left behind.  I had no idea that there were over 143 million orphans worldwide at that time.  The number has increased dramatically since that day.

Charis Orphan Care and Adoption Ministry has helped bring many children over since 2007 and is continuing their efforts across the United States.  We invite you to visit our website by clicking on the link above.  Please feel free to take a glimpse at the children available to come for summer hosting.  The tentative dates are June 25-July 16.  The cost, which includes everything (visas, medical, translations, transportation to/from airport, chaperone fees, airfare, and insurance) is estimated at $2300.  We strive to only charge our cost to host as this is not a "money making" scheme.  We work with reputable facilitators and an attorney in Ukraine to provide honest services.  We look forward to our summer host trip and we are excited that 7 children, so far, are confirmed with willing families!  We have many more that are available and we are praying that families step up to the plate and bring a child into their homes for three weeks this summer!

Thanks for reading!

Be Blessed!


May 23, 2012

Experiencing God

I've had the privilege of doing the Experiencing God bible study over the last few weeks. I had no idea that God was preparing me weeks ago for what lie ahead in our lives right now. How I marvel that He brought me to this study so that I could know His is Sovereign over all and in total control!

Some great things I'm learning in this study that I want to share with you:

* when you get to a place in your life where you trust Jesus to guide you one step at a time, you experience tremendous freedom. If you don't trust Him to guide you this way, what happens if you don't know the way you should go with your life? You worry every time you make a decision.
* "It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Phil 2:13
* What is God's will for my life is NOT the right question. The proper question is...What is God's Will? The focus needs to be on God, not on my life.
* When you believe nothing significant can happen through you, you have said more about your belief in God than you have declared about yourself. You have said that God is incapable of doing anything significant through you.
*God never asks people to dream up something to do for Him.
*God develops character to match the assignment. But we don't want to give attention to the development of our character, we just want God to give us a big assignment.
*I will never look at my situation or my circumstances except against the backdrop of the Cross!
*God takes the initiative. He chooses is, loves us and reveals His eternal purposes for our lives.

So that sums up the first 3 units ;-)

I have no idea the plans for the Hill family but I do know Who created those plans from the beginning of time. I know Who holds our future and will seek Him! For He will see the work He has started to completion!

I am excited about what God is doing in our lives. It's been hard and the road has been extremely rocky and nothing I could have ever imagined. But my Creator holds us in the palm of His hands!

Be blessed!

May 22, 2012


Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 
1 Thessalonians 3:7

I don't know why I am amazed but I always find myself in awe at the beauty and blessing of the friends that God has put in my life!  This road we are all on is not easy and we will all face trials and persecution, but its the faithful friends that lead us back to the Cross and encourage us that help us on our journey.

The comment that caused such an uproar was filled with ignorance and obviously the person that posted it has never walked a mile in my shoes.  They have no idea what its like to sleep with one eye open and fear for what can happen to your child by the actions of another one of your children.  No one knows what its like to see a rage so horrific that you could swear that it was not of this world and something so demonic that it terrified you more than you could ever imagine.  For someone to be so derogatory towards our family for the healing and restoration that we have sought for Lizzie is just plain foolish.  The Bible is clear that "We are not to answer a fool in his folly lest you become like him." Proverbs 26:4. So, as bad as I wanted to blast this person, I held my tongue from what was really in my head and that's a good thing.  

I am so appreciative of the precious emails and texts that I have received from friends that love us and are so supportive of us.  I am thankful beyond what words can express for the encouragement - you have no idea that it comes at such the perfect time.  Aside from what was said on our blog, our family could really use your prayers.  We are experiencing some life changing events and we need you to pray alongside us that God would reveal His plan for our lives in due time.  Our God is rarely early but never late.  He loves us and has planned out all of our lives since the beginning of time so I find rest and comfort on the pillow of His Sovereignty!

Thank you, friends!  I love each and everyone of you!  I pray that my blog and my open and honest view of life would be an encouragement to you!!!!

Be Blessed,

May 21, 2012

Time flies when you are on an island....

Talk about being a slacker in the world of blogging!  My last post was April 2011 and there has been so much in our lives, that it would take a book, not a blog to document it all. 

We are still enjoying life in the Keys.  The weather has been amazing lately with the exception of an afternoon thunderstorm but we've enjoyed life outdoors.  We have met some amazing friends and attend a small church in the community.  We opted to choose a church here so that we could better connect with others.  It was hard traveling to the mainland every Sunday and stay connected with members.  We still consider that church family very special to our hearts and support their mission to reach the lost in South Florida.

We will be moving to a home on the water in August and can't wait to have a canal as our backyard.  We are thankful for good swimmers in our family and look forward to lots of time on the water.  We got a small boat that is perfect for us to take the girls fishing and Craig has really enjoyed spending lots of Daddy/Daughter time with his girls.  We look forward to being on our rooftop to catch a glimpse of the beautiful sunsets, gaze at the amazing stars and look out over the vastness of the ocean! 

The girls are still homeschooling and we have connected with some amazing homeschool families.  I was shocked at the number of families who have chosen to pull their kids out of school and teach them at home.  We have so much fun meeting up with these families to explore the islands.  We have been to some amazing field trips at the Turtle Hospital, Dolphin Research Center and much more.  I look forward to building these relationships and fostering the friendships that God has blessed us with here in the Keys.

Our life has turned upside down a bit and we are trying to make sense of it.  In January of this year, after much prayer and seeking wise counsel, we chose to send Lizzie to a therapeutic home in Texas.  After many months and thousands of dollars in medical expenses, we could no longer provide for her emotional needs.  She was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder last year and in the best interest of her and our smaller children, we decided to remove her from our home.  It was, by far, the most difficult decision we've had to face as a married couple.  But, we know that God is Sovereign and that He has allowed this to happen for His glory.  We know that He loves Lizzie more than we could every imagine and that He has a perfect plan for her life.  We had to remove our own personal opinions about what to do and only seek Him and His direction for our lives and her life.  God led us to a wonderful organization that has been so supportive and helpful in the journey.  We know things will only get better for Lizzie and for our family as she seeks healing and restoration in Texas.  We trust that God knows what He is doing in her heart and we have to let go and let God do the work, not us.

We are in the process of change in our home.  We can't disclose too much but we covet your prayers.  We know and feel God working in the lives of our family and its an amazing feeling!  To be totally dependent on the Lord and seek Him first in all we do, is a great place to be!  I've been doing a bible study on my own called "Experiencing God" and I am in awe at what God is teaching me.  Its so wonderful to be drawn to Him by His own choosing and to know that He has initiated a love relationship with me - little ole' me!  Its humbling to say the least and I look forward to where He is leading us in the next chapter of our lives. 

I hope to start writing more about our lives in the Keys and hopefully spend a lot less time on social media (FB).  I hope that this will be a way to keep in contact with family and friends because quite frankly, I can get sucked into FB within a matter of minutes :-)

I look forward to more writing and sprucing up the blog but I may need some pointers from some of you out there!!!  I still haven't figured all the ins and outs of the Blog World! 

Thanks for stopping by!